“SECRET LETTERS To Home One Stop-Loss Soldiers story Letter#3

STOP-LOSS3

“SECRET LETTERS” to home one stop-loss soldiers story LETTER # 3

According to Wikipedia, the Stop-loss definition is:

“Stop-loss is a term primarily used in the United States military. In the U.S. military, it is the involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS) date and up to their contractually agreed end of obligated service (EOS). It also applies to the cessation of a permanent change of station (PCS) move for a member still in military service. Stop-loss was used immediately before and during the first Persian Gulf War. Since then, it has been used during deployments to SomaliaHaitiBosniaKosovo and after the September 11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terror.”

The policy has been legally challenged several times. However, Federal courts have consistently found that military service members contractually agree that their term of service may be involuntarily extended until the end of their obligated service.

However, in real life it is much more than that. The term and its definition are minimal at best. Truth be told, even a cynic can not sit back and agree that such an act by OUR government is that of a free country — let alone a “free-man / soldier, who has served his country — and his term.

Through the years stop-loss has become much more “in our faces”, as undeclared “wars” have called many a soldier back to a place to which they barely survived — once, never-mind a forceful twice-go-round. In a 2004 Campaign speech by the then presidential candidate John Kerry — stop-loss was described accurately as a “back-door draft”. At that time, both politicians and war activists insisted and proclaimed its use an abuse of the law. Since Congress had not officially declared a war — the basis for using stop-loss was to them as well as those affected just that : “abuse”……

Much controversy, political agenda, hype, and inaccurate depictions of this “injustice” surround the topic whenever it is brought to our attention in any form. So how do we as Americans differentiate between fact and fiction — media agenda, propaganda, misguided citizens, and hoaxes — and how do we get the real stories, the guts and grit of the truth without literally being in that situation ourselves ?

In a weekly editorial, Here and Sphere will cautiously report one brave, wounded, forgotten, scared for his life, stop-loss soldier’s story. Though we can not completely vouch for it’s full accuracy — we will deliver this soldier’s encrypted letters, each with all its content — and let you, our readers, decide for yourselves. Our job is to report the news, and bring you the stories that matter to you. In “TOP SECRET” Letter to Home — One stop-loss soldier’s story — we will do just that.

Letter #3

Today was a good day all things considered. Normally that would bring about a smile or sigh of relief — but a good day here is a nightmare at best, back on American soil.

Today my team lead by a “new guy”. The sapling of a superior was freshly dropped here in the middle of yet another cold sand-swept night. Meeting him first thing this morning — all gung-ho, and clueless as to what he would soon become a part of — was almost stomach turning. Much like a doe eyed child full of innocence about to learn something horrific and life-altering. Today our mission was “simple” — cut off water supplies and all aid to the “local threats” one town over.

When I say the word simple, I mean only that it should if carried out correctly be a mission easily achieved — without casualties, and senseless violence. Though we were lucky enough to not lose one of our own — the casualty-less mission I hoped and prayed for — did not play out as I had wished.

Before the desert sun even peaked at us,we geared up and were on our way. All orders had been given — subject to change upon arrival, if our calculations were off even the slightest — and of course they were. I took my post at the highest point of the village, finding my spot was easy — I gained access without harm to myself or anyone else. Once our team was fully in place, orders previously given — went into effect. For the sake of those that watch movies and T.V. I will use familiar lingo — as to paint a picture that may be relatable — but here it is somewhat, okay very different.

Alpha team we will call that me and my 4 watchman — steady handed and sighted on targets pre-assigned we sit and wait. Bravo team began their slow and careful descent into the village as not to awaken the chaos. Delta team came from their angles to help surround the main water source and medical tent — therein began our problem.

Previous recon missions of the medical tent had shown no guard during this particular time — on 4 separate missions, not once had one been spotted. With the main valves off — and “our equipment” that once supplied this village back in our possession — they would have no way once sealed to re-establish a water supply. Bravo team had done their job and were regrouping back at the predetermined zone before hitting target 2. Delta stayed positioned waiting patiently to assist in retrieving, or destroying the medic tent — once Bravo gave the order.

As I looked at the tent I realized that this time WE WERE WRONG… A heavily armed guard paced by the hindquarters of the medic tent — searching for any sign of attack, or threat. Intently I watched as he paced in an almost eerie nazi reminiscent fashion — 4-5 steps one way — full turn — 4-5 steps back in the previous direction. Then it happened — SPOTTED –the last of our Bravo members to get close enough was seen. The foot soldier raised his weapon and aimed as steady as he could, getting ready to summons help…………..THEN ( shot fired ) one single perfectly aimed silent bullet — a few more minutes, enough time to be ghosts, and a fire that took down a whole tent and all its supplies erupted in seconds. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!! (Disgusting)

Back on base Alpha team leader newbie sat crying like a baby — AND JUSTLY SO. I felt connected to him, I knew his disbelief and pain, anger and more. But just like he came to us — HE WAS GONE…

Why him? I am broken too, why can’t I disappear into the night and sand and cold? Why can’t I come home? — Perhaps I’ll never know, PLEASE PRAY THAT I WILL.

Signed: One stop-loss missing home soldier.

As told by:Heather Cornell

PA WOMAN CHARGED AFTER KILLING NEWBORN IN SPORTS-BAR BATHROOM

arrest phot amanda

 Born ,wrapped in a bag right out of the restroom garbage can, then carelessly discarded in the tank of a sports-bar bathroom — and left to die! That was the quick and atrocious beginning of life — right to the tragic death — for this Pennsylvania newborn boy.

screenshots of the bathroom

26-year-old Allentown Pennsylvania resident, Amanda Catherine Hein — went out with friends on August 18th to watch a pay-per-view wrestling match, at Starters Pub in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. While sitting with her party at a booth in the bar, she began experiencing severe back pain and excused herself. According to witnesses including her friend “Rivera” — she was gone for a lengthy period of time, possibly 40 minutes or longer — before returning, grabbing her purse and heading outside. Hein smoked a cigarette before returning to the group to finish watching the rest of the wrestling match. Say’s District Attorney: John Morganelli.  At some point “Rivera” noticing a fairly large amount of blood on the seat asked Hein “if she needed to go to the hospital?” — to which she replied ” I have no insurance”, at that point Hein was dropped off at home.

starterspub side view

Starters Pub a sports bar on Route 378 in Bethlehem Pennsylvania — an estimated 30 miles from Philadelphia — is now the admitted crime scene of the baby boy’s disconcerting death.Bar owner Dave Rank was still in disbelief, and clearly still in shock as he explained that — A cleaning crew for the pub found the baby boy the following morning August 18th, in the tank of the woman’s bathroom toilet, after attempting to flush it repeatedly with no result — they lifted the tank’s top to find a hellish scene.

starters pub route 378 back door

When D.A. Morganelli was asked his thoughts on what Hein was thinking he answered — ” I have no idea what goes on in her head”– noticeably unnerved, he said ” I have no clue.”‘

starters pub heins

According to the Northampton County coroner, the newborn was at least 33 to 36 weeks gestational age — meaning he was fully viable, able to survive outside the womb . Court records also indicate that the baby was born alive and healthy.

survival rate

After learning the gruesome details — Amanda’s stepmother Louiseanne Hein clearly heartbroken and appalled told reporters that she had no idea Amanda was even pregnant. She said that looking back a planned parenthood letter addressed to Amanda now makes sense. Through teary eyes and honest transparent expression — grief-stricken Louiseanne exclaimed through sobbing sentences: “We told her she always had a home here” and that ” we would have worked something out!”

Via Amanda Hein's Facebook
Via Amanda Hein’s Facebook

Even neighbor Victor Rosario reinforced the theorized “Secret Pregnancy” by stating — “I didn’t even know she was pregnant, she didn’t look pregnant!”

On August 20th Amanda Hein was interviewed by authorities. She admitted giving birth to the baby boy in the bathroom, and disposing of him.  This gut wrenching confession, has earned Hein the rightful charge of Criminal Homicide. In Pennsylvania, “intentional murder of a child under the age of 12 is a Capital Offense — punishable by way of the death penalty. On Monday Hein was charged with one count of Criminal Homicide — thus the possibility of imposing the death penalty looms, if Hein is proven guilty.

Hein is being held without bail — as of last week no representation had been officially listed. The  authorities are still searching for the father of the baby.

Educate others safe haven

This incident has resurfaced the topic of SAFE HAVEN’S — as New Jersey and Pennsylvania both have “Anonymous drop off laws.” The Safe Haven laws, and places are now pushing harder to educate people about the State’s laws regarding Safe Haven’s.

safe haven sign

Established in 2002 after an infant girl they called “baby Mary” was discovered in a Sunbury Pennsylvania trash compactor.  EVERY hospital in P.A. are Safe Haven’s only needing to meet minimal criteria.

  • The child must be a non-injured, non-emergent newborn.
  • The newborn must be under the age of 28 days in Pennsylvania.
  • The newborn must be under the age of 30 days in New Jersey

If those criteria are met — the newborn will be accepted and taken in — NO QUESTIONS ASKED — and completely anonymous if the person dropping off the child so chooses.

safe haven incubator

With help in place like Safe Haven’s and a multitude of other resources — there is NO NEED for the senseless and horrifying deaths of any healthy newborn. Educate yourselves, and those around you — IT MAY SAVE A BABY’S LIFE.

Written By: Heather Cornell

wpid-CAM00217.jpg

150 PIMPS ARRESTED 105 RESCUED VICTIMS IN LARGEST CHILD TRAFFICKING STING TO DATE

FBI_TransitShelter

OPERATION CROSS COUNTRY VII

       A task force made up of forty-seven FBI divisions, more than 3,900 law enforcement officers, from local, state, and federal, to agents representing 230 separate agencies teamed up with the (NCMEC) National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — as part of the Bureau’s ( Innocence Lost National Initiative).

       This three-day nationwide enforcement action targeted the people responsible for the trafficking , forced prostitution, abuse, and in some cases even torture of under-age victims.

       This united effort spanning 76 cities nation-wide concluded with an astounding 150 arrests of both pimps and other persons of interest — and most importantly  the rescue of 105 teenagers, being used as prostitutes — the youngest being only 13 years old. This has now been the largest and most successful  enforcement action to date.

        Human trafficking is not new news; however the actual numbers are heinous and appalling.

        There are at least 27 million slaves in the US today, more than any other time period in history — including  pre-abolition. Annually 800,000 people trafficked onto US territory via it’s borders. Of those 800,000 — 90% are women and young female children — with 70% of those woman and children being trafficked for the sole purpose of being forced into the ( commercial sex-slave industry ). If that stomach turning data wasn’t enough — how about the realization that according to the (NCMEC) — 50% of that 70% are children.

 One such victim was not only rescued in this past sting, but was also a key component to the success of it. With her help and cooperation, agents posing as johns, and websites used for the advertising of prostitution — this impressive three-day action served it’s purpose and then some.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America” said Ron Hosko, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. He also stated that ” this operation serves as a  reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen ANYWHERE — and that the FBI are committed to stopping this cycle of victimization, and holding the criminals that profit from this exploitation accountable.”

 Since it’s 2003 beginnings, The Innocence Lost National Initiative has resulted in, the identification and recovery of more than 2,700 children — who have been sexually exploited.

  Ron Hosko also explained that most runaways turn to prostitution for money… “With no way to survive on their own, they are trapped into a life of being trafficked — trapped into this cycle, that involves drugs, it involves physical abuse, and may even involve torture — so that they are tied to the pimp.”

       One such victim is Alexandria a.k.a. Alex, a runaway — who at first stayed with family and friends — eventually finding herself on the street and desperate. Alex then turned to prostitution as a way to supply her basic needs — just for survival. Soon she was at the mercy of a pimp. In an interview Alex bravely admits what her experience was like. She tells the interviewer that ” At first it was terrifying, and then…..You just become numb to it” — “You put on a whole different attitude” — like a different person. “It wasn’t me.”

Two years into her painful ordeal, Alex contacted the FBI, and became a very important asset in helping to bring down two pimps, while also helping to facilitate  the rescue of several under-age victims.

Even through all the bad, inconceivable, and life altering things she endured — Alex is now on her own and thriving — with a positive attitude and outlook on life, as well as her future. Since her rescue she has received her high school diploma, and plans on attending college. Her future goals include becoming an advocate for victims of sexual exploitation.

Watch her interview here:

“They had my past but not my future” – Alex

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aOQhf5zV18M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Nc6J6MdoBog

The sex industry is a multi-million dollar business — no matter what state the economy is in, struggling or not — SEX-STILL-SELLS…. But this is not a case of to each his own, The phrase “what happens behind closed doors, is none of OUR business.” — does NOT apply! What are your opinions on this topic? Here and Sphere would love to hear from you………

Written By: Heather Cornell / Here and Sphere

here and sphere photo me

GUEST EDITORIAL : RACISM AND THE MEDIA, IN LIGHT OF THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE

Image

By Curtis Atchison, house music DJ and track producer

“We’re all blitzed with the same images, propaganda and distorted information wherever we turn. Mainstream media (regardless of ideological leanings) tends to be nothing more than overgeneralized information, watered down for the lowest common denominator to ingest.
“I know when I was growing up, I saw much of the same gripes and complaints people are voicing today. But I did have a mother who was willing to explain things to me the best way she knew how, without trying to make it about “white people” or “black people”. She wanted to make sure things were as objective as possible so I could form my own opinions, but kept me in line to make sure at the very least I wouldn’t physically act out on any discriminations or bigotries I developed. That’s the best she could do, and because of my love for my mother that’s the best I can try to live up to.

“Case in point… right now I’m helping to raise four nieces and nephews in my family. They all know I’m in a committed relationship with another man of a different skin color. My family has opened their arms to him, and out of respect for me they have the kids refer to him as “Uncle” even though we’re not married. They run up to him, give him hugs & kisses and show him love that only another family member could give. But once in a while they do come in with conflicting messages about how life is “supposed to be”. I know they hear many negative things about “white people”. But then they see my partner and the love he bestows and they aren’t able to make the connection between their newly “acquired knowledge” and the man they see in front of them. Even though he’s white, they grew up thinking that he was “Italian” and not “white”.

Same thing on an LGBT level. The kids have no problem jumping into our arms and always want to stay with “the Uncles”. But I know they hear messages from other outside sources about how the LGBT lifestyle is a sin and all that other stuff. And occasionally, those thoughts come into the home whenever they see me kiss my partner. The six year old on rare occasions will go, “Ewww! You two kissed!” But in the next five minutes, he’s asking us when we get married how would they know who the bride is?

IMO, media and outside forces can only do so much to mold minds. If that was your only connection to learning about society, I could see how that could affect you negatively. Beyond that, one needs to be surrounded by loving people who can help them see things through the headlines and the generalizations. OK, now I’m babbling and I have a new mix show to work on…”

CRIME AND ITS FASCINATIONS : SOME THOUGHTS ON THE THREE MURDER PROSECUTIONS NOW UNDER WAY IN MASSACHUSETTS

PART THREE : THE TRIAL AND TRIAL PREPARATION — IMPEDIMENTS

Image

^ Carmen Ortiz, United States Attorney for Massachusetts, already under fire for over-charging Aaron Swartz

Part III in this Here and Sphere series was going to focus on Punishment. But given the obsessive passions afoot with regard to the Zimmerman Case, its presentation, preparation, and verdict, we have changed the plan. Trial preparation and presentation require a strong look from us.

Thanks to TV shows like “Law and Order” especially, most Americans know a lot about what happens in a criminal case long before it goes to trial. “Law and Order” is particularly valuable because its drama includes plenty of mistakes made, bad decisions, incompetent or overreaching lawyers, disagreements about evidence, and such like. On the defense side there is always the problem of what to emphasize and how. Prosecutors face election and find themselves forced to go the route on cases in which their voting public has great interest. The media pounce on criminal cases of great interest; they cannot avoid it, nor should they. This too has consequences for justice, most of them unhappy. “Law and Order” retreats from none of it. The picture this show puts in frame is often stereotyped — but never false.

“Law and Order” succeeds because crime unthinkably violent or unjust arouses great passions. Whence arises the rush to accuse, which almost always brings more injustice.

The rush to accuse and judge has ruined many a life : one thinks of the Duke LaCrosse team fiasco, the Atlanta security guard falsely accused of bombing a fair, the national security scientist wrongly accused of sending anthrax letters, the Tawanna Brawley accusation that a NY County prosecutor had raped her. One could add many, many more such incidents.

False accusation is no minor break in the social fabric. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is one of Moses’ 10 commandments, the ground rules of Jewish tribal law. No social mistake outranks false accusation as an act of barbarity. Still, false accusation arises from people’s knowledge that grievous crimes do occur; and who can tell, at the outset, whether an accusation is false or true ? That is why we have police detectives and investigators and why we pay them good money. To separate the false accusation from the likely true one.

Public outcry has engendered more incompetent or unwarranted prosecutions than we can count. In the 1980s it was day care centers abusing children : every case brought was eventually reversed or compromised — in Massachusetts, the Amirault Family of Fells acres — after ruining the lives of the accused. In the 1930s – and before that — it was people of color in the South accused of rape. In the 1920s it was Sacco and Vanzetti — right here in Dedham, Massachusetts.Bartolomeo sacco 1

^ Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, prosecuted almost certainly wrongfully and executed after seven (7) years of world wide protests.

In 1692 in my home city of Salem, also in Massachusetts, it was men and women accused of witchcraft.  In the South, from the late 1880s until the Second World war, many black men didn’t even get an unfair trial but were simply lynched…

a lynching

^ injustice at its most passionate…

To return to the present, New York City’s Brooklyn prosecutor is now investigating 50 convictions based on what looks like perjured testimony, doctored confessions, and prosecutorial misconduct.

David Ranta

^ David Ranta, freed in NY after serving 22 years for a rape he almost certainly did not commit

A victim is required. No matter who or how. Prosecutors and police staffs work with that as a backdrop. It is not pretty and it is wrong.

Jurors, too, feel the heat. Juries in high-passion criminal cases are sequestered and their names impounded. We do this so that passion people cannot threaten or otherwise intimidate jurors, at trial and after verdict. It is a wonder that, given this pressure, people are willing to serve as jurors at all.

In the time of Henry VIII, jurors gave a verdict unfavorable to the King at their peril. We, today, are the King.

The moral of the story is plain: the public should — must — reserve judgment; prosecutors and police must seek justice, not convictions; and juries must never be afraid to decide a case as THEY see it, not as WE see it.

In the Zimmerman matter, which we have discussed in separate editorials, very little went as it should. Injustice, incompetence — you name it. Now we turn to Massachusetts and our own three murder prosecutions. Hopefully, we will do much better than tyhe Zimmerman prosecutors and police staffs.

The three cases now under way –James “Whitey” Bulger, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and Aaron Hernandez — fascinate us. Murder most foul can never be grasped. It is always open and shut ; was it done, or not ? By this person, or someone else ? Murder is simple — and a mystery beyond resolution.But never beyond opinion.

Most of us have already formed an opinion as to the accuseds’ guilt and of appropriate punishment. Because this is Massachusetts, we ought be fairly sure that the prosecutions will be competent and NOT tainted by misconduct, although our history in this regard is not auspicious. We are proof that being politically progressive is no guarantee of being just about justice.

Image

< J. W. Carney, lead defense attorney for James “Whitey”Bulger

The big danger, though, is that all three men’s juries will feel pressured to reach a certain verdict rather than another. To that end, we commend the Bulger prosecution for its methodical presentation and its readiness to provide to the defense such evidence as our law requires it to disclose. We shall see if the Tsarnaev prosecution meets this standard.

Image

< Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, who will prosecute the Aaron Hernandez case.

Stay tuned.

— Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

NEXT : PART FOUR — MEDIA ISSUES

CRIME AND ITS FASCINATIONS : SOME THOUGHTS ON THE THREE MURDER CASES NOW IN MASSACHUSETTS NEWS

PART TWO : DID HE REALLY DO THAT ?

Image

how COULD he do that : Albert deSalvo

On the very morning of my writing Part II of this series comes the news that Albert deSalvo, who in the years 1962 to 1964 scared every woman in Boston as the mysterious “Boston strangler” and was eventually convicted (though only of an unrelated rape) — he died in prison long ago — has been confirmed by DNA evidence to be, in fact, the Strangler. And so revives to us in Massachusetts the memory of one of our state’s most vilified criminals ever. A man who invaded women’s homes, raped them, and then strangled them : it happened to thirteen in all — eleven by the “Strangler” —  though he was convicted not of any of these but of another rape entirely.

The crime amazed us. This wasn’t murder as such. The strangling was only the wrap-up of crimes beyond understanding.

Murder, we all understand. Is there anyone out there — well, HARDLY anyone — who hasn’t at some point in his or her life said, or wanted to say, “I will KILL you” ? We get angry. Anger is the crank that starts most engines of violence. Most of us control the anger, stifle it, move beyond it. Still, the desire to kill is there, dormant, waiting.

Other crimes of violence are harder to understand. Most of us do NOT have the desire to rape, or assault, or commit arson or mayhem. Who says, or wants to say, “I will RAPE you” ? Or “i will burn down your house” ? Not very many of us. Nor do we know someone whom we can imagine raping or burning a house. It’s a puzzle.

Thus the fascination we have with crimes of rape, arson, or mayhem is different from that which we feel for murder. “Did he REALLY do that ? How could he have ? What sort of person IS he ?” These are what we want answers to, what we watch rape, arson, or mayhem trials to find out.

Unhappily, trials seldom give us any objective answers to these questions. What we do get is the evidence — much of it horrific and as beyond imagining as the crime itself — and a picture or pictures of the accused, all of it prejudicial pro OR con. The “perp’ we end up seeing, and judging, is a creation of our perceptions, our own values. This has consequences. The murderer, we are glad to consign to prison for life. the rapist, however, many of us want to torture. He who commits mayhem or assault, we would like to see assaulted or mayhem-ed. The arsonist, not so much; all that he draws is pity and wonder — arson seems a purposeless crime. But it too, like rape and mayhem, we puzzle to grasp. It’s a mystery. And we all love reading mystery stories. Over and over again. the same holds true for rape, arson,and mayhem trials. the accused remains a puzzle even after all has been testified to, shown in pictures, argued over, and decided.

It is so with Albert deSalvo. Though we know the whole public part of his story — and knew it over and over again for decades — we know none of the private story. Why did he do it ? how could he do it ? Probably not even he could have told us. Likely he did not know why. as for how could he ? He just did. Perhaps that was all there was to it. He did it because he could.

COMING NEXT — PART THREE : PUNISHMENT

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere