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Air Force dismissing charges against Harry Schmidt (A victory for a real "Top Gun")
AP ^

Posted on 06/24/2004 8:12:19 PM PDT by Pukin Dog

The Air Force has decided not to court-martial a U.S. fighter pilot who mistakenly dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan in 2002. Maj. Harry Schmidt, 37, will face nonjudicial punishment and four dereliction-of-duty charges against him will be dismissed in court, the Air Force said Thursday. He could face punishment including 30 days confinement or loss of one month's pay, about $5,600, Air Force spokeswoman Col. Alvina Mitchell said.

Schmidt, a 1983 graduate of Vianney High School in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Mo., originally was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault and faced up to 64 years in prison. Military officials recommended against a court-martial on those charges last June, saying Schmidt could face nonjudicial punishment instead. Schmidt turned down the offer, saying he wanted to clear his name in a court-martial instead. He was ordered to be tried on the lesser charge of dereliction of duty. But the agreement announced Thursday meant the dereliction charges will be pursued in a lesser, nonjudicial forum, beginning July 1. Schmidt's lawyer, Charles W. Gittins, said the Air Force has agreed to allow him to remain employed with the Illinois Air National Guard, but not as a pilot. Gittins said his client did not want to fly for the Air Force anymore because he feels he has been "second guessed in a combat situation by people sitting back in the air-conditioned comfort of the Pentagon."

Schmidt was charged for dropping the bomb from his fighter jet on April 17, 2002, near Kandahar, killing four and wounding eight Canadian soldiers who were conducting live-fire exercises. The victims were the first Canadians to die in combat since the Korean War. Schmidt later said he released the bomb because he mistook the Canadians' gunfire for an attack from Taliban soldiers. A military investigation found that Schmidt should have flown out of the area instead. The case against Schmidt and his mission commander, Maj. William Umbach, has been closely watched in Canada, where many were outraged by the bombing and the two days it took President Bush to publicly apologize.

Manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against Umbach were dismissed and he was allowed to retire, as he had requested. Agatha Dyer, mother of Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, 25, who was killed in the bombing, said word of the decision made her "very sad." "He should get some penalty because he was at fault. He didn't obey orders. My heart is broken," Dyer said from her home in Montreal. Schmidt had transferred to the National Guard in 2000 after a decorated career as a Navy pilot and an instructor at the Navy's "Top Gun" fighter pilot school.

(Excerpt) Read more at stltoday.com ...


TOPICS: Canada; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: friendlyfire; harryschmidt; justice; topgun; usaf
Surprised not to see this already posted.
1 posted on 06/24/2004 8:12:21 PM PDT by Pukin Dog
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To: Pukin Dog
"The case against Schmidt and his mission commander, Maj. William Umbach, has been closely watched in Canada, where many were outraged by the bombing"

No amount of punishment would have been enough for Canadians. They are peaceniks, by and large. Though I am from New Orleans, my wife is from Ontario. Her entire family, save here, are mercilessly anti-american. Heaven help them if their liberal party wins AGAIN.

2 posted on 06/24/2004 8:22:21 PM PDT by Windsong (FighterPilot)
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To: Pukin Dog

As I understand it (which may be not at all), he was facing NJP a year ago, and now is facing it again. Where is the victory?

Don't much care what Canadians think...


3 posted on 06/24/2004 8:33:20 PM PDT by Mr Rogers
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To: Mr Rogers
Smitty can now fly for the airlines and make a living at his profession. Had he faced charges, that would not be the case.
4 posted on 06/24/2004 8:36:19 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Windsong

Of course, us non peacenik Americans couldn't care less if a foreign Air Force accidentally killed four of our soldiers.


5 posted on 06/24/2004 8:38:55 PM PDT by Mr. Burns
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To: Pukin Dog

Excellent!

The loss of life was tragic. War is tragic. The blame, if blame must be assigned, belongs to the brutal fascists who forced us into the inescapable position of adopting warfare as the only realistic option for survival as a part of a civilized, world wide community of nations.

May God hold them responsible for forcing peaceful, forward looking people to once again adopt the brutish posture of war.


6 posted on 06/24/2004 8:51:32 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: Mr. Burns
Bad things happen in war, buddy. You don't go destroying one of our greatest warriors over something like this. You also don't go shooting tracers in a war-zone without reporting your position. Some highly trained killer might just drop a bomb on your head.
7 posted on 06/24/2004 8:54:30 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog

The position had been forwarded to the regional headquarters...but no one thought to tell the AWACS in charge. This wasn't a misplaced shot in a combat zone - It was an over eager jet jockey hell bent on getting his kills in before he went home.


8 posted on 06/24/2004 9:09:12 PM PDT by Mr. Burns
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To: Mr. Burns
It was an over eager jet jockey hell bent on getting his kills in before he went home.

Jet jockey, huh? Smitty is a better man than you will ever be. The man is a hero, a warrior, and as a Naval Aviator, one of the best men to strap on a fighter jet who ever lived. Be glad and grateful he risked his life for your right to call him stupid names.

9 posted on 06/24/2004 9:15:11 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
Tell that to the four brave warriors he killed because he couldn't wait to pull the trigger. The man was flying at nearly 20 000 ft, and decided that a few tracers (supposedly from an enemy without any radar guided weapons) were a serious threat to a jet doing 1000 miles an hour in the dark. He then dropped 5000 feet and circled around to take it out, without authorisation from the control planes.

Right after dropping the bomb, his wingmate wondered over the radio "Hope we did the right thing".

10 posted on 06/24/2004 9:25:46 PM PDT by Mr. Burns
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To: Pukin Dog
I don't know about this particular story, but the "story" was posted this afternoon.
11 posted on 06/24/2004 9:27:46 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Mr. Burns
Tell that to the four brave warriors he killed because he couldn't wait to pull the trigger.

Cant do that. They are hamburger. Smitty don't miss. Have a good evening.

12 posted on 06/24/2004 9:27:56 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
If your "buddy" Schmitty is as callous as you they should have fried his ass.

LBT

-=-=-
13 posted on 06/24/2004 10:06:18 PM PDT by LiberalBassTurds (Al Qaeda needs to know we are fluent in the "dialogue of bullets.")
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To: Pukin Dog; Mr. Burns; LiberalBassTurds
Cant do that. They are hamburger. Smitty don't miss. Have a good evening.

Question. Would you feel the same if a Canadian fighter-bomber pilot had accidentally killed 4 US soldiers in the same circumstances ?
14 posted on 06/25/2004 5:47:22 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Atlantic Friend

Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire. You want the guys who did it charged with manslaughter?


15 posted on 06/25/2004 5:51:51 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7

Tillman...the football star ? He was killed by friendly fire ?


16 posted on 06/25/2004 5:54:18 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Pukin Dog

He may fly for the airlines, but with the pay cuts and loss of benefits and retirement it isn't much of a living. He should do something else with the rest of his life.


17 posted on 06/25/2004 5:55:04 AM PDT by jsraggmann
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To: Atlantic Friend
The truth is that Canadian pilots get so little training time, they would be lucky to hit the side of a barn under duress. It is time for Canada to get over this. Harry Schmidt is a good man.
18 posted on 06/25/2004 6:28:10 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: LiberalBassTurds
If your "buddy" Schmitty is as callous as you they should have fried his ass.

Tough nuts, buddy. I have no patience for armchair warriors who no nothing of the risks involved in flying fighter aircraft. More men die training to protect pacifist Canadian asses, so when one of ours gets a break, especially one with Smitty's record. I feel no pain.

19 posted on 06/25/2004 6:31:06 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Atlantic Friend

Tillman was killed by friendly fire

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-tillman-investigation&prov=ap&type=lgns


20 posted on 06/25/2004 6:34:47 AM PDT by boxerblues
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To: Pukin Dog
You also don't go shooting tracers in a war-zone without reporting your position.

The Canadian troops were in a designated weapons training area adjoining, or in close proximity, to Kandahar. They were on an approved live fire exercise ... this "hot dog" pilot with an itchy trigger finger wasn't thinking clearly. Why in the hell would the Taliban fire tracer rounds (at night) at high flying aircraft? It would bring about instant annihilation, either from artillery at Kandahar or from the aircraft they were shooting at ... this "greatest warrior" of yours has crap for brains.

21 posted on 06/25/2004 6:46:27 AM PDT by BluH2o (The revisionist ...)
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To: boxerblues; Tribune7; Mr. Burns

Lord, what a f'ing way to die.

Well, commanding officers, NCO and troopers are responsible of their decisions in a battlefield. While there are many circumstances when nobody can be blamed for such unfortunate tragedies, there are some when a clear and grave mistake has been made.

Fellow Freeper Mr. Burns says that the Canadian unit had signaled its position, but nobody told the controlling AWACS Schmidt was relying on during his patrol mission. If that's what happened, then IMHO is is a grave mistake we can't discard by saying that "sh*t happens and it's probably the Canadians' fault anyway".

If a soldier must never be judged because he's putting his life at risk for others, then there should not be any court-martial nor any need for military justice. But if that is what happened (I mean, the AWACS not being told about the Canadian unit), Schmidt should not be the one taking the fall, because he seems to have acted rationally according to the parameters he was given.

Weren't Canadian troops bombed by a F-18 during Gulf War 1 ? I do remember there were Marine light assault vehicles bombed because they resembled Iraqi vehicles, but I do seem to recall there was a similar incident with Canadian troops.


22 posted on 06/25/2004 6:53:57 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Pukin Dog
Would the US go over it if Schmidt was Canadian and the ground troops US soldiers ? Tell me "yes" and that'll satisfy me.

Such stories always bring up bad blood between allies. If Mr. Burns is right about the AWACS plane not being told about the Canadians' position, then it's downright unfair that Schmidt, who relied on the info given to him by the AWACS crew, should take the fall for it.
23 posted on 06/25/2004 6:57:59 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Atlantic Friend
Would the US go over it if Schmidt was Canadian and the ground troops US soldiers ?

I suppose you mean 'get' over it?

The premise is not possible. First, because Canadian pilots suck so much they would almost certainly miss. Second, Canada is not one of our allies anymore from a tactical sense. We could not count of them for any form of defense mission. Their military is a complete waste of space. Being a civilian now, I can say what I could not when I was still flying. The Canadian military is utterly incompetent.

24 posted on 06/25/2004 7:03:34 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: BluH2o
Hotdog pilots usually don't make it through flight school. They don't make it to the fleet, they don't make it to Top Gun, they don't become Top Gun instructors, they don't fly for the Guard. Smitty has nothing to prove to anyone. Anyone with Navy gold wings is a complete professional in the air, no exceptions. Those who might slip through the cracks usually kill themselves before they have a chance to kill anyone else. Accidents occur. Get over it. When you have long forgotten it, Smitty will still remember how he felt when he found out what he had done. If he can get over it, I'm sure you can too.
25 posted on 06/25/2004 7:09:26 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog

Oh, you were a pilot ? What birds did you fly ?


26 posted on 06/25/2004 7:13:46 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Pukin Dog
I've grown up around big mouth squid @ssholes like you all my life. You're not worth the keystroke. You're all cliches, you're full of sh*t, just a poser.

LBT

-=-=-
27 posted on 06/25/2004 7:17:44 AM PDT by LiberalBassTurds (Al Qaeda needs to know we are fluent in the "dialogue of bullets.")
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To: Atlantic Friend
Sorry, most Freepers knew that. "Pukin Dog" is not just a freeper handle. Try Google, as I have to go now.
28 posted on 06/25/2004 7:17:47 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: LiberalBassTurds
Uh huh. Just a poser indeed. LOL.
29 posted on 06/25/2004 7:18:22 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
Accidents occur. Get over it. When you have long forgotten it, Smitty will still remember how he felt when he found out what he had done. If he can get over it, I'm sure you can too.

Actually, early on, I was with the pilot ... until the story began to unfold as more details emerged. This was a major F***Up on this pilots part; what little remorse he has shown had more to do with the fact he now has a "blemish" on his record. Anyone familiar with the "jet jock" ego syndrome knows how they feel about screwing something up. Allen Shepard sitting atop a rocket on his first space flight, just seconds before launch, muttered the prayer "Please Lord don't let me f*** this up".

30 posted on 06/25/2004 7:30:03 AM PDT by BluH2o (The revisionist ...)
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To: Atlantic Friend
Tillman...the football star ? He was killed by friendly fire

Looks like it.

31 posted on 06/25/2004 8:21:00 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Atlantic Friend
Fellow Freeper Mr. Burns says that the Canadian unit had signaled its position, but nobody told the controlling AWACS Schmidt was relying on during his patrol mission. If that's what happened, then IMHO is is a grave mistake we can't discard by saying that "sh*t happens and it's probably the Canadians' fault anyway"

I don't think anybody here really believes that.

I think, however, there is some resentment that Schmidt was facing criminal charges -- and a possible 64 years in jail -- for the perceived purpose of diplomatic expediency.

32 posted on 06/25/2004 8:26:07 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Atlantic Friend
Would the US go over it if Schmidt was Canadian and the ground troops US soldiers ? Tell me "yes" and that'll satisfy me.

I think it's pretty safe to say we'd be satisfied with an apology and an explanation. I'd be shocked if U.S. troops had never been killed by allied friendly fire. I can't recall us ever making an issue of it.

33 posted on 06/25/2004 8:30:06 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7

I can understand it, particularly if Schmidt was acting in good faith but on bad intel...

The way Mr Burns explains it, Schmidt was not given any info about a possible Allied unit there by its AWACS controller.

SO if there is a blame to lay on someone, I guess it should be either on the AWACS team (if they had knowledge of the Canadian unit being there), on the guys who fed the AWACS team info (if they failed to signal the AWACS about the Canadian unit), or on the Canadians themselves (if they failed to signal their presence there).

Whatever the cause of the tragedy, this kind of thing just conjure bad blood between the two armies.


34 posted on 06/25/2004 8:33:45 AM PDT by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Atlantic Friend

Thanks for posting. French conservatives must be encouraged :-)


35 posted on 06/25/2004 8:46:44 AM PDT by Tribune7
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: ruutu
American soldiers are in the military because they're either too stupid to get a real job, their marks aren't good enough to get accepted to a decent school, or because they grew up in the south and they wanna go kill a commy for mommy.

This doesn't even deserve an answer, but I'll give you one anyway. Bug off, troll.

37 posted on 07/06/2004 3:39:12 PM PDT by SandyInSeattle (Monthly Donors NEVER need tons click "co-ordinating")
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To: ruutu

Get lost, puke!


38 posted on 07/06/2004 3:48:00 PM PDT by dennisw (http://www.prophetofdoom.net/)
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To: ruutu
If a Canadian pilot, or ANY non-American pilot killed 4 yankee soldiers, CNN would flash a headline about incompetant allies in 10 seconds.

LOL. There have been a lot of people killing American troops with intent and all CNN has done offer the killers their sympathy.

The simple fact is, Schmidt f*cked up.

And you want him charged with murder.

I assure you the military personnel are not the idiots you ignorant morons think they are.

I'm sure those who make up Canada's military are the best Canada has to offer.

America is NOT the center of the world.

It takes a smart Canadian to understand that they are not America

Most of the world hates America.

I guess that's why most of them are trying to move in with us. How many Americans emigrate to your bumpy, burger-shaped land compared to the Canadians who want to come down here with us? Hey, did you know Wayne Gretzky is a U.S. citizen? Pretty cool, eh.

You need to get rid of that idiot President . .

Oh, I think we'll keep him.

. No terrorists will attack you if you stop screwing with their countries.

No terrorists will attack you guys because most of them don't even know you exist.

Your Canadian Friend Ruutu.

With friends like you who needs Iraqis.

39 posted on 07/06/2004 4:13:28 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: ruutu

'British and Canadian troops join the military after they already have a university degree or technical diploma / trade. That's why you never hear of Canadian soldiers degrading prisoners of war by making them pose naked, because they aren't savage retards who joined to "shoot stuff"'

Check your history. Somalia ring a bell? All Naval aviators/AF aviators are college grads.


40 posted on 07/06/2004 4:14:12 PM PDT by xone
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To: dennisw

Oh, let him stay. If we kick him out, he'll be stuck with having to hang with Canadian liberals. That's a fate to cruel to comprehend.


41 posted on 07/06/2004 4:16:02 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7

bump to read later


42 posted on 07/06/2004 4:22:35 PM PDT by meema
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To: Tribune7

bump to read later


43 posted on 07/06/2004 4:22:36 PM PDT by meema
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: Windsong
After looking at a lot of media reports, many of them slanted one way or the other and non of which told the whole story, these are the facts I've been able to dig out;
The Canadians -
Asked for and received permission to hold a highly unusual night live-fire exercise (in a combat area!),
Didn't have any IFF equipment, didn't ask for any and weren't offered any by U.S. forces,
Used red flares as identification (as per Canadian practice) instead of red beacons (as per U.S. practice) and didn't bother inquire of U.S. forces if this would be acceptable,
Had a problem with ricochets (buried in Candian General Baril's official report) - they were using rocket propelled grenades,
Had Canadian forces personal posted in the Kandahar Control Tower with a direct line to the exercise area but failed to cease fire for overflying aircraft in a timely manner at least once before during the exercise,
The Americans -
The Army gave permission for the exercise but didn't pass on the information to the Air Force,
The Air Force, in the preflight briefing given to Majors Umbach and Schmidt, included the possibility of a large force of Taliban near Kandahar Airport (a vital military target),
No mention of the Canadian exercise was made in the briefing,
Routed their flight over Tarnak Farms (never done during live-fire exercises in order to avoid exactly what happened),
The Pilots -
After completing their mission over Kabul were descending through 20,000 ft. ASL, had stowed their night vision equipment and turned on their navigation lights in preparation for their pending refueling,
While over Tarnak Farms (Kandahar Airport is 3300 ft. ASL and Tarnak Farms is just a couple of miles away) the Canadians resumed firing which caught the pilots completely by surprise,
After recovering from their surprise Majors Umbach and Schmidt immediately called their AWACS controllers and asked who was firing while turning off their nav lights and putting their night vision gear back on,
After calling on the Guard frequency, calling AWACS again (who was frantically trying to determine who was firing at Tarnak Farms) Manor Schmidt asked for permission to make a strafing run with his 20MM cannon to suppress the ground fire (a standard procedure),
He was denied permission and did not make the strafing run,
Major Umbach called Major Schmidt and told him to they might be friendlies,
Several minutes after the pilots' frantic initial calls AWACS still didn't know who was on the ground firing,
Major Umbach had descended and was attempting to identify the forces on the ground,
Major Schmidt observed several persons on the ground with what appeared to be artillery,
Major Umbach reported his infrared sensors showing "heat plooms" up to 10,000 ft (ASL),
[note: small arms fire is lethal up to about 2 statute miles - 10,500 ft.]
Major Umbach then reported that the ground fire was "leading him" (a standard tactic when attempting to shoot down an aircraft),
It was then that Major Schmidt called AWACS and reported he was "rolling in in self defense",
AWACS replied "roger, rolling in in self defense",
Major Schmidt reported that he had released his bomb,
AWACS replied with permission to do so,
Shortly before the bomb hit AWACS called "friendlies Kandahar - hold fire" or words to that effect,
It was too late.

Based on these facts and the qualifications of Majors Umbach and Schmidt I have to believe that what happened was a tragic accident caused by incompetence at a much higher level than the rank of Major. Major Schmidt's primary responsibility was to protect his flight leader and when Major Umbach reported that he was "being led" by the ground fire Major Schmidt acted exactly as he was supposed to. Had he not done so and Major Umbach had been shot down Major Schmidt would have been guilty of much worse.

By the way, my wife and I are from Colorado but now live in Ontario (and are dual citizens). Many Canadians feel the same way I do - don't let the biased Canadian media fool you. I also earned my PPL here. Canadian licenses are among the most respected in the world and the flight training is second to none. Finally, Heaven didn't help at all - the Liberals won again but at least won't have a majority government.
46 posted on 07/16/2004 9:29:06 PM PDT by Don QN
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To: Don QN

thank you for that wonderful moment of sober factual comment. You are a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the nameless arrogant users of this space.

I have one question: Did Major harry schmidt ever apologize to anyone for the results of his hasty actions?


47 posted on 04/09/2006 7:10:15 PM PDT by rudyman (Did Major harry schmidt ever apologize for the result of his hurried actions?)
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