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Iraq. A note from the press office called it a letter ``Kerry sent to Rumsfeld today,'' although the senator was not in Washington at the time.
GRAPHIC: OUT OF ACTION: U.S. Sen John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) missed four roll-call votes during a two-dayleave from D.C. File photo
LOAD-DATE: June 23, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 23, 2005 Thursday

LENGTH: 281 words
HEADLINE: Feds aid local cops to curb hate mongers
BYLINE: By Tom Farmer

State police antiterrorism investigators are joining forces with police in Marblehead and Chicopee to prepare for the unwanted arrival of a Kansas hate group at the funerals of a Marine captain killed in Iraq and a Green Beret killed in Afghanistan.

While members of the radical Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) have not decided yet whether to carry out their threat to demonstrate at services Monday in Marblehead for Staff Sgt.

Christopher N. Piper and at an upcoming memorial in Chicopee for Capt. John Maloney, authorities are planning for every contingency.

``We're going to provide intelligence to the local police departments about this group and what other counter-protest groups they might attract,'' said one state police source familiar with the WBC.

The rogue church claims the 9/11 attacks and subsequent deaths of American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's vengeance on a nation tolerant of homosexuality. Margie Phelps, a daughter of WBC leader Fred Phelps, told the Boston Herald this week the group plans to demonstrate at both funerals.

Marblehead police Chief James Carney said the group is well-versed in its First Amendment rights. He said an area will be set aside for them to demonstrate if they do show up for Piper's funeral Monday morning. But Carney added he spoke to another of Phelps' daughters yesterday who said they haven't decided whether to make good on their threat to picket the funeral.

If they do show up, Carney said they will be protected regardless of the hateful venom they spew. ``We just can't let them roam around for their personal safety,'' he said. ``We will have a couple of game plans and we will be ready for whatever happens.''
GRAPHIC: FUNERAL TARGETED: Army Capt. John Maloney is shown with his son, Nathaniel. The officer was killed by a bomb on duty in Iraq. AP photo
LOAD-DATE: June 23, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 22, 2005 Wednesday

LENGTH: 192 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

Dissing the Froot Loops

Ah, just when we thought it was safe to come out without fear of running into photos of Saddam Hussein in his undies, come more revelations about the man who once terrorized Iraq - this time from his guards.

Five GIs from a Pennsylvania National Guard unit, entrusted with guarding Saddam, agreed to be interviewed by GQ magazine.

And while they signed an agreement not to reveal certain strategic aspects of Saddam's incarceration, they were free to offer such revealing insights as the tyrant's preference for Raisin Bran Crunch over Froot Loops (thus offering some assurance of his good taste and common sense) and President Reagan over President Clinton (ditto on the good taste/common sense).

The young guardsmen also talked about having to remind themselves that this pathetic creature before them - obsessed with washing his clothes and his hands - was also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen.

``He'd always tell us he was still the president. That's what he thinks, One hundred percent,'' said Spc. Jesse Dawson.

Whatever helps get him through the day - as he awaits trial for his crimes against the Iraqi people.
LOAD-DATE: June 22, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 21, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 343 words
HEADLINE: Kansas group to spew hate at local soldiers' funerals

A radical Midwestern hate group plans to protest at the funerals of two local soldiers killed in action, claiming the slain heroes ``were cast into hell to join many more dishonorable Americans.''

The Westboro Baptist Church, proclaiming ``thank God for IEDs'' or roadside bombs, claims the 9/11 attacks and American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's vengeance on a nation that is tolerant of homosexuality.

``It's going to shock and enrage every person who sees it. That is our goal,'' said Margie Phelps, daughter of WBC leader Fred Phelps. The group is based in Topeka, Kansas, and has made headlines protesting homosexuality at school events, graduations and mainstream churches.

But when told about the group's plans, John Maloney, the father of slain Marine Capt. John Maloney, said his son died in Iraq to protect free speech, no matter how offensive.

``He fought and died for their right to do what they do,'' he said. ``I may not agree with what they do. This is still the United States of America, isn't it?''

In addition to protesting Maloney's funeral, the group also plans to protest the Marblehead funeral of Staff Sgt. Christopher N. Piper, a Green Beret, killed in Afghanistan.

``This kid was an American hero,'' Marblehead veterans service agent David Roberts said. ``I don't understand people like that. Any disrespect shown towards him and his family is beyond my imagination.''

Margie Phelps said her father is a self-declared prophet.

``He hasn't been sent to save. He's been sent to condemn,'' she said, adding that group members have protested the funerals of 11 slain soldiers across the nation in the past two weeks.

Phelps said the protests may be disruptive to family members but ``as long as it's being made into a public ordeal, then all bets are off.''

She added, ``Thank God for the mortar. Thank God for the shell that came from the gun. Thank God for the fact that it killed the fruit of America to punish it for its sins.''

But Maloney, still grieving for his son, said simply, ``I think they're misdirected. I'll pray for them.''
LOAD-DATE: June 21, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 21, 2005 Tuesday

LENGTH: 236 words
HEADLINE: Stop & Shop moves to help disabled vets

Stop & Shop will wear its heart on its wrist next week.

The supermarket chain plans to sell $2 ``Hero Bands'' wristbands at local stores, with proceeds going to the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.

The nonprofit provides aid - such as disability-adapted homes and job placement - to severely injured veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The wristbands will be sold at Stop & Shop supermarkets in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York from June 26 to July 9.

Injured veterans can often wait for 120 days before getting financial support from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Social Security, said Salute Executive Vice President Doug Plank.

The nonprofit has been planning to use wristbands to raise money for more than three years, but it took a partnership with the Quincy-based retailer to bring the idea to life.

The hero bands are red, white and blue, in a style resembling the Lance Armstrong Foundation's yellow ``Live Strong'' bands.

Despite the wide range of charities using bands, Salute believes its cause resonates with Americans. It's time ``to stand up for those men and women who (went) across oceans and countries and came back with a sacrifice of lost limbs, lost sight and other traumas,'' Plank said.

The supermarket operator also plans to train interested disabled veterans to work in its stores. ``We feel that we owe something to these men and women,'' Weiner said.
LOAD-DATE: June 21, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 20, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 490 words
HEADLINE: Times test Guard commander

Oliver J. Mason Jr., a former science teacher recently promoted to become the state's top military officer, barely had time to pin on brigadier general stars before a gut-punch arrived from Afghanistan.

Insurgent mortar fire killed Massachusetts National Guard Sgt. Michael Kelley, 26, of Scituate, last Wednesday near the Pakistan border. He was buried Saturday.

``This is our first combat loss, and we're extremely saddened,'' said Mason, who has a son and a daughter around Kelley's age. ``The shock has rippled throughout the entire Massachusetts National Guard.''

In his first in-depth interview since taking over as adjutant general in late April, the Bay State's new top military officer pledged to focus on preparing troops for combat and expressed confidence that the state's militia can juggle its commitments at home and abroad despite rapid-fire deployments and a major recruiting crunch.

``In every action, every preparation that we do getting soldiers and airmen ready, it's always in the back of our minds that we have to give them the best training and make them as ready as we can so they can defend themselves overseas in combat,'' Mason said Thursday at the Joint Force Headquarters in Milford.

Knowing the Guard has about 800 troops deployed, many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, at any one time weighs heavily on his mind, Mason said. But he has missions to accomplish. For starters, he's responsible for transforming the Cold War-era force to fit the modern Army's doctrine of smaller, self-sufficient ``units of action.'' In Massachusetts, this will begin with the 26th Infantry Brigade, which will be reinvented beginning this fall as the 26th Brigade Combat Team.

The unit will gain the military police, intelligence, engineer, transportation, medical and other assets it needs to operate on its own in battle. The change, expected to be completed in the fall of 2006, opens the possibility of a large combat deployment that would involve thousands of Massachusetts troops.

``You can't say positively, but that's the intent, that the brigade combat team would deploy in the future intact,'' Mason said.

In the meantime, Mason and his staff are struggling to recruit new soldiers and to hang on to their experienced sergeants and officers. Both the active Army and the Guard and Reserves have consistently missed recruiting goals after three years of war.

Last year, the Massachusetts Guard decreased by roughly 800 troops, or about 9 percent of the force. The combined strength of the Army and Air National Guard dipped to 8,200 - down from 10,000 four years before.

Even so, Mason said the force is sufficient to do its part to combat terrorism while standing ready for mobilization at home in an emergency or natural disaster. The Guard fielded roughly 500 troops during the January blizzard.

``Right now we're holding our own,'' Mason said. ``But we're certainly looking for young patriots to raise their hand and volunteer.''
GRAPHIC: IN CHARGE: Former science teacher Oliver J. Mason Jr. was recently promoted to serve as commander of the Massachusetts National Guard. STAFF PHOTO BY TED FITZGERALD
LOAD-DATE: June 20, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 20, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 394 words
HEADLINE: Roadside bomb kills Chicopee Marine, dad

Even as a boy, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. John W. Maloney of Chicopee distinguished himself as a leader who seemed to thrive on the responsibility of looking after his two younger brothers.

``Being a working mom, I carried a heavy hand for discipline, and I expected great things of him and for him to help out while I was at work,'' said his mother, Lydia Maloney of Chicopee, who is now mourning her son's death in combat last week. ``He seemed to take to it. He always made sure things went smooth while I was working.''

The 36-year-old father of two, who rose through the ranks from private to company commander, and another Marine were killed Thursday in Iraq when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle near Ramadi.

``I am so proud of him,'' said his father, John E. Maloney of Holyoke. ``I couldn't be any more proud of a person than I am of John.

``He was my hero, my son, my friend, my confidant,'' Maloney added, his voice cracking with emotion. ``Just a special guy.''

Lydia Maloney said she last heard from her son a few days before Mother's Day.

``He was just saying he was doing all right, doing well. A day at a time,'' she recalled yesterday. ``We've become accustomed to not being able to talk about specifics. He seemed upbeat. He was very proud of the men he was commanding. Many of them were back in Iraq for their third time.''

Maloney had recently told his dad about a mission delivering medical supplies to a hospital outside Ramadi. The career Marine, who also fought in the 1991 Gulf War, was buoyed by a group of Iraqi schoolboys who helped the Marines unload their truck, his dad recalled.

``He was so happy about that,'' Maloney said. ``The interaction, the willingness to participate. It just kind of pleased him.''

Maloney lived outside Camp Pendleton, Calif., with his wife, a son, 6, and a daughter, 2. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division.

The younger brothers he helped raise both followed him into the Marine Corps: 1st Lt. Jason Maloney, just back from Iraq, is now stationed in Okinawa; and Lance Cpl. Justin Maloney of Chicopee, a Marine reservist, was stationed in Bahrain in 2003 and 2004.

``You think of it as a roulette wheel,'' Lydia Maloney said. ``You just don't know who it's going to land on. You become accustomed to things, the sudden changes. You accept it. You may not like it all the time, but it's the vocation my sons chose.''
LOAD-DATE: June 20, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald
June 20, 2005 Monday

LENGTH: 311 words
HEADLINE: Kerry cautious on probing `Downing Street Memo'

WASHINGTON - Walking a tightrope on a politically charged issue, Sen. John F. Kerry vowed weeks ago to raise the controversial ``Downing Street Memo'' as an issue in Washington, but has since publicly held his tongue on the matter.

Instead, Kerry has been enlisting other senators to sign onto a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee seeking answers about the memo, aides said.

The memo contained minutes of a 2002 meeting in which British officials told Prime Minister Tony Blair they believed the Bush administration had already decided on military action against Iraq and ``fixed'' intelligence to fit the policy.

The Downing Street memo generated a firestorm in Britain last month and has gained increasing attention in the United States. President Bush and Blair have denied allegations that the memo proves intelligence was misrepresented.

``When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue,'' Kerry told the New Bedford Standard-Times about the memo on June 2.

``I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home,'' he added. ``And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that.''

But Kerry has not been vocal about the issue since then, raising it neither in a floor speech nor in the media. Kerry spokesman David Wade insisted the administration needs to answer questions about the memo.

``It's not too much for Americans to expect a thorough explanation of the Downing Street memo,'' he said. ``The administration and the Washington Republicans who control Congress scoff at the idea of congressional oversight, and insult Americans by brushing off even the most basic questions about pre-war intelligence and planning for the aftermath of war.''

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