Another Four-Letter Word

I am a member of KPLUG, the Linux group mentioned in your "Night Is My Day" cover story (December 6). It was a nice article; however, I take exception to my friends being called geeks.

These are highly intelligent and well-respected men and women who contribute an enormous amount to the community. I would have appreciated the writer's selecting a nicer word than "geek," which can be derogatory or insulting.

Thank you for listening to my opinion.

Sabrina

via email

Confidentially Theirs

I enjoyed your article "Night Is My Day" (Cover Story, December 6), particularly the piece about the Rescue Mission's Nueva Vida Haven shelter. I worked there for two years, from 2002 to 2004, and I remember training Chris Kerns when she began at the Family Cold Weather Shelter. I remember the endless loads of laundry at night, dealing with police bringing in battered women, and the occasional ambulance call. One night, I was physically attacked by a woman having a violent schizophrenic episode. I almost quit that night but stuck it out another six months.

At the time, I was working full-time for the County of San Diego during the day and working the overnight shift at the Rescue Mission on Friday and Saturday nights while also earning my bachelor's degree. The staff was made up of a hodgepodge of college interns and former shelter residents.

I don't claim to be a Christian, so I can't say it was my calling, but one thing Chris Kerns was right about is your heart has to be in the work. I never judged the women in the shelter. I didn't know what they had been through that landed them there. I still work with the homeless population sometimes in a different capacity, and I still see many of the shelter residents I worked with years ago on the street. Because of confidentiality, I can't approach them, but they often approach me. It feels good when they remember me in a kind way.

Tanya Room

via email

Blackwater Blowback

Don Bauder's excellent exposé of mercenary Blackwater ("Potrero: Still Burning," "City Lights," Novem- ber 21) leaves much more to be revealed of this gestapo organization established to protect State Department employees in Iraq. Jeremy Scahill, reporter for Nation Magazine and author (Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army), made the following statement before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on September 21, 2007.

"[T]hey have acted like cowboys, running Iraqis off the road, firing indiscriminately at vehicles and, in some cases, private forces have appeared on tape seemingly using Iraqis for target practice." Scahill testified that contractors' actions have created blowback and revenge attacks against U.S. military personnel, that contractors operate with "immunity and impunity," answerable to no higher authority, and that Iraqis cannot prosecute these crimes. In Najaf, in early 2004, one Blackwater operative was filmed on tape saying that shooting at Iraqis was "like a turkey shoot."

Scahill continued, "Colonel Thomas Hammes, the U.S. military official once overseeing the creation of a new Iraqi military, has described driving around Iraq with Iraqis and encountering Blackwater operatives. '[They] were running me off the road. We were threatened and intimidated,' Hammes said. But, he added, 'They were doing their job, exactly what they were paid to do in the way they were paid to do it, and they were making enemies on every single pass out of town.'"

Scahill testified that Brigadier General Karl Horst, deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said that contractors "run loose in this country and do stupid stuff." In Baghdad over a 60-day period, Horst documented "at least a dozen shootings of Iraqi civilians by contractors, resulting in six Iraqi deaths and the wounding of three others," according to Scahill.

Wayne Madsen of the Wayne Madsen Report ( http://www.waynemadsenreport.com) says at least 55 U.S. law enforcement agencies have been indoctrinated in Blackwater "tactics"; some have abysmal civil-rights and police-brutality records, spelling trouble for civilian control of police and paramilitary forces.

Furthermore, the training and potential indoctrination of police officers by extreme right-wing and proto-fascist Blackwater could cause bloody public reactions resembling Baghdad and Fallujah (potentially triggering martial law as hoped for by the Bush-D.C. new-world-order crowd).

Madsen concludes that citizens must confront local elected city-county officials; pressure them to reveal numbers and identities of officers trained by Blackwater, subjects covered, revenues spent; and demand that they cease and desist in such training.

Blackwater, federally funded and directed, might be better understood from House Joint Resolution 192 of 1933, which declares that the "American people are the enemy of the United States Incorporated."

Remember Waco and Ruby Ridge? Now it's atrocity by local cop.

Jess Turner

Carlsbad

Comments from Reader Website

Blurt

Published December 5

Posted by Gob Bluth on 12/5/07, 4:49 p.m.

RTX is "grindcore/ speed-metal"? Christ, you get something wrong in the very first sentence, and I am supposed to believe anything else you write? hack.

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