MAY 28, 2013 8:09AM PST
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have had their privacy rights violated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who calls the targeted vets “suspected terrorist”.
What a nice way to thank those who fought tirelessly for our country… Good grief.
The Department of Homeland Security and FBI have been monitoring white supremacists and “militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups” for terrorist activities since 2009. Somehow, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have fallen into these closely-watched groups, on the grounds that they are possible terrorists.
This is all done through a program called “Operation Vigilant Eagle”. When the program began, it caused some controversy but was quickly forgotten and dropped by the mainstream media. Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security secretary told NBC in an interview, “This is an assessment of things just to be wary of, not to infringe on constitutional rights, certainly not to malign our veterans.”
In February 2009 (shortly after Obama’s inauguration), a Vigilant Eagle memo was put out, saying the purpose of the program was to “share information regarding Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans whose involvement in white supremacy and/or militia sovereign citizen extremist groups poses a domestic terrorism threat.”
Since President Obama stepped into office, the DHS has issued several reports about a “wave of terrorism” by Republicans – these reports have targeted all levels of conservatives from off-duty cops to Tea Party members. Vigilant Eagle is merely an unjust expression of these partisan preferences within the DHS.
Brandon Raub, a Marine vet, was arrested last year by FBI and Secret Service agents. He was then held for a week at a psychiatric facility… All because the vet complained about the government in blogs and on Facebook.
Then I guess I should be taken away too — I’ve made blogging about the government my fulltime job!
One of Raub’s “questionable” posts read, “The United States was meant to lead the charge against injustice, but through our example not our force. People do not respond to having liberty and freedom forced on them.”
Wow, I really feel like I’m in imminent danger after reading that…
Raub was finally released when a judge decided that the case against him was “devoid of any factual allegations.” Gee, really took a genius to figure that out. It is crystal clear that Raub’s arrest was Operation Vigilant Eagle’s attempt to stop him from criticizing the government.
Since his release, Raub has been contacted by numerous other veterans with similar stories.
The Obama Administration has managed to criminalize those in our society who should instead be honored as heros: our veterans. We cannot let this administration continue to steal freedom from our vets. Something must be done to stop this, and someone must be held accountable — are you listening, Janet Napolitano?
AUTHOR Kristin Tate
Simple Camo Netting 1.0 | A basic Vehicle Camo Netting Script for Arma 2 Operation Arrowhead
by =VG= SemlerPDX for VETERANS-GAMING (www.veterans-gaming.com)
You can deploy a large Camo Net over vehicles, hiding them from the enemy. Can be loaded into a vehicle from a service point,
or ammo crate - or you can give the ability to any individual vehicle by adding Deploy Net action to it's init line.
Copy and Paste the folder "scripts" into your mission folder. If you already have a scripts folder, just copy and paste the
"vehicleCamo" folder into it.
Download Here: http://www.veterans-gaming.com/download.php?view.162
All commands for this script are Mouse Wheel Action based. Change the color of any of the addAction Text with any HTML color
code. Just replace the #DBA901 to anything you want.
// Mission Integration //
Copy and Paste the folder "scripts" into your mission folder.
If you already have a scripts folder, just copy and paste the "vehicleCamo" folder into it.
Follow instructions in ReadMe to add the action to a vehicle or object in your mission.
PM SemlerPDX =VG= at VETERANS-GAMING.COM or contact me on Twitter @SemlerPDX
Do not redistribute, mirror, copy, or adapt without authorization from creator.
Submitted by SemlerPDX =VG=
BAGHDAD – The U.S. Marine Corps is leaving Iraq.
The U.S. military says the Marines will formally handover control on Saturday of Iraqs western desert to the Army during a ceremony at Camp Ramadi, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad.
The handover marks the end of the Marine mission in an area once considered a main battleground of the insurgency.
The Armys 1st Armored Division is now responsible for both Baghdad and the vast desert province of Anbar.
The departure of the Marines marks the beginning of an accelerated American drawdown in Iraq.
President Barack Obama has ordered all but 50,000 troops out of the country by Aug. 31, 2010, with most to leave after the March 7 parliamentary election.
TRICARE Increasing Social Media Presence. The final item in Federal News Radio’s (1/20) “Daily Debrief” reports, “TRICARE is taking the plunge into social media to uncover what issues matter most to its beneficiaries.” The “deputy director of the TRICARE Management Activity said in a press release that TRICARE is already active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, and is getting ready to launch a new media center Web page in March 2010
|Army veteran David Best was improperly diagnosed by military and VA doctors.
(File photo by Rex Miller / INDYWEEK.COM)
IT TOOK NEARLY 13 YEARS, BUT VET FINALLY WINS BENEFITS
Army veteran David Best: "They thwarted my claim before and downplayed the literature. They were out to screw me."
NOTE from Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org ... For a previous article about David Best ... "The VA is Waiting for Us to Die" ... click here ...
And, use our search engine for more about veterans' law attorney Craig Kabatchnick who is mentioned in this story ... here ...
Veteran David Best finally wins his appeal
V is for Victory
by Lisa Sorg
About a month ago, Vietnam veteran David Best arrived at his Fayetteville home to find a large brown envelope in his mailbox. "I knew it was from Washington," he said. "It's the only big brown envelope that comes in the mail."
As Best opened it, the former Army soldier said to himself, "Lord, let it be the right decision."
For nearly 13 years, Best had battled the Veterans Administration over disability benefits for a service-related injury. During that time, the VA regional office in Winston-Salem denied his claims eight times—until September.
Best scanned the paperwork and found his answer on the last two pages.
"We won," Best told Kabatchnick. "We won everything."
"I jumped out of my chair," said Kabatchnick, who had worked on the case for three years. "I yelled, 'We won!' People could hear me down the hall."
While Best was in the Army, he developed excruciating pain in his left knee, thigh and groin, which worsened after he was honorably discharged in 1970. Military and VA doctors couldn't find the source of his pain, but had they probed further, they may have found what Best's private doctor did: In 1989, Best was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis of the left hip. It had developed while Best was in the service because of an improper fit between his hip joint and the socket, and was exacerbated by the 40-pound packs he routinely carried on patrol along Korea's demilitarized zone. Best's arthritic hip caused the pain in the other parts of his leg. Eventually, he had to undergo surgery to replace both hips.
However, the VA dismissed the opinions of Best's doctors and refused to award him compensation—which Best says totals more than $300,000—for his disability.
At a Board of Veterans Appeals hearing last April, Kabatchnick presented a stack of medical studies, journals and documents, including statements from five board-certified orthopedists, proving that Best's knee pain originated in his arthritic hip and thus was a service-connected injury. The VA doctors were internal medicine specialists, not orthopedists.
"They thwarted my claim before and downplayed the literature," Best said. "They were out to screw me."
A 2007 Government Accountability Report criticized the VA for its extensive backlog of pending claims and inconsistent and inaccurate benefits rulings. The GAO called for "a fundamental reform of the VA's disability compensation program."
Last July, the GAO issued an update on the program, noting that the VA had improved some aspects of the program, such as the number of claims completed. However, it can take longer to process the claims, likely because of an increase in their number and complexity. It takes an average of nearly two years to resolve a claim that is on appeal—still shorter than Best's legal fight.
"It's the battle after the battle," Kabatchnick said of the appeals process.
The VA pays monthly disability compensation to veterans with injuries incurred or aggravated while on active military duty. The amount is based on the severity of the disability. In fiscal year 2008, the disability compensation program paid nearly $31 billion to 3 million veterans, according to the GAO.
The VA has not determined how much money Best will receive, although it could total as much as $3,000 a month.
Best's win has also been redemptive for Kabatchnick, who, from 1990 to 1995, worked as the senior appellate attorney for the VA's Office of General Counsel. It was his job to deny claims like Best's.
"For me, this is a moral victory," said Kabatchnick, who now teaches and oversees students, several of whom learned about the challenges of VA law through Best's case. "It usually doesn't happen this way."
And Best can finally move beyond the years of appeals and paperwork, hearings and claims.
"You're so stressed out," he said of the past dozen years. "It tears you down."
Thanks to www.vawatchdog.org for the story.
VALLEY FALLS, N.Y. -- This is a red, white and blue village that is still seeing red after a flag that flew over Iraq was burned by a 21-year-old.
The payback? He was publicly humiliated last Sunday by being duct-taped to the flagpole of Veterans of Foreign War 1938 say he desecrated Sept. 18.
Nick Normile, post commander and Vietnam War veteran, said he's been flooded with calls from media outlets since the events of last week received attention from local TV stations and newspapers. He's been asked to go live on a veterans radio show program from Tennessee, another radio show from Chicago and even received a call from NBC studios in New York City.
But Normile said he's not planning to let the story get any more attention and has declined appearances.
"I'm not trying to be some martyr or hero," Normile said. "I just did what I thought was right."
The 21-year-old appeared intoxicated when he entered the VFW post on the day of the alleged act, Normile said. When the man was refused service for not having a proper ID, he ran out in a fit of anger. He cut the rope of the flag, which had once flown over troops in Iraq, and ignited it with a cigarette lighter.
Two days later, Normile said the man was forced to sit in the sun pilloried for six hours as townspeople gathered across the street for a youth soccer picnic. A sign was hung around his neck detailing what he had done. It recalled the Middle Ages punishment, subjecting him to public humiliation and scorn.
"He'll never disrespect the flag again, I can tell you that," Normile said on Friday.
A week later villagers were hush-hush about the event, but patrons of the post bar gave a nod of agreement to the punishment, pointing proudly to a newspaper clipping of the event on a bulletin board.
Patriotism is on open display in this village of about 500, the walls of a defunct railroad bridge near it's entrance now brightly colored red, white and blue. Most of the historical homes have American flags of their own hanging from porches, some also adorned with the Don't Tread on Me flag, popular with Tea Party activists.
Normile said once he found out what the man had done, he knew he had to be taught a lesson. Normile said he went out hunting for him, but when he couldn't find him at his apartment, he sought the help of the man's uncle to bring him out.
"He manned up, he knew he had punishment coming, " said Normile, who described the young man he refused to identify as guilty and ashamed.
"I told him to think about those kids in the foxhole, and how they had no one to set them free, " Normile said. "It got to him, so I was satisfied. He showed a lot of remorse, no attitude."
Normile said the flag, whose pieces will be retired in a formal ceremony, had significant meaning. The villages auxiliary had been sending toiletries and other goods to Soldiers in Iraq, who then sent back the flag that had flown over their bunker. It was received with great attention and a ceremony.
State troopers and Rensselaer County sheriffs deputies said no charges had been filed by either the VFW post or the man.
WASHINGTON - Too many veterans' disability claims take more than a year to process, the Veterans Affairs Department's inspector general said Wednesday.
An audit released by the VA showed that a year ago, 11,000 veterans had claims pending more than a year. It says the agency awarded retroactive payments totaling about $43 million for about a third of them. Of that total, it says about $14 million was unnecessarily delayed because of deficient claims processing.
Among the worst cases, one veteran was owed nearly $65,000 for a delayed claim, and another veteran waited more than two years for payment, the IG said.
"These delayed benefit payments have the potential to adversely affect the economic status and quality of life for veterans who are eligible for benefits," the IG said.
The report said the VA has made progress in reducing lingering claims, but it's still creating too much of a financial burden for veterans. The VA has hired more claims processors but is struggling with a growing number of claims approaching one million as more veterans file claims who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
It recommended changes such as improving its workload management.
The VA agreed with most of the IG findings and recommendations, the IG said.
FALLUJAH, Iraq - American Marines shot and wounded an Iraqi man in the former flashpoint city of Fallujah believing he was throwing a grenade at them, the U.S. military said Thursday - but local police and witnesses said the object was only the man's slipper.
During a joint patrol of U.S. Marines and Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, the man "threw an object, believed to be a grenade" at the passing troops on Wednesday afternoon, according to a U.S. military statement.
"U.S. forces fired in self-defense, wounding the attacker," the military said. "The convoy stopped, secured the area and began to render medical aid."
The man, Ahmed al-Jumaili, was rushed to a local hospital and was in stable condition there Thursday after being treated for a chest wound and two bullet grazes.
Although the incident came just a day after the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush was released from prison, al-Jumaili said he took off his leather slipper and threw it in a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the patrol.
"When I saw Americans patrolling the streets of Fallujah I lost my temper, I don't want to see them in Fallujah," he told The Associated Press. "Troops have withdrawn from cities so why they still patrolling here in Fallujah?"
Under the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, American forces ceased operating on their own in cities and towns earlier this summer but still go on joint patrols. The agreement calls for the withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of August 2010 and of all U.S. troops by the end of the following year.
The U.S. military did not say in its statement what the thrown object was, and in response to a request for clarification said the object had not been recovered.
"The Marines who saw the object thrown at the vehicle identified it as a grenade," spokeswoman 1st Lt. Rachel Beatty said. "Because the suspected grenade was not recovered, we do not know why it had failed to function."
However, a Fallujah police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the press, said al-Jumaili had only thrown his slipper.
Shopkeeper Ammar Hussein, who knows al-Jumaili, said he witnessed the incident.
"I saw him throw his shoe while the U.S. soldier was looking at him," Hussein said, adding that the act was out of character for al-Jumaili. "He was always so calm, I never saw him behaving strangely."
Al-Jumaili, a 30-year-old auto mechanic, said he ran after throwing his slipper, but was slowed after a bullet grazed his leg.
"More bullets were fired and one hit me from behind and went through my chest, and I fell down," he said from the hospital, surrounded by his mother and other family members.
The U.S. military said the Marines' response was "done in compliance with the security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq which authorizes U.S. forces to take appropriate action in self-defense."
Elsewhere in Iraq, a suicide car bomber hit a police checkpoint west of the northern city of Mosul, killing three civilians and injuring three policemen, provincial police said.
Also in the north, in the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniyah, a worker with a Norwegian aid agency who had been abducted was found alive, the agency said.
Soran Coste was found early in the morning after being reported missing Monday, Norwegian People's Aid said in a statement on their Web site. He "shows obvious signs of physical abuse" and is receiving medical treatment, the group said.
NPA said it had no details on what happened to Coste or who was behind the abduction. But the statement said Coste, who runs human rights and democracy programs in the region for the Norwegian group, has had his home vandalized and has received death threats in the past.
BOULDER CREEK, Calif. -- In times of war, front-line troops occasionally are ordered to retreat to a place of relative safety -- known in military jargon as a "stand down" -- where Soldiers can rest and receive medical attention before returning to combat. But for nearly 200 homeless veterans bivouacked among the redwoods at Boulder Creek this weekend, the South Bay Stand Down provided a welcome respite from the daily combat they face on the streets.
The "campers" were all there voluntarily, following six months of cajoling by the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Palo Alto. They were brought in on buses from a variety of South Bay street corners, park benches and flophouses. Many didn't stop abusing their painkiller of choice until they got to the clearing deep in the woods.
"I came on the bus, and you could smell it all over," said Steve Otis, referring to the reek of alcohol. By midafternoon Saturday, Otis -- a veteran of the Air Force and Narcotics Anonymous -- already had seen a judge to clear up some legal problems from his days on the streets. After 30 years of substance abuse and a stretch in prison, Otis will celebrate three years of sobriety today among his brothers in arms.