El Vaquero News Briefs

Congress Furious Over Torture Photos

As photographs of American troops torturing Iraqi citizens flood the media, Congress is outraged that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did not inform them of the illegal acts committed by troops, witholding information from them since January.

Photographs show naked Iraqis with bags tied over their heads stacked into human pyramids from last fall. Many Iraqis have testified to have undergone severe acts of torture by American troops including sleep deprivation, beatings and sodomy.

Congress is angry at having been left in the dark about such events and demands that Rumsfeld explain himself in front of House and Senate leaders today. Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi is specifically asking for Rumsfeld’s resignation.

The Pentagon maintains that it informed the White House of the investigation and of the criminal acts by the troops. President Bush, however, contends that he should have been more informed of the acts and their severity.

“The president wasn’t satisfied when he saw those pictures on TV,” said a senior administration official on Wednesday. “And he made that clear to Secretary Rumsfeld. [The pictures] should have been brought to his attention, and he shouldn’t have to learn of them through the media.”
Congressmen are especially angry since Rumsfeld had a meeting with Congress the same day the photographs were broadcasted on TV, and still did not say anything.

A resignation by Rumsfeld would mean an admission of failure, said a senior House Republican aide, and would be an enormous blow to Republicans for the up-coming election in November.

Former GCC Student Dies in Car Crash

A former GCC student has died in an auto accident. Alex Silina died on April 23.

Silina, who was wrapping up her first year at UCLA after transferring from GCC, was an active member of both the Scholar’s Program and Alpha Gamma Sigma during her time at GCC.

“I was fortunate enough to have worked with Alex,” said AGS Advisor Hoover Zariani. “She was always coming up with ideas for participation and had the spirit of not just AGS, but GCC as a whole.”

The funeral infomation for Silina was not publicly released but AGS is considering a memorial for her, and a scholarship in her name, according to Zariani.

Zariani said, “It is comforting to know that Alex truly loved life to the fullest in her time here, however short it may have been cut.”

Los Angeles Marines Laid to Rest

Two Los Angeles Marines were laid to rest, in separate funerals, last month.

Eric Ayon of Arleta and Allan Walker of Lancaster both died while serving in Iraq.

Ayon was killed on April 9 by a land mine and Walker was killed March 30 as he passed through Ramadi. Interviews since the attacks have shown that the two men were heroes in the eyes of many.

“Eric Ayon, he taught us one of the greatest virtues: courage,” said the Rev. Joseph Shea at Ayon’s funeral at Glendale’s Holy Family Catholic Church, according to the Los Angeles Daily News article on April 18.

“And he paid the ultimate price for his courage and heroism.”
Ayon, who was a graduate of Hoover High School and 26-years old, was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park. An interment for Walker was held Apr. 19 at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

Lt. Col. Drew Crane, a friend of Walker’s said, “It’s because of his good work training the soldiers, that are out there now, that we owe him a debt of gratitude. Allan lived a great life and all of us should be proud.”