Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 24th, 2012

Beirut Blast and Branding a Revolution?

The consequences and ramification of the car explosion in Achrafieh that occurred on Friday at 2:30 pm are in progress.  More casualties (injured and killed civilians) are increasing: Infighting in Tripoli and in Beirut are still taking place, for no reasons but to vent out the anger of the jobless youth, galvanized by opportunistic political leaders, wanting to secure a ministry in a possible government shuffling…

I knew a friend living in the nearby of the blasted street and sent her a message: “Zeina, this street is familiar to me. Write something…” The apartment of Zeina and her family was blasted but they are all uninjured…

And the scores of dead victims from the blast had no anchor man or woman to cover the grieving of their families and the 110 injured civilians scattered in the hospitals of Beirut…

Habib Battah published this Oct.20, 2012 in “The Beirut Report” under “Branding a revolution”:

It’s been barely 24 hours since the assassination of the Lebanese internal intelligence chief Gen. Wissam Hassan, and the political wheels are already in full gear.

There have been speeches tonight in downtown Beirut calling for the resignation of prime minister and tents being set up for a sleep-in, which organizers promise will not end until their demands are met (see top right image above).

Politicians opposed to Prime Minister Najib Mikati are calling for a massive turnout for Hassan’s funeral tomorrow, and tonight, the media (allied to the Hariri clan) is playing its role in getting the word out.

The Future Television (Hariri or Moustakbal movement) has begun filming one of its talk shows in the tomb of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, seeking to draw his supporters in by creating a visual link between Hariri’s killing and that of Hassan:

Future TV has even created a Hassan graphic with the date of tomorrow’s funeral:

Meanwhile, other stations have been filming nightly talk shows from Martyr’s square where only a few hundred party loyalists have gathered. These crowds are relatively minuscule compared to the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese that have gathered in downtown Beirut in years past (particularly in March 14, 2005), but in filming live from the area, television stations are building momentum for tomorrow’s event by treating the small crowds as a major news story.

On MTV, the scene is carefully framed with the anchor standing in front of the two tents that have been erected earlier this afternoon (see first photo in this post), which pales in comparison to the hundreds of tents set up by Hezbollah and its allies during their occupation of downtown in 2006. Yet the tight shot does not allow viewers to actually count the tents.

Neither does the wide angle, which shows a relatively small crowd of a few dozen, mainly young men holding party flags:

Similarly, Al Jadeed also filmed its evening talk show tonight from Martyr’s Square, but again wide shots revealed almost no one gathered for an event that can barely justify– in terms of news worthiness– the cost of such an outdoor broadcast.

On the other hand, LBC has chosen to film its show in studio tonight. But like the other channels, the guests are familiar faces, with very partisan affiliations, making very familiar, heated arguments.

The same was true for OTV, which is supportive of the government and thus brought out pro-government figures that Lebanese have seen on televisions for years if not decades.

Clearly, all this advertisement about tomorrow’s rally from pro-government channels may have an impact on some viewers. But at the same time, many have grown tired of being spoon-fed polarizing and often sect-specific views from entrenched party figures.

If tomorrow’s rally does not draw the huge crowds it is promising, this could be a small but significant blow to the traditional Lebanese political order, which finds itself under increasing pressure amid the changes going on in the region.

Note: The bodies of Wissam and his bodyguard Sahyoun were being readied to be buried next to late Rafic Hariri PM when a nitwits, standing by ex-Siniora PM, took the micro and harangued the masses to storm the close-by government building (The Grand Serai).

The fanatic youth of the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb and the radical Islamist extremists surged and overturn the few policemen standing guard. The army commandos came in reinforcement and the “official” leader of March 14 coalition (Saad Hariri) spoke from Paris and ordered the masses to retreat. Why?

He claimed that the government building, constructed in the early 1910, was built by his late assassinated father Rafic Hariri PM.

Abuses of Military Recruiters in The Inquisitr

An investigation into the Arizona Army National Guard has turned up some startling allegations: accusing military recruiters of a decade of unchecked misconduct…

Military Recruiters Allegedly Sleep With Enlistees, Shoot Homeless With Paintball Guns, engaged in sexual abuse, forgery, embezzlement and assaults, including “riding a Humvee

Megan Greenlaw posted on October 15, 2012

The Arizona Republic reports that a small group of military recruiters – who are assigned to visit high schools in an effort to enlist students into the armed forces – engaged in sexual abuse, forgery, embezzlement and assaults, including “riding a Humvee and shooting paintball guns at homeless people.”

Investigators from the National Guard asserted that the gross misconduct went ignored, partly because many supervisors were also engaged in “unethical behavior.”

Even when discipline was meted out, it was slight

NBC News reports that non-commissioned officers (NCOs) caught driving drunk in military vehicles were “dealt with lightly,” that recruiters who forged records and took fraudulent paychecks were merely transferred.

Allegedly, one recruiter had sex with a female enlistee, but was still allowed to deploy overseas. Once overseas, he was disciplined for “similar offenses,” and was transferred to the California National Guard … as a high school recruiter.

Staff Sgt. Chad Wille reported the alleged inappropriate behavior, and was “harassed” by colleagues. Wille was confronted by an angry local while filling up a military Humvee at a gas station. The local man reported that he had seen the same vehicle weeks earlier, driving through town shooting people with paintball guns. Wille addressed the man who had the keys to the Humvee during the alleged shootings, Master Sgt. Joseph Martin.

Martin told Wille that he had given the keys to fellow recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Michael Amerson, then asked Wille, “You’re not aware of the bum hunts?”

Wille reported Amerson, the driver who had allegedly led the “bum hunts,” but was told by his supervision to “let it go.”

Amerson taunted Wille in a text message, saying “Ha, ha, ha, [they’re] not going to do anything.” Wille, a retired police officer and new to the National Guard, reported, “I got a little angry, and the police department (training) came back out of me.”

And then the real trouble began.

Wille was ostracized for “whistle-blowing,” which is a military member’s protected right to report misconduct without fear of retaliation. Wille, however, began experiencing plenty of retaliation. While questioning fellow recruiters about Amerson’s actions, he was met with silence. Until he started talking to the young enlistees.

Soon, a 17-year-old private admitted to taking part in Amerson’s “missions targeting the homeless.” The teen told Wille that she and other female cadets were “pressured by Amerson to cruise with him and flash their breasts at indigents, who were induced to dance, sing or show their own bosoms for money.” The young private reported that in one of the alleged “bum hunts,” Amerson offered a homeless woman $10 to expose her breasts.

He then refused to pay, “then screeched away as the lady grabbed onto the recruiting vehicle’s passenger window.” An investigation into the incident reports, “The female was pulled along and then spun off the car, landing on the ground. She (the soldier) did not know if the female was hurt because they did not stop.”

One teenage recruit claimed that, as part of an alleged mandatory physical, Amerson took her to his private office:

“[Amerson] instructed her to remove her shirt so he could determine whether she was pregnant. According to investigative records, she wept describing how he used a tape measure and fondled her, making her feel ‘dirty and disgusted,’ then took her to a pharmacy to get a pregnancy test, which came out negative.”

Throughout the investigation, many military members allegedly received phone calls encouraging them to remain silent or lie when asked about the goings on at the Phoenix office. One young private, who was recruited by Amerson, told investigators: “I wasn’t following the Army Code of Conduct — the rules of the Army — and I guess I sort of got that idea from Sgt. Amerson that ‘You can do whatever you want, as long as people don’t know.’”

Amerson insisted that “There was nothing behind any of that,” reports The Arizona Republic.

Sgt. 1st Class Marie Ann Neilson allegedly reported that Amerson was having an affair with a teenager. Instead of disciplining Amerson, “supervisors reacted by forcing the female soldier to quit the National Guard.” Neilson reported, “Everybody was yelling at her for an inappropriate relationship, but he was the guy: ‘Hey, good for you. You got the young girl.’ And that was their attitude.”

Wille, meanwhile, has been ostracized. His office asked him to retire, and he even received a death threat for shedding light on the behavior of Amerson and others. Many have been demoted and disciplnied as a result of the case Wille brought into the light. Investigators found Amerson guilty of fraternization, vehicle misuse, recruiting improprieties and dishonesty.

He was demoted to private and given an other-than-honorable discharge, although he was not criminally prosecuted or court-martialed. According to The Arizona Republican, his discharge evaluation reads: “Failed every soldier, NCO and officer in the command by using his position for his own pleasure and personal gain.”

Readers: How does this make you feel about accountability among military members? Should Amerson have been arrested and charge for his dealings with the young recruits?





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