Wednesday, November 09, 2005

War News for Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bring ‘em on: Imad Awadhallah, a local photographer with Egyptian nationality, found shot dead in Baiji. Two civilians killed and another wounded when gunmen attacked their car on a road near Balad. A member of the Iraqi Islamic Party was found shot dead in the city of Ramadi. He was abducted on Tuesday by gunmen. One civilian killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a highway in the southern Dora district of the capital. The driver of a senior official in the education ministry was killed by gunmen in the Shula district of the capital. U.S. forces said they killed one suspected insurgent and detained two more in a raid in a village near Mosul. Seven Iraqi policemen killed and nine wounded, three of them civilians, when a car driven by a suicide attacker exploded in Baquba.

Bring ‘em on: An employee of the Sudanese embassy in Iraq was shot dead on Wednesday by armed men who opened fire on his car in the west of Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: Air Force jets destroyed a building near the Syrian border Wednesday which the US military said was where al-Qaida insurgents hid weapons. One Iraqi killed in Baghdad when gunmen opened fire on a minibus. A roadside bomb in the southern neighborhood of Dora killed a motorist and wounded another man.

Bring ‘em on: A US Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died Nov. 8 of wounds suffered when his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device near Camp Korean Village, Iraq, on Nov. 7. Coalition and Iraqi forces captured three suspected terrorists and killed two in recent operations in Iraq.

Steel Curtain down: The U.S. military in Iraq says American and Iraqi forces have finished clearing operations in the western border town of Husaybah, which is believed to be a major entry point for foreign fighters and weapons.

The military said Wednesday that patrols and raids would continue to root out remaining insurgents in the town near the Syrian border.

Legal chemicals: RAI says the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons, although the BBC notes that such bombs are considered incendiary devices. The US military admits to using the weapon to illuminate battlefields in Iraq, and says it did so in Fallujah, but insists it did not use it in civilian areas. Washington is not a signatory of an international treaty restricting white phosphorus devices.

La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper which recently broke the story on the Italian government's involvement with the forged Niger-Iraq uranium documents, reports the documentary also broadcast what it claimed is proof of the use in Iraq of a new napalm formula called MK77. The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty that the US signed in 1997.

Iraqi Affairs

The trial: Saddam Hussein's lawyer said Wednesday that U.S.-led ``occupation forces'' bear some of the responsibility for the slaying of a second colleague in the trial, and the defense team signaled it may not show up for the next session without international security guarantees.

The attack followed the slaying last month of another defense lawyer, Saadoun al-Janabi, who was found shot to death the day after the trial began Oct. 19. The killings raise doubts about Iraq's ability to hold the trial, although the Iraqi government dismissed calls to move or halt it. The second session is set for Nov. 28.

Another smashing US victory: The UN security council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a one-year extension of the mandate of the US-led forces in Iraq.

The council voted 15-0 "to extend the mandate of the multinational force, as set forth in Resolution 1546 (in 2004), until December 2006".

"The unanimous adoption of this resolution is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for a federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq," US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said after the vote.

Sure thing, John. Or maybe Russia and China are laughing their asses off at the sight of the sole world superpower trapped in a humiliating quagmire, its influence plummeting as its moral decrepitude is revealed. Any serious enemy of the USA would never vote to get us out of there.

National reconciliation effort: Iraqi politicians from different factions will be invited to visit Cairo on Nov. 19 for a preparatory meeting before a planned national reconciliation conference, a senior Arab League official said on Wednesday.

An Arab League delegation has been visiting Baghdad to persuade politicians from Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni Arab, Kurdish and other communities to attend the conference which had originally been planned for Nov. 15.

Billed as a way to heal deep sectarian rifts in post-Saddam Iraq a month before elections, the conference was put off while organisers tried to lure more people to the table.

Payback: A UN auditing board has recommended that the US reimburse Iraq up to $208m for work carried out by the US-based Kellogg, Brown & Root, in the last two years.

The International Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Development Fund for Iraq said in a report that the work, paid for with Iraqi oil proceeds, was either overpriced or poorly done by the Halliburton subsidiary.

Professional life: Ali Bashir, a lecturer at Iraq's Baghdad University, has received four threats since the beginning of the year telling him to quit his job and leave the country.

"I may die, but I'll be happy to die serving my people," said the 52-year-old Bashir passionately. "I love Iraq."

According to officials and media reports, hundreds of Baghdad's professionals get similar threats everyday.

Generally receiving monthly salaries of between $200 and $400, members of the professional class have become prime targets – both for organised kidnappers after big ransoms and insurgents with no sympathy for anyone perceived to be working for the US-backed government.

Breaking The Army

Scraping bottom: The number of new recruits who scored at the bottom of the Army's aptitude test tripled last month, Pentagon officials said, helping the nation's largest armed service meet its October recruiting goal but raising concerns about the quality of the force. Former Army Secretary Thomas E. White said the service was making a mistake by lowering its standards. "I think it's disastrous. You are throwing the towel in on recruiting quality," said White, a retired general whom Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fired in 2003 over other policy differences.

Immigrant soldiers: The news that over 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed during the Iraq War has been noted with shock and anguish in the United States. The fact that an unknown number of those dead were originally from the Caribbean has attracted less scrutiny.

The exact number of Caribbean immigrants in Iraq fighting in either the U.S. or British military units remains unclear, but officials speculate the number could be as high as several hundred. Although many of them were either born in the United States or had become naturalized citizens before being shipped out to the Persian Gulf, officials speculate that most are permanent residents or green card holders.

Recent newspaper reports suggest that some of those who enlist for service in the military are Caribbean immigrants attracted by the offer of citizenship, and that a number of them are being killed while on active service in Iraq.

The best cure: When a United States soldier dies in Iraq his comrades immediately know about it because all communications at the base are cut-off pending notification of the family. Within minutes of a death being reported, commanders order all outside phones, along with internet access, closed in order to prevent families finding out by chance about a death or worrying after hearing of an incident. "If there is a combat death, instant help is provided to that unit along with a debrief," says Major Andrew Magnet, a brigade surgeon based outside Baquba, northeast of Baghdad. "What is important is to get them back into a normal routine. That's the best cure," he adds.

The Brits aren’t doing so hot either: Nearly 1,500 British service personnel on duty in Iraq have had to be flown home for treatment in British hospitals since the war began in March 2003, according to new figures released to The Times.

The total number of soldiers, regular and reserves, officially registered as “wounded in action” is now 189 — compared with 64 killed by enemy action.

However, the casualty toll from service in Iraq rises steeply when taking into account personnel suffering from disease and non-battle injuries caused by road traffic accidents, military training and other incidents.

The overall figure, battle and non-battle casualties, now stands at 5,833, of whom 1,468 had to be brought back to Britain for hospital treatment, according to the latest casualty toll released by the Ministry of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act.

The War For America

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

- James Madison

Secret prisons: The US-based NGO Human Rights Watch said that, based on flight records and other evidence, it believed Poland and Romania had cooperated with the CIA to set up secret prisons.

Flight records and other evidence points to Poland and Romania as countries that allowed their territory to be used by the the United States' Central Intelligence Agency to hold top al Qaeda suspects captives, a Human Rights Watch director said.

A serious issue: Any use of secret prisons by the United States to detain terrorist suspects would be unacceptable, the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture said yesterday.

Manfred Nowak said he was surprised to learn of allegations that the US was holding prisoners in facilities in eastern European democratic states, describing it as "a serious human rights issue".

And he said if the allegations proved to be true, then they would amount to inhuman treatment of both the prisoners and their families.

The ‘disappeareds’: "Brother, what is your name, what village are you from?" It was distinctive Yemeni Arabic that greeted Muhammad al-Assad as he stumbled, still hooded and shackled, from the plane at Sana’a. For the first time in nearly 18 months he knew what country he was in. He heard the question repeated twice more, as Salah Nasser Salim ‘Ali and Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah emerged onto the hot tarmac. He still could not see them, and had not known they were on the plane with him, but he could hear one of them shouting over and over again: "I am Bashmilah, I am Bashmilah, I am from Aden". The three, all Yemeni nationals, had "disappeared" in 2003, and had been kept in complete isolation – even from each other – in a series of secret detention centres apparently run by US agents. Senior Yemeni officials have told Amnesty International that they first heard of the men in May 2005, when the US Embassy in Yemen informed them that the three would be flown to Sana’a and transferred to Yemeni custody the following day. No further information or evidence against the men was provided, but the Yemenis say they were instructed by the US to keep them in custody. All three continue to be held in a kind of extralegal limbo; they have not been charged with any offence, given any sentence, or brought before any court or judge. The only improvement in their situation, they say, is that their families now know that they are alive.

Tragedy becoming a farce: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert called Tuesday for a congressional investigation into the disclosure of alleged secret U.S. interrogation centers abroad.

The Washington Post reported Nov. 2 on the existence of secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe for terror suspects.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sidestepped questions on secret prisons Tuesday, saying the United States was in a "different kind of war" and had an obligation to defend itself.

If the Post story is accurate, "such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," wrote Frist, R-Tenn., and Hastert, R-Ill., asking for a joint leak probe by the Senate and House intelligence committees. The Post declined to comment.

The newspaper's story of a week ago said the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, part of a covert prison system set up by the agency four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries. Those countries, said the story, include several democracies.

Just like the Plame affair, eh?: At the CIA's request, the Justice Department is weighing whether to open a criminal investigation into the leak of possibly classified information on secret prisons to The Washington Post.

A story the newspaper published on Nov. 2 touched on a number of sensitive national security issues, including the existence of secret CIA detention centers for suspected terrorists in Eastern European democracies.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue deals with classified information, said the CIA's general counsel made the referral to the Justice Department shortly after the story appeared last week.

The department will decide whether to initiate a criminal investigation. The leak investigation into the disclosure of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity came about through the same referral procedure and led to a five-count indictment against the vice president's now former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

The farce full blown: Too funny! Hastert and Frist make a big show of calling for an investigation into a leak allegedly affecting national security -- the locations of secret "black site" torture prisons. And then -- BOOM!!! Lott just said, Tuesday afternoon, that he thinks it was a GOP Senator who leaked the info to the Washington Post last week. He says the details had been discussed at a GOP Senators-only meeting last week, and that many of those details made it into the WaPo story.

Money quote from Lott; "We can not remain silent. We have met the enemy, and it is us."

If it’s too sleazy for Negroponte, it is sleazy indeed: U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte is declining to support Vice President Dick Cheney's effort to exempt the CIA from law banning mistreatment of detainees.

"It's above my pay grade," he told a secret briefing for Senators last month, Time Magazine reported Sunday, adding that Negroponte then "artfully dodged another question about whether the harsher interrogation tactics Cheney wants the agency to be free to use actually produce valuable intelligence."

With a wink and a nod?: Thrown on the defensive by abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon has issued a broad new directive mandating that detainees be treated humanely and has banned the use of dogs to intimidate or harass suspects.

The directive pulls together for the first time all of the Defense Department's existing policies and memos covering the interrogation of detainees captured in the war against terrorism. It comes as Congress is considering a ban on inhumane treatment of U.S. prisoners and Democrats have launched a long-shot effort to create a commission to investigate abuse.

While the policy maps out broad requirements for humane treatment and for reporting violations, it is just the first step in the development of a new Army manual that would detail more precisely which interrogation techniques are acceptable and which are not.

The directive says that "acts of physical or mental torture are prohibited" and directs that any violations be reported, investigated, and punished when appropriate.

Is this the America our soldiers are fighting for?: "National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.

Not All Are Corrupted By This War

Worthy cause: Powers spent 14 months in Iraq with the Army's 1st Armored Division, and was prominently featured in the nationally acclaimed documentary film, "Gunner Palace," released earlier this year. On Thursday, he will officially be announced as program manager of the War Kids Relief program, partially sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Public opinion has turned against the war somewhat, but the fight goes on for Powers.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war, there are thousands of kids in Baghdad and throughout Iraq either in orphanages or out on the street," said Powers, who grew up in Williamsville and attended school in Clarence.

"These kids are innocent victims and they are the future of Iraq," added Powers. "If we don't give them hope and a better life, we're going to see the cycle of hatred and war continue."


Georgie Anne Geyer: There was always a brooding, Hobbesian Cheney just beneath the misleading openness he learned in his native Wyoming. But this week, the vice president took a turn into the deepest heart of human darkness. This week, unprecedented in history, an elected vice president of the United States of America proposed that Congress legally authorize the torture of foreigners by Americans.

The Washington Post titled its devastating editorial "Vice President for Torture." I would say that the deceptive man from sunny Wyoming has become the Marquis de Sade of America. Think about it -- he is insistent upon making torturers of many of our young soldiers -- your children.

In both the Afghan and the Iraq war, the U.S. has been involved -- as never before in ANY war -- with carefully conceived methods of torture -- "waterboarding" or simulated drowning, mock execution, beatings until death, the deliberate withholding of pain medication, the burning and desecration of enemy bodies, and every possible form of sexual perversion.

These acts were the direct outcome of the president's, Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's errant dismissal of the Geneva Accords, to which we are a signatory, of an international treaty against torture negotiated and ratified by the Reagan administration and, not least, of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids "cruel and unusual punishment."

Jeffrey H. Smith: If the administration's proposal passed, what would be the consequences? Why should we adhere to the Geneva Conventions when our terrorist enemies do not?

The answers are simple. First, we have long championed the Geneva Conventions because we want our citizens treated humanely when they are captured. Second, morally it is the right thing to do. If this amendment passes, what weight will our complaints have when other governments use their intelligence services to torture Americans?

There are also practical considerations that argue against the administration's proposal. It would sow even further confusion in the field, where decisions must be made by young officers who act under enormous stress and often in fear for their lives. Those officers demand, and we must provide, clear guidance with respect to what they may and may not do. The CIA and the military operate cheek-by-jowl, often in small teams far from command structures and lawyers. If those teams operate with two sets of rules, confusion will reign and abuses will occur.

Senator Dick Durbin: Mr. President, I also would like to note that something curious is happening in Washington today. There is a man by the name of Ahmed Chalabi who is visiting Washington.

Mr. Chalabi is under active investigation. He is under investigation for the charge that he leaked intelligence, including the fact that the United States had broken a crucial Iranian code and that he turned that information over to the Baghdad station chief of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Of course if that happened, Mr. Chalabi endangered American troops and American security. As a result of this charge against Mr. Chalabi, on May 20 of last year, his residence was searched by the Iraqis with the cooperation of American forces in Iraq to see if evidence could be found.

Now, that's a serious charge -- that we would somehow jeopardize the security of America’s troops and our national security and whether this man leaked sensitive information and the fact that he's under active investigation by the F.B.I. is proof-positive that we're taking this seriously.

So where can we find Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi this week? Well, we'll find him in Washington. He has an appointment to sit down and break bread with Treasury Secretary Snow and the secretary of state, Condoleezza rice, and then a little later this week he's going to give a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

Does this sound like a man under active investigation or a man who is being actively lauded by this administration?

I don't understand this. While the Department of Justice is actively investigating this man for wrongdoing that could have endangered American troops and American lives, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury are hosting him like some dignitary.

So don't be surprised if you watch the Chalabi motorcade speed up when they pass the Department of Justice. I guess they're concerned whether an F.B.I. agent will come out and pursue this so-called active investigation.

Congressman George Miller: Seventeen months ago, then National Security Adviser Rice promised an FBI inquiry into who leaked information to Iran. Seventeen months ago, and yet nothing has happened. Despite the fact that Mr. Chalabi was a prime suspect, the FBI has never interviewed him. In fact, the Wall Street Journal quotes the FBI as having said they have little active interest in this matter. Little active interest in a person who is leaking intelligence material to Iran in the middle of the war in Iraq?

Just this week the administration invited this criminal to meet with the Secretary of State and maybe even Vice President Cheney in the West Wing to discuss his candidacy for the Iraq presidency in this December's election. I would be curious to learn from the President what role granting a U.S. entry visa to a man suspected of spying for Iran plays in the administration's terrorism strategy.

Mr. Chalabi's actions are an insult to every American, especially those serving in our Nation's Armed Forces, and his high-level visit to the United States is an additional affront. Chalabi's crimes cannot go unanswered. He belongs in jail for his misdeeds. Instead, he gets a White House photo-op.

Bob Herbert: The fact that Mr. Bush is struggling in his own political purgatory (for the sin of incompetence) is bad news for the soldiers in Iraq, where the suffering and dying continues unabated. The administration that was so anxious to throw scores of thousands of healthy young Americans into the flames of war now has no idea how to get them out.

Troops are being sent into Iraq for two, three, even four combat tours by an administration in which clowns like Scooter Libby and Karl Rove were playing games with the identity of a C.I.A. agent, and the vice president has been obsessed with his twisted protect-the-torturers campaign.

Now the Bush crew, which should be focused like a laser on what to do about the war, is consumed with damage control - pumping up the poll numbers, defending its handling of prewar intelligence, fending off further indictments and staying out of prison.

The war? There's no plan for the war. The architects of this war had no idea what they were getting into, and they are just as clueless now. The war just goes on and on, which is not just tragic - it's criminal.

Casualty Reports

News release: Four American soldiers killed by a suicide bomber at a checkpoint south of Baghdad Monday were from this Colorado post, the Pentagon said.

The soldiers were identified today as 1st Lt. Justin S. Smith, 28, of Lansing, Mich.; Staff Sgt. Brian L. Freeman, 27, of Lucedale, Miss.; Spc. Robert C. Pope II, 22, of East Islip, N.Y.; and Pfc. Mario A. Reyes, 19, of Las Cruces, N.M.

The Pentagon said the four were on a foot patrol when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle. A civilian translator, who has not been identified, was also killed, the military said.

Local story: A Las Cruces soldier died Monday in an explosion in Iraq where he was serving as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pfc. Mario A. Reyes, 19, and three other soldiers who were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Carson, Colo., were killed while on patrol in Baghdad, the Department of Defense confirmed on Wednesday.

Local story: An Army captain who grew up in Masssachusetts was killed in Iraq this week when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee.

Capt. Joel Cahill, 34, died Sunday in Ad Dawr, Iraq, the Defense Department said Tuesday. Cahill was born in Norwood and lived in Wrentham until high school, when his family relocated to Nebraska, said his sister, Erin Christensen.

Cahill had been assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment in Fort Benning, Ga. His wife, Mary, and their two young daughters live in Fort Benning.

The totals 11.09.05:

2048 US soldiers, 200 Coalition soldiers, and approximately 26,797 to 30,163 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq from the beginning of the war and occupation to October 31.

American soldiers killed between October 25 to 31:

Master Sergeant Thomas A. Wallsmith, 38; Carthage, Missouri | Sergeant 1st Class Ramon A. Acevedoaponte, 51; Watertown, New York | Sergeant Evan S. Parker, 25; Arkansas, Kansas | Staff Sergeant Lewis J. Gentry, 48; Detroit, Michigan | Sergeant James Witkowski, 32; Surprise, Arizona | Colonel William W. Wood, 44; Panama City, Florida | Captain Michael J. Mackinnon, 30; Helena, Montana | Staff Sergeant Daniel R. Lightner, Jr., 28; Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania | Lance Corporal Robert F. Eckfield Jr., 23; Cleveland, Ohio | Lance Corporal Jared J. Kremm, 24; Hauppage, New York | Private First Class Dillon M. Jutras, 20; Fairfax Station, Virginia | First Lieutenant Debra A. Banaszak, 35; Bloomington, Illinois | Captain Raymond D. Hill II 39; Turlock, California | Sergeant Shakere T. Guy, 23; Pomona, California | Specialist Kenny D. Rojas, 21; Pembroke Pines, Florida | Staff Sergeant Joel P. Dameron, 27; Ellabell, Georgia | Sergeant Michael P. Hodshire, 25; North Adams, Michigan | Sergeant 1st Class Jonathan Tessar, 36; Simi Valley, California | Specialist William J. Byler, 23; Ballinger, Texas | Private First Class David J. Martin, 21; Edmond, Oklahoma | Private First Class Adam R. Johnson, 22; Clayton, Ohio | Staff Sergeant Wilgene T. Lieto, 28; Saipan, Marianas Islands of the Pacific | Specialist Derence W. Jack, 31; Saipan, Marinas Islands of the Pacific | Sergeant 1st Class Matthew R. Kading, 32; Madison, Wisconsin | 1st Lieutenant Robert C. Oneto-Sikorski, 33; Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Local story: A Camp Lejeune Marine was killed in Husaybah, an Iraqi town where troops fought for four days before securing the area, officials said.

The Defense Department said Lance Cpl. Ryan J. Sorensen, 26, of Boca Raton, Fla., died Sunday from enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations during Operation Steel Curtain in Husaybah. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

"Ryan wanted to be an officer but wanted to do some tours as an enlisted infantryman first," said Sorensen's father Jim.

Local story: The father of a United States Marine from Westminster who died in Iraq Monday said he asked his son not to enlist. The family of Jermey Tamburello, 19, said two marines came to their door in Adams County Tuesday morning to report that he had died. "My son is gone, I can't believe it," Kevin Tamburello, Jermey's father told CBS4 Tuesday.

Local story: Before he shipped out for his second tour of duty in Iraq, Allan Espiritu spent his summer teaching his daughters how to ride their bikes. After he arrived in Iraq, he passed up a safer position to work on the front lines detonating explosives with a U.S. Marine Corps bomb squad.

On Monday, the longtime Oxnard resident and a man of deep religious faith was killed by an improvised explosive device "while conducting combat operations in the vicinity of Al Ramadi, Iraq," the Department of Defense announced Thursday.


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