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Monday, December 31, 2007

Coalition forces capture Special Groups leader; disrupt criminal element network

Monday, December 31, 2007

Coalition forces captured a suspected Special Groups leader during operations to disrupt criminal element networks today in the Al-Husayniyah area.

The targeted individual was reportedly the Special Groups recruiter for the Karbala Province. He allegedly helped facilitate the training of numerous criminals in activities including explosively formed penetrators, improvised explosive devices, operational security and computer security training. He is assessed as an associate of several other senior-level criminal element leaders who were involved in attacks on Coalition forces.

When Coalition forces approached the target area, an unidentified man exited a building and displayed hostile intent. The unidentified man ignored verbal and visual warnings to cease movement. Responding in self defense, ground forces engaged the unidentified man, wounding him. The Coalition forces medical team administered on-site treatment to the individual. Ground forces continued on to the target area and captured the targeted individual without further incident. During the operation, Coalition forces also discovered a large amount of American currency.

“Coalition and Iraqi security forces are disrupting and dismantling the networks that threaten the ability to provide safety and security for the Iraqi people,” said Navy Capt. Vic Beck, MNF-I spokesperson. “The actions by criminal elements that continue to dishonor the ceasefire pledge of al-Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr will not be tolerated.”

From press release #A071231a by MNF-I - Press Desk, Baghdad, Iraq

DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

No. 1445-07 December 31, 2007
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries, 52, of Honolulu, Hawaii, died December 31st, 2007 as a result of injuries suffered December 24th in a vehicular accident in Kuwait. He was permanently assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Kuwait.
For further information related to this release, contact Navy Public Affairs at 011 (965) 389-6335 or DSN (318) 430-6335.

Photo for the Day - December 31, 2007

...
.
.
An Afghan commando assigned to 203rd Corps Commando Kandak guards a weapons cache found during an early-morning raid Dec. 27, 2007, in Khowst province. The commandos led a combined force of Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and Afghan National Border Police.
...
Read the story at link below...
Afghan-Led Combined Force Arrests Suspected Taliban Leaders
U.S. Army photo

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Iraq On Alert As Country Marks One-Year Anniversary Of Saddam Hussein's Execution

Iraq On Alert
As Country Marks One-Year Anniversary
Of Saddam Hussein's Execution

Sunday
, December 30, 2007


(NOTE: This post on top today – Scroll for updates and newer post below)
rferl.org brings us this story and it starts off like this... Supporters of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gathered at the late president's graveside, north of Baghdad, to mark the first anniversary of his execution, with security tight in those areas where he drew his most fervent support. Hussein was hanged on December 30, 2006 after being convicted of the killings of nearly 150 Shi'ites in a 1982 crackdown on the town of Dujail...
Read story in full at link below...
Iraq On Alert On Anniversary Of Hussein's Execution

KDKA.com has this take... Iraqi security forces were on high alert Sunday around Baghdad and in the Sunni heartland north of the capital as the country marked the one-year anniversary of Saddam Hussein's execution...
Read the rest at link below...

Iraq Marks Anniversary Of Saddam's Execution

On the first anniversary of the execution of Iraq's former president Saddam Hussein, many Iraqis look back on his rule as a reign of terror that eventually left the country in the thralls of foreign nations...
Business as usual on anniversary of Saddam's execution
Video Still by Iraq TV
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Note:
Following videos are rated Mature/Graphic*******************
* Saddam Executed *
VIDEOS have been taken down by request of Google ads
Video Rated MatureVideo Posted on YouTube by qpr33
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AubreyJ.........

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated - Only Son Succeeds Bhutto As New PPP Leader_12-30-07

Former Prime Minister
Of Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto
Assassinated

* Only Son Succeeds Bhutto
As New PPP Leader *

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Photo from Wikipedia
(NOTE: This post next to top today – Scroll for updates and newer post below)
**********************
* Here’s what some are reporting this Sunday *

* inthenews.co.uk...
Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's party (PPP) has chosen her teenage son Bilawal to succeed her as their leader... The 19-year-old said the PPP would follow his mother's wishes and participate in elections currently scheduled to take place on January 8th... He is currently studying at Oxford University and is expected to remain only a ceremonial leader while he completes his degree...
Son to succeed Bhutto
.
* Reuters.com...
Benazir Bhutto's party appointed her son and her husband to succeed the slain Pakistani opposition leader on Sunday
and the party said it would take part in a Jan 8 election as Bhutto would have wanted.
CHRONOLOGY-Bhutto's heirs appointed
.
* SKY NEWS...
University student Bilawal Zardari, the teenage son of Benazir Bhutto, has been catapulted into international politics by his mother's death...
Aged just 19, he has accepted joint leadership of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party with his father, Asif Zardari...
Who Is Bhutto's Son Bilawal Zardari?
.
* The Australian... (December 31st posting)
The party backing Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf last night suspended campaigning ahead of parliamentary elections due in nine days, and called for the poll to be delayed for up to four months... Tariq Azim, information secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), said the elections would lose credibility if they were held on January 8, with the party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in mourning and other parties threatening a boycott...
Musharraf party halts campaign
.
* ChinaView.cn...
NOTE: Lots of up-to-date info, photos, videos and more at the following link...
Pakistani Situation

******************************
* Only Son Vows To Continue With Bhutto's Fight *
About video: The only son of assassinated Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto has vowed to continue her struggle. Bilawal Zardari and his father will co-chair Ms Bhutto's party and said they will fight elections whenever they are held.
Info/Video posted on LiveLeak by
barnesy

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Osama bin Laden Releases New Audio Tape On Web

Osama bin Laden
Releases New Audio Tape On Web
Saturday, December 29, 2007


NationalPost.com brings us this report early this Saturday afternoon and it starts off like this... Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden accused the United States of plotting to take control of Iraq's oil and urged Iraqis to reject efforts to rebuild a U.S.-backed national unity government...
Bin Laden says U.S. seeks to exploit Iraq

* LauraMansfield.com...
A new message from Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, announced yesterday on jihadist websites, has been released on the internet... The message is 56 minutes long and is in the form of a video tape showing a still image of Bin Laden from an older video, with the audio message playing in the background...
New Bin Laden message released

* ALJAZEERA.net...
...In a new audio recording the al-Qaeda leader also threatened more attacks against Israel and to expand his group’s so-called holy war, or jihad, to Jerusalem and Palestine...
Bin Laden urges against US 'plots'
.
* HAARETZ.com...
Osama bin Laden made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel, vowing to expand al-Qaida's jihad, or holy war, to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine in a new audiotape...
Bin Laden vows Jihad in Jerusalem
Photo from CENTCOM

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated - The Day After

Former Prime Minister
Of Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto
Assassinated
* THE DAY AFTER *
Friday, December 28, 2007
Photo from Wikipedia
(NOTE: This post on top today – Scroll for updates and newer post below)************************* Here’s what some are reporting this Friday*
* FOXNews.com...
Hundreds of thousands of mourners thronged the mausoleum of Pakistan's most famous political dynasty in an outpouring of emotion for Benazir Bhutto. The government said Al Qaeda and the Taliban were responsible for her death...Hundreds of Thousands Attend Bhutto's Funeral; Al Qaeda Blamed for Death
Has photos, videos and more

* BBC NEWS...
The news of her death in Rawalpindi spread through the country like wild fire, sparking widespread riots... Her native Sindh province has been the hardest hit...
Bhutto's home province stunned

* CNSNews.com...The 22-member Arab League called Thursday's assassination of Benazir Bhutto a "heinous terrorist crime," and the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference condemned it as an "outrageous and brutal murder.”... Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit urged Pakistani politicians to unite against "the forces of extremism and terrorism that want to disturb stability in a way that would have an impact, not only on the future of Pakistan but on that of the entire region."...Arab World Condemns Bhutto Murder

* CNN.com...Angry protesters burned cars and shops into the night following the assassination Thursday of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto...Unrest Follows Assassination - Soldiers given shoot-to-kill order
* Hindu.com...
... The four others in her “bullet-proof, bomb-proof” car were unhurt, and had Benazir resisted the temptation to stand up through the sun-roof to wave to her cheering supporters, she may have been alive, the spokesman said. “There was no bullet that hit, no pellet hit her, no splinter hit her,” he said, adding that she was clinically dead by the time she arrived at the Rawalpindi General Hospital...
Government suspects more than one assailant
* TimesOnline.co.uk...
Lots of videos, photos info and more at the following link...Pakistan crisis

Videos taken down by me in respect to Google ads
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AubreyJ.........

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

No. 1442-07 December 28, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died December 26th in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during dismounted combat operations. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:
Capt. Rowdy J. Inman, 38, of Panorama Village, Texas.
Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif.

For more information media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1441-07 December 28, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten, 33, of St. Augustine, Fla., died December 25th in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
For more information media may contact the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office at (910) 432-0661.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Former Prime Minister
Of Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto
Assassinated
Thursday
, December 27, 2007
8:00am CST

Photo from Wikipedia(NOTE: This post on top today – Scroll for updates and newer post below)****************************
* Here’s what some in the MSM are reporting *
* adnkronos.com has this updated report and it starts off like this... A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto... “We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan...
Read the rest at link below...Pakistan: Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto's death
* NPR.org has this report that goes in part like this... "People are weeping ... people are quite angry and they are blaming the state for not protecting their leader"...
Read the rest at link below...The Scene at Bhutto's Home
************************ About photo: President George W. Bush speaks to the nation from the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, in response to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Read transcript at link below...President and Mrs. Bush Extend Condolences Regarding Assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Condemn Violence

********************
From the U.S. Department of State
Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
December 27, 2007
.
On behalf of the United States, I want to express our deepest sympathy on the tragic death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. We extend our sincere condolences to the Bhutto family and to the families of others who were killed and wounded in the attack. We condemn in the strongest terms possible this cowardly and murderous attack.

.
Ms. Bhutto’s passing is a great loss for Pakistan. I knew her as a woman of great courage and had been impressed by her dedication and commitment to democracy and to the future of Pakistan itself.
.
As President Bush said earlier today, the perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice.
.
The deadly results of this attack will no doubt test the will and patience of the people of Pakistan. We urge the Pakistani people, political leaders, and civil society to maintain calm and to work together to build a more moderate, peaceful, and democratic future.
2007/1166

***********************DAWN.com Latest UpdatesLink below updates round-the-clock as new info comes inBenazir Bhutto Assassinated
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Aftermath Of Bhutto Assassination
Videos and photos Marked as MATURE have been taken down by me in respect to Google Ads
.
.....................
AubreyJ.........

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Iraqi Army, U.S. Troops Deliver Backpacks to School Children




About photo: Iraqi soldiers pass out backpacks to children at the Kawaryzmi Primary School in Adil, Iraq, Dec. 13, 2007.
Read the story
HERE
Photo by Sgt. James P. Hunter, USA

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1437-07 December 26, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Peter C. Neesley, 28, of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., died December 25th in Baghdad, Iraq, of an undetermined cause in a non-combat environment. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.
For more information media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at (912) 767-2479.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1435-07 December 26, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Senior Airmen Nicholas D. Eischen, 24, of Sanger, Calif., died December 24th in Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 60th Medical Operations Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The circumstances surrounding the death are under investigation.
For more information related to this release, contact the Travis Air Force Base Public Affairs at 707-424-2011, or email media@travis.af.mil.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1433-07 December 26, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pfc. George J. Howell 24, of Salinas, Calif., died December 21st in Riyadh, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Infantry Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York.
For more information media may contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at (315) 772-8286.

Photo for the Day – December 26, 2007

An Afghan police officer poses with children in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, Dec. 17, 2007. The children were waiting to receive toys donated by Afghan national security forces, assisted by coalition forces.
U.S. Army photo

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Barney Cam VI: "Holiday in the National Parks"

Barney Cam VI:
"Holiday in the National Parks"
2007
(Note: This post on top until after Christmas – Scroll for newer post below)

About Photo: Barney finds a winter wonderland as he comes out to play on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, December 5, 2007
White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

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Watch Barney Cam VI and more HERE

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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!
AubreyJ.........

Christmas Holiday Message

Christmas Holiday Message

A Special Holiday Message from Fred Thompson
Posted on YouTube by fredthompson

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sis and I one Christmas Eve Night

About Photo: Grandparents House - Now owned by Aunt Martha Ree
Taken January 1, 2001 by Aunt Louise
*************************
Sis and I one Christmas Eve Night
by AubreyJ.........

December, 2002

(A True Story - From A Child’s Point Of View)

There was a cold wintery breeze blowing that Christmas Eve Night
Outside it was snowing but coming down light
My sis and I were excited as our bedtime grew near
Because it wouldn't be to long till Santa got here

Now big brother and sister rushed us to our beds
With good night kisses on each of our foreheads
To our separate rooms our parents came to say
Go to sleep tonight fast… Santa is surely on the way

Now sis and I had this night all planned out
For Santa we would see and that there was no doubt
We had just come from Mamaw's earlier in the night
With two Walkie-Talkies and a plan that was just right

Our plan went like this and awake we must stay
If Santa was to be seen and all those toys in his sleigh
Now if I should hear something outside in the night
Or if sis should hear something in the living room to her right
On our Walkie-Talkie we would let the other know
That Santa had come… Slip out of your room slow

Was Santa that Jolly
Was Rudolf's nose red and bright
Well one thing was certain
We should know it this night

As the night passed on by and everyone was in bed
Sis and I waited for that little man in red
Sis talked to me quietly and I did the same
What was Santa Claus bringing us... A doll, a train

Then all of a sudden a noise we could hear
Could it be Santa and all his reindeer
On our Walkie-Talkies the warning went out
I heard it on the roof, in the living room, no doubt

That's when my dog Happy jumped up in my bed
It hadn't been Santa but mom and dad instead
They came in our rooms and asleep we did play
But that didn't work and the Walkie-Talkies went away

Well that was it… Our plan hadn't worked
So we cried ourselves to sleep and after all of that work
We just knew that our plan would have surely been right
That we would have finally got to see Santa in the middle of the night

Early that Christmas morning Happy's barking and growling we could hear
Big brother and dad were hollering… No Happy, that's Santa in here
Little bells were ringing as Santa dragged Happy through the house
Happy had Santa by the pants leg and was thrashing and growling about

Into the living room sis and I ran so fast
Could it be we would finally see Santa Claus at last?
As we entered the room our eyes got big and wide
There was candy from the Christmas tree to the door going outside
And in the front doorway a red pants leg did lay
Big brother had caught Happy and said Santa got out of here OK

Poor dad just stood there looking so sad
Said boy I can tell you Santa sure did get mad
But don’t you kids worry Santa must love you a lot
For look at what he brought you and that dumb dog he did not

With all of this said, from outside we could hear
Bells just a ringing with holiday cheer
Big sister said she heard Santa… It was all so clear
He shouted, "Jay… Lock that dog up before I get back here next year!"

"Thanks for the cookies and milk…
MERRY CHRISTMAS"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Petraeus: Violence Down in Iraq; Al Qaeda Still a Threat

Petraeus: Violence Down in Iraq
Al Qaeda Still a Threat
Sunday
, December 23, 2007

Violence is down about 60 percent in Iraq since the June troop surge, and the top military commander in Iraq said today that he wants the trend to continue in 2008.

"Every trend we watch is down roughly about 60 percent: civilian deaths, numbers of attacks, and thankfully our casualties are down as well," said Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, said on "
Fox News Sunday." "As we go into the new year, we clearly want to build on the momentum that has been achieved by our forces working closely together with Iraqi forces."

Petraeus said Iraqi forces also had a surge this year, with 110,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police.
Petraeus appeared on the morning news program to discuss the release of this week's quarterly report, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq." With the success of the surges comes the question of reducing the number of U.S. forces in Iraq while maintaining the positive trends, he said.

"We want to reduce the strain on our ground forces as much as we can while recognizing that what has been achieved here remains tenuous and is still fragile in a number of areas," the general said. "We have laid out a plan that will take us through the end of July, and it will result in the reduction without replacement of about one-quarter of our combat forces."

Petraeus was cautious about committing to further troop reductions and reiterated that al Qaeda remains a significant threat. "Al Qaeda remains a very dangerous and very lethal organization, and it is one that will continually try to reconstitute and one that we must pursue tenaciously and relentlessly, and that is what we and our Iraqi partners are doing," Petraeus said.

When reporter Chris Matthews asked the general why success in Iraq is not newsworthy, noting a Media Research Center report that news stories from Iraq dropped in the evening nightly network newscasts from 178 news stories in September to 68 stories in November, the general said he sees that as a positive sign.

"In a sense, no news is good news, and we're not reluctant to see that," Petraeus said. "The only reluctance would be that America continues to remember its soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who are serving out here in this very important endeavor."

As the interview concluded, Petraeus praised the men and women he leads in Iraq. "Especially at this season, we all should be grateful for what these great young men and women are doing and for the sacrifices of their families who are enduring separations back home. It is a privilege to serve with America's new greatest generation here in Iraq."

From DoD’s American Forces Press Service - Written by Melinda L. Larson
File photo from MNF-I

More articles on topic:
*
Iraq Report Cites Security Progress, Need for Other Efforts to Keep Pace

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New York Times Reports: CIA May Have Withheld Info on Interrogation from 9/11 Panel

New York Times Reports:
CIA May Have Withheld Info on Interrogation from 9/11 Panel
Saturday, December 22, 2007
...
A published report says the CIA may have withheld information about its interrogation of suspected al-Qaida terrorists from the panel created to investigate the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States... The New York Times newspaper [ 9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes ] says former members of the panel reviewed classified documents after the CIA admitted earlier this month it had destroyed videotapes...
Read the rest at VOANews.com
...
And the left of left goes WILD...
AubreyJ.........
(Hope everyone is almost ready for the BIG DAY next week!)

Vanessa Bails Out Al-Qaeda Suspects

Vanessa Redgrave came to the rescue of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees this week, paying thousands of dollars to help them walk free from a British court. The legendary actress said it was a “profound honor” to be able to help the terror suspects.

read more | digg story

Pakistan looks for clues to ID Bomber who killed at least 50 people during Friday Holiday Prayer Service

USAToday.com brings us this report this early Saturday morning and it starts off like this... Police examined clothing, shoes and the severed legs of a man Saturday to try to identify a suicide bomber who killed at least 50 people during a holiday prayer service at a crowded mosque in northwestern Pakistan...
Read the rest HERE

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Eid Worshippers Killed
in Pakistan Mosque Blast
Friday, December 21, 2007
Sorry - This video removed out of courtesy of Google Ads
About Video: A suicide bombing in northwest Pakistan has killed at least 50 people... The blast, apparently targeting Pakistan's former interior minister, tore through a crowded mosque within the residential compound of Aftab Khan Sherpao, 40km from the frontier town Peshawar... Reports say the attacker positioned himself as crowds gathered to greet the ex-minister after prayers celebrating Eid.Video/Info posted on YouTube by AlJazeeraEnglish
........................
AubreyJ.........
.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Defense Secretary Robert Gates Offers Hope Of U.S. Troop Withdrawals From Iraq

About Photo: Pentagon Press Conference - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates conducts a press conference with Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon, Friday, December 21, 2007.
DoD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
************

Defense Secretary Robert Gates held out hope Friday that U.S. forces in Iraq could continue a steady decline next year if security keeps improving — leaving 100,000 by year end. But he did not rule out a small uptick in U.S. troops in Afghanistan...
Read this story in full at AP.Google.com

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1431-07 December 21, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
1st Lt. Jeremy E. Ray, 26, of Houston, Texas, died December 20th in Kanaan, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an enemy attacked using an explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.
For more information media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

MND-N Soldiers find atrocity site, torture complex and weapons caches during Operation Iron Reaper

MND-N Soldiers find atrocity site, torture complex and weapons caches during Operation Iron Reaper
Thursday, December 20, 2007

During Operation Iron Reaper, Multi-National Division – North Soldiers killed 24 extremists, detained 37 suspects, and discovered an atrocity site, torture complex and nine weapons caches north of Muqdadiyah Dec. 8-11.

Intelligence provided by Iraqi tips led U.S. troops to a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq safe haven and operating bases. Evidence of murder, torture, and intimidation against local villagers was found throughout the area.

During the operation, U.S. Forces and Iraqi Security Forces were involved in multiple engagements with groups of armed men. They discovered what appeared to be a detention facility. As they continued to clear the area, they found several bodies and eventually uncovered 26 human remains in multiple mass graves next to execution sites.

In the same area a torture complex was found, consisting of three detention facilities with one doubling as both a headquarters building and torture facility. The buildings contained chains on the walls and ceilings, a bed still hooked up to an electrical system, and several blood-stained items.

U.S. Forces also located and destroyed nine weapons caches anti-aircraft weapons, sniper rifles, more than 65 machine guns and pistols, 50 grenades, a surface-to-air missile launcher and platform, 98 personnel mines, 170 pipe bombs, 130 pounds of homemade explosives, 21 rocket propelled grenades, numerous mortar tubes and rounds.

Operation Iron Reaper has been ongoing over the last few weeks across northern Iraq.“Operation Iron Reaper has been successful. We will continue to pursue al-Qaeda across our area, and they will find no safe haven in the north of Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commanding general, Multi-National Division - North.
From press release #20071220-03 - Multi-National Corps–Iraq, Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory

Soldier Missing in Action from Korean War Identified

No. 1426-07 December 20, 2007
Soldier Missing in Action from Korean War Identified


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is:
Cpl. Robert S. Ferrell
, U.S. Army, of Dallas, Texas
His burial date is being set by his family.

Representatives from the Army met with Ferrell’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

On February 12, 1951, Ferrell was assigned to Battery A, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, then occupying a position about 70 miles east of Seoul, South Korea. The 503rd was providing artillery support for friendly units coming under heavy attack by Chinese Communist Forces. In danger of being overrun, the 503rd was forced to withdraw to the south. Records indicate that Ferrell was captured near Hoengsong, South Korea, during the fighting. He later died in captivity at the Suan Mining POW camp located about 40 miles southeast of Pyongyang, North Korea.

Between 1990 and 1994, the North Korean government repatriated what they claimed to be 208 sets of remains, including a 1991 turnover of several servicemen recovered near the Suan Mining POW camp. Ferrell’s remains, along with cold-weather clothing and uniform buttons worn by U.S. infantry, were included in the 1991 repatriation.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of Ferrell’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at
http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Photo for the Day - December 20, 2007

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq, speaks with a group of local sheiks at Patrol Base Kemple in Owesat, Iraq, December 18, 2007. Patrol Base Kemple is situated on the banks of the Euphrates River and is home to U.S. Army Soldiers of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour, U.S. Army

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

White House Demands Correction From New York Times Over News Report On CIA Interrogation Videos

The White House on Wednesday made a rare public demand for a formal correction from the New York Times for implying that it had misled the US public over the destruction of CIA interrogation videos...
Check this story out in full at AFP.Google.com

Extremists in Iraq 'Getting Desperate,' Army Colonel Says

Extremists in Iraq
'Getting Desperate'
Army Colonel Says
Wednesday
, December 19, 2007

Extremists are intimidating Iraqi citizens less and less, thanks to security improvements in the country, a unit commander there said yesterday.
Army Col. Tom James, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, is less than three weeks into his third tour in Iraq and said he sees marked improvements. "It's different here," he said in a conference call with online journalists and "bloggers."

"This is a population no longer being intimidated by the extremists," he said. "They are tired of being terrorized, and they are standing up and saying, 'That's it.' They want to provide information and secure their families."

James' unit is conducting Operation Marne Roundup, working to defeat al Qaeda extremists in the Euphrates River Valley, in northwestern Babel province. He said some 30 extremists have been terrorizing the population in the area but now have been forced out of their sanctuaries. "We are taking that area away now, and they are desperate," James explained.

James' team arrived in the region Dec. 1, and it already has uncovered 25 improvised explosive devices, 10 caches, and eight extremist fighting positions, and has stationed 80 to 100 "concerned local citizens" in Neighborhood Watch-type organizations to hold the area while the Iraqi army is put in place. Efforts now are aimed at securing a patrol base in Khidr.

James said he relies heavily on these concerned local citizens. Twenty to 30 percent of the concerned-citizen volunteers become Iraqi police if they can pass reading, writing, and other tests. In fact, 140 such former volunteers are graduating from an Iraqi police training course at the end of the month, he said.

The colonel noted specific improvements since his last tour. "Iraqi security forces have grown, with the Iraqi army and police in Babel conducting intelligence-based operations that have improved significantly."

In addition, James noted continued progress toward non-sectarianism. "Shiia policemen are going after Shiia extremists and are not influenced by governmental or party organizations."

He also described his unit's specific mission in its area of operations. "Our mission is to secure the population, block accelerants, and defeat sectarian violence, allowing the security situation to grow and the population to grow more secure."

A big part of establishing this security, James explained, is instilling continued confidence in the local population. "Our operational concept is to attack and clear areas where extremists have been and establish a combined control base -- coalition force, Iraqi army and Iraqi police -- to show the population that not only have we cleared your area, but we are here to stay, and we are here to help protect you."

As a result, James noted, local citizens are noticing this commitment and are eager to cooperate. When citizens are comfortable and secure, "actionable intelligence starts to flow," he said. "This results in economics and government that grows from the lowest level, which we call building local capacity."

From DoD’s American Forces Press Service - Written by Jamie Findlater
(Findlater works for the New Media branch of American Forces Information Service)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Air Force Officer Missing In Action From Vietnam War Is Identified

No. 1414-07 December 18, 2007
Air Force Officer Missing In Action From Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is:
Maj. Perry H. Jefferson, U.S. Air Force, of Denver, Colo.
He will be buried April 3, 2008 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On April 3, 1969, Jefferson was an aerial observer on board an O-1G Bird Dog aircraft on a visual reconnaissance mission over a mountainous region in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam. The pilot of the aircraft, then U.S. Army 1st Lt. Arthur G. Ecklund, radioed Phan Rang airbase to report his location, but contact was lost soon after. An extensive, three-day search and rescue effort began, but no evidence of a crash was found. Hostile threats in the area precluded further search efforts.

In 1984, a former member of the Vietnamese Air Force turned over to a U.S. official human remains that he said represented one of two U.S. pilots whose aircraft was shot down.

In 1994 a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed two Vietnamese citizens regarding the incident. The witnesses said the aircraft crashed on a mountainside, the pilots died and were buried at the site. They said two other men were sent to the site a few days later to bury the pilots. The team excavated the crash site described by the witnesses and found aircraft wreckage. No human remains were found.

In 2000, the remains turned over in 1984 were identified as Ecklund's.

In 2001, a Vietnamese national living in California turned over to U.S. officials human remains that he said were recovered at a site where two U.S. pilots crashed. These remains were identified in 2007 as Jefferson's.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in identifying Jefferson's remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Monday, December 17, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1411-07 December 17, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Austin D. Pratt, 22, of Cadet, Mo., died December 15th in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), located at Fort Polk, La. The incident is under investigation.
For further information media may contact the Fort Polk public affairs office at (337) 531-4630.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

President Pervez Musharraf Lifts Pakistan's State of Emergency

President Pervez Musharraf
Lifts six-week-old
Pakistan's State of Emergency
Saturday, December, 15, 2007
...
President Pervez Musharraf lifted Pakistan's six-week-old state of emergency and restored the constitution Saturday, easing a crackdown that has enraged opponents and worried Western supporters... Information Minister Nisar Memon said Musharraf had signed the order lifting the emergency. He called it a "historic day"...
Read this report in full at
FOX.news.com
.
.
Musharraf Biography Portrait
from PresidentOfPakistan.gov website

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1411-07 December 15, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pvt. Daren A. Smith, 19, of Helena, Mont., died December 13th, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Polk, La. The incident is under investigation.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Polk public affairs office at (337) 531-1344; after hours at (337) 208-2526.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1410-07 December 15, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan A. Lowery, 38, of Houlton, Maine, died December 14th, in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours at (254) 291-2591.

Friday, December 14, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

No. 1409-07 December 14, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died in Afghanistan from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy.

Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Michael J. Gabel, 30
, of Crowley, La., who died December 12th at Forward Operating Base Curry, Afghanistan
Cpl. Joshua C. Blaney, 25, of Matthews, N.C., who died December 12th at Forward Operating Base Curry, Afghanistan.
For further information related to this release, contact the Southern Europen Task Force public affairs office at 011-39-0444-71-7011 or 011-39-0444-71-8020.

Taking a Moment to Honor Our Fallen Heroes

Some of our bravest gave their all these last few days...
Take a moment to read their names, (in the posts below/above this one,) and in your own way thank them for all they have done and were willing to do for you -- me and this great country of ours… May God bless each and every one of these fallen Heroes, their families, friends, loved ones and their comrades in arms who were at their side...

AubreyJ.........

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1408-07 December 14, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey, 24, of Troup, Texas, died December 13th in Tunnis, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Stewart public affairs office at (912) 767-2479.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1407-07 December 14, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Brynn J. Naylor, 21, of Roswell, N.M., died December 13th in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Carson public affairs office at (719) 526-4143; after hours (719) 526-5500.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Iranian rockets found, turned over to Coalition Forces

Iranian Rockets Found
Turned over to Coalition Forces
Multi-National Division - Center
Thursday,
December 13, 2007


A cache of Iranian-manufactured rockets was turned over to Coalition Forces based at FOB Delta Dec. 4.

Iraqi Civil Defense Corps personnel delivered 14 107 mm Iranian rockets and fuses to Kazakhstani Soldiers, said 1st Lt. Almaz Mukashev, the Kazakhstani liaison officer. The rockets were manufactured in 2006.

ICDC personnel have turned over munitions to Coalition Forces before, but this was the first time Iranian weapons were turned over from the force to Coalition Forces, said Col. Peter Baker, the 214th Fires Brigade commander.

The ICDC specializes in explosive ordnance disposal. Its head is Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abdul Rasul.

“This is another indication of the cooperation of Iraqi officials who in all earnestness want to have a better society,” Baker said. “They know these rockets are here illegally and that they are here to maim and kill Iraqi and Coalition Security Forces and innocent civilians.”

Baker said this is a sign that Iraqis are taking ownership of their area to bring about better security.

“Iraqis have to be part of the security and reconstruction effort,” Baker said. “The more stable and secure the area is, the more projects we will be able to undertake and the more capacity building we will be able to accomplish, whether it is in health, education or fuel, all of which are benefiting the Iraqis.”

The Kazakhstani unit gave the munitions to Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three Battalion for analysis.

The Kazakhstani battalion provides EOD support to FOB Delta.


From press release #20071213-12 - Multi-National Corps-Iraq - Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory

DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

No. 1404-07 December 13, 2007
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Chief Petty Officer Mark T. Carter, 27, of Fallbrook, Calif., died December 11th, as a result of enemy action while conducting combat operations in Iraq. He was permanently assigned as an East Coast-based Navy SEAL.
For further information related to this release, contact Naval Special Warfare Group Two public affairs at (757) 462-2282.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1403-07 December 13, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Gregory L. Elam, 39, of Columbus, Ga., died December 11th in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a result of a non-combat related illness. He was assigned to the 54th Quartermaster Company, 49th Quartermaster Group, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), located at Fort Lee, Va. This death is under investigation.
For more information media should contact the Fort Lee public affairs office at (804) 734-7451.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1400-07 December 12, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cpl. Tanner J. O'Leary, 23
, of Eagle Butte, S.D., died December 9th in Musa Qal'eh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
For more information media may contact the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office at (910) 432-0661.

Airmen Missing in Action from Korean War are Identified

No. 1396-07 December 12, 2007
Airmen Missing in Action from Korean War are Identified


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are:
Col. Douglas H. Hatfield, of Shenandoah, Va
Capt. Richard H. Simpson, of Fairhaven, Mich
Both were U.S. Air Force. Funeral dates have not been set by the families.

On April 12, 1951, Hatfield and Simpson were two of eleven crewmembers on a B-29 Superfortress that left Kadena Air Base, Japan, to bomb targets in the area of Sinuiju, North Korea. Enemy MiG-15 fighters attacked the B-29, but before it crashed, three crewmembers were able to bail out. They were captured and two of them were later released in 1954 to U.S. military control during Operation "Big Switch." The third crewmember died in captivity. He and the eight remaining crewmembers were not recovered.

In 1993, the North Korean government turned over to the United Nations Command 31 boxes containing the remains of U.S. servicemen listed as unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Four sets of remains from this group were subsequently identified as crewmembers from the
B-29.

In 2000, a joint U.S./Democratic People's Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated an infantry fighting position in Kujang County where they recovered remains which included those of Hatfield and Simpson.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains recovered in 2000.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1393-07 December 11, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Johnathan A. Lahmann, 21, of Richmond, Ind., died December 10th in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Bayji, Iraq, when a improvised explosive device struck his vehicle. He was assigned to the 59th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.
For more information media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Monday, December 10, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1390-07 December 10, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. Randy W. Pickering, 31, of Bovey, Minn., died December 9th in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the Regimental Support Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the U.S. Army, Europe, public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-5816/8694.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Space Shuttle Launch and Mission Update

Space Shuttle Launch
And Mission Update
Friday, December 07, 2007
.
Launch of Atlantis
will now take place no earlier than
Saturday, December 8th, at 3:43pm EST
If Then!

.
Friday, December 7, 2007 - 8:45am EST
The launch of NASA's space shuttle Atlantis will take place no earlier than Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3:43 p.m. EST. Thursday's scheduled liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., was postponed because of a problem with a fuel cutoff sensor system inside the shuttle's external fuel tank.
.
The fuel cutoff sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low. Launch Commit Criteria require that three of the four sensor systems function properly before liftoff.
.
Space Shuttle Program managers will hold a Mission Management Team meeting Friday at 2 p.m. to discuss the issue and determine the steps necessary to start a new launch countdown. A news conference will be held at about 5 p.m. after the meeting's conclusion.
.
On Thursday morning, two of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank failed a routine prelaunch check. Following the launch postponement, the tank's liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen were drained. While the tank was being emptied, engineers monitored and collected data on the liquid hydrogen sensors that failed. During that process, another sensor gave a false reading, indicating that the tank was "wet," when it was dry. All ECO sensors are now indicating dry as they should be.
.
During Atlantis' 11-day mission to the International Space Station, the shuttle and station crews will work with ground teams to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory. The new lab will expand the station's scientific research capabilities.


Info from NASA.gov website
.
About Photo: Atlantis stands on Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Photo credit: NASA, George Shelton, 12-06-07
******************************
Saturday UPDATE:
December 8th - 6:15pm EST
Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch Sunday, December 9th, at 3:21 p.m. EST, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle program managers made the liftoff decision after three days of reviewing data on a problem with fuel sensors.

Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday was delayed after two of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors in the shuttle's external fuel tank gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's three main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.

During a Mission Management Team meeting Saturday, NASA leaders decided to fuel the tank Sunday and monitor the status of the sensor system. If all four ECO sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank perform as expected, the countdown will proceed toward the planned liftoff. NASA Television coverage of the tank loading will start Sunday at 6 a.m., with launch coverage beginning at 10 a.m.

During Atlantis' 11-day mission to the International Space Station, the astronauts will install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will expand the station's scientific research capabilities. Crew members for the STS-122 mission are Commander Steve Frick, Pilot Alan Poindexter, mission specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love and European Space Agency astronauts Hans Schlegel from Germany and Leopold Eyharts from France.

Info from NASA.gov website
.
************************************
Sunday UPDATE:
December 9th - 7:30a EST
Today's launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis has been officially scrubbed.
[Sorry... but at this time... I am not sure when the next launch date/time is scheduled – Will update when I find out]

Of the four engine cutoff sensors, ECO sensor number three gave false readings. NASA's current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.

Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday was delayed after two of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors in the shuttle's external fuel tank gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel.
.
UPDATE: 11:30am EST
Next targeted launch will be no earlier than January 2nd.
Liftoff date depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system...
Info from NASA.gov website
.
Read Latest News and Updates +
Countdown/Mission Elapsed Time Clock
.
**********************************
I’ll be posting on the Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch
and its Mission over the next so many days...
So check back!!!
AubreyJ.........