Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

WikiLeaks create doubt about Canadian Deaths.

July 27th, 2010

Late Sept in 2006, I went to a red shirt rally in support of Canadian troops in Toronto. While there, I chanced to observe a man I’ve come to admire, Errol Cushley.

Mr. Cushley, and he deserves the respect of the honorific, is the father of Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley, who died in battle on Sept 3, 2006. Cushley was one of four who died that day, as Canadian soldiers began Operation Medusa in Panjwayi some 30 km west of Kandahar city.
Private Cushley  and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish were killed by a 50 calibre rifle shot by a Taliban insurgent:

“Frank was standing on one side of Sergeant Major Barnes and Will Cushley was standing behind him, behind what — I don’t know what the military calls it but — what we’d call a front-end motor, and the Taliban insurgent or whatever you want to call them popped up out of a building and fired a 50-cal rifle at it and the schrapnel killed both Frank and Will Cushley,” he said. “They weren’t killed by friendly fire. They were taken in enemy fire. It was the beginning of Operation Medusa.”

Back in November 2006 At Home in Hespeler paid homage to Private Cushley, and had his picture in the sidebar to remember the sacrifices being made in Afghanistan. So it was with some shock that this morning I read that the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary suggested that Private Cushley,  Warrant Officer Mellish as well as Sergeant Shane Stachnik and Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan were not killed by the Taliban, but in a friendly fire incident:

the raw intelligence — sometimes just reports made at the time without substantiation — contains a document that refers to a “friendly fire” incident in which soldiers received small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from a building, returned fire and dropped a guided bomb, heavily damaging the building.

“Casualties 4xCND KIA 4xCDN WIA,” the report says, meaning four Canadians killed in action and four wounded. A few minutes later, wounded had increased to seven Canadians and one Afghan civilian interpreter.

The incident is believed to have occurred the same day, Sept. 3, 2006, as four Canadians were officially reported killed by Taliban insurgents.

Private William Cushley, Sergeant Shane Stachnik, Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish were killed as Canadians launched Operation Medusa.

It should be noted that General Rick Hillier denies that claim.

We were certain, based on the enormous number of soldiers and sailors and airmen and air women that we had in that fight, what occurred that day. Of course, this doesn’t make it easier for the families when erroneous reports like this come out and they’re trumpeted.

It should also be noted that neither of the soldiers are named in the report, and a certain amount of assumption is going on in this story. None the less, it’s a disturbing and disappointing story and someone who can be trusted better be investigating the real circumstanced that day. The families deserve no less than to know exactly what happened.

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The Freedom of Music: What Happened to Music?

March 15th, 2009
freedom-of-music-headerOne likes to believe in the freedom of music.

Rush – Spirit of Radio.

What happened? When did music become so bad? I don’t know what it is lately, but I feel like the whole music industry has fallen over a cliff. Good God, who are these people who have taken that which was so vital in our lives, and fucking ruined it?

I recently read a book by a guy called Dave Thompson called I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto. He frankly makes far too many good points to write off as a crank. sidebar-2Good point 1: even if you think a new song is good, will you be listening to it in a year, five years, ten years from now? I know that answer, because I’ve fallen for it too many times. Good point 2: You want to know how hard the mighty can fall? From “In My Time of Dying” to “Radioactive.” That’s how hard.

Thompson cites the end of good music as coming from between 1976 and 1978. Boston’s debut album was the beginning of the end, not because it was a bad album, but because it was so carefully crafted, and sold so many copies. By 1978 these carefully crafted albums were also selling millions:

Infinity by Journey.
You Can Tune a Piano but you Can’t Tuna Fish by REO Speedwagon.
Don’t Look Back by Boston.
The Cars by The Cars
Double Vision by Foreigner
Toto by Toto
Pieces of Eight by Styx
Hemispheres by Rush

Never again would a band go into the studio for 18 days, and come out with a masterworks like Led Zeppelin did with 1976’s Presence. Now, the music was a commodity, to be manufactured to maximize sales.

Think I exaggerate? Think the state of the music world is just fine? Riddle me this, who was the hottest selling act this week? If you answered the not guilty of paedophilia in the strictly OJ Simpson sense of the word, Michael Jackson, the freakiest freak in freakville, give yourself ten points.  The spastic, hasn’t demonstrated an ounce of talent in twenty years, and no more than that ever, Jackson was selling out 50 shows at London’s 02 arena. 50 shows sold out in 5 hours. Never mind music, what has gone wrong in our world when that many people will pay approximately $100 each to see this thing, this diddler? But hey, it’s the hottest show in music, which really should be the end of this rant. What could possibly follow to demonstrate that the world of music is no longer worth your attention?

Britney Spears, that’s what. She’s doing wonderful business in her comeback tour. This weeks New York show had the ever awful Madonna in attendance.  Despite favourable reviews (well one) Madonna caused a stir when she left mid-show. Now clear your head and ponder that one item. In the middle of a concert, Madonna leaves and that’s the news.  Would they have shut down the tour if she yawned mid-performance? Why would any body care that Madonna left? Surely they were paying attention to the singer on stage? Alas, there was no singer. The lady dancing, sans musicians, with the top hat and microphone, she was lip syncing. The whole show, except the one time when she said, “Peace, New York.” People paid up to $750 to see Britney Spears not sing? Which is, I suspect, about $745 more than they would pay to hear her sing. But fear not, merchandise, including $150 velvet ensembles and $30 knockoff top hats, flew off the shelves.  Because, you see, post 1978, it’s about the merchandise.

It’s too easy, however, to blame all that’s wrong with the music business on Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, even Madonna. Largely accurate in many ways, but easy.  When Kiss recorded their first live album, Paul Stanley can be heard at one point asking the audience, “do you believe in rock and roll?” After an affirmative cheer, he commands the audience, “stand up for what you believe in.” This was before the invention of the Kiss Army, of which I was an inaugural member, but I have no doubt listening to Kiss Alive now that the audience followed this command like an army following an order.  Yes! we believed in Rock and roll, and Yes! we would stand up for what we believed in. That’s what we thought then, music wasn’t a commodity, it was a movement. We hated disco because it threatened our way of life, our core belief.  Disco was the Taliban, circa 1975 and liking disco was a subversive act. Disco died away for many reasons, not the least of which because there was a Kiss Army to kick it’s ass.

So why was Kiss’ resident demon/fire breather/blood spitter, Gene Simmons, in Toronto this week peddling baby clothes? Because Kiss is a commodity, that’s why. Because while the Kiss Army may have believed in rock and roll, the members themselves have long believed in the commodification thereof. Because in 1978, when Kiss was releasing comic books, it stopped being about the music.  And now, thirty years later, it really is that bad.

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