"RAHM SAYS I'VE HAD MY BLUE LAGOON," SOBBED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O TO THESE REPORTERS AS HE HEADED BACK TO THE WHITE HOUSE.
WHEN WE ASKED BARRY O WHAT THE HELL HE WAS TALKING ABOUT, HE REPLIED, STILL SOBBING, "AMERICA . .. AMERICA LOVED BROOKE SHIELD AFTER BLUE LAGOON. THEY -- THEY COULDN'T GET ENOUGH OF HER. BUT -- BUT IF MY ELECTION WAS MY BLUE LAGOON AND MY HEALTH CARE IS MY ENDLESS LOVE, THAT MEANS OBAMACARE IS THE 1ST IN A LONG STRING OF BOMBS AND MY CAREER IS OVER!"
BARACK BLEW HIS NOSE AND ADDED, "AND I NEVER EVEN GOT MY WANDA NEVADA!"
WHAT HAD THE MANIC DEPRESSIVE RIDING THE RAILS? THE NEW RASMUSSEN REPORT POLL WHICH FOUND 49% OF AMERICANS APPROVE OF BARRY'S O! PERFORMANCE -- "AT LEAST SOMEWHAT" -- WHILE 50% DISAPPROVE. MORE DISLIKED THAN HE IS LIKED. WE'D SAY THIS WAS HIS SARAHA IF WE WEREN'T AFRAID RAHM WOULD BLOW A BLOOD VESSEL CURSING US OUT.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Today the US Dept of Defense announced a death in Iraq and i.d.ed the fallen, Spc Richard A. Walters Jr. who died in yesterday from "injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident." Currently, the link is not working. If it's still not working when the snapshot goes up, we'll note the passing in tomorrow's snapshot as well. We just said that DoD identified the fallen and that they announced the death. See a problem? MNF is supposed to announce the deaths. DoD is supposed to identify them (after the immediate family has been notified). So what happened? MNF 'forgot' to announce the death. That's the second time in two weeks that they've missed their key function. They're nothing but a press relations crew and one of their duties is to announce deaths. The DoD is only supposed to (later) provide the name. MNF gets away with this because the press has never once protested. The announcement brings to 4331 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
From Friday through Monday, there were reports of 124 deaths and 624 injured from violence. Natalia Antelava (BBC News) analyzes these developments and postulates that instead of death tolls, "Looking at the nature of the attacks might provide better insight. As the US generals prepared for the June withdrawal of their troops from Iraqi cities, US military officials argued that the attacks had become much less organised and sophisticated. However, less than two months after the pull-out, this seems to be changing. The latest bombings resemble the well co-ordinated, well planned strikes of the earlier years of heightened violence." Antelava is correct and the only thing to add to that is that maybe newspaper headlines which read "Afghanistan bombs more deadly" can also be seen as a taunt in Iraq? How do you even measure that? Considering the differing landscapes and everything else and what is that sort of headline anyway, some war mongering reporting's notion of fantasy football? Equally true is that reporters have rarely grasped the ebb and flow of the Iraq attacks. Or maybe they just didn't care to detect a pattern? When's the next big attack coming? Press reports suggest one was just prevented. BBC News reports Kuwait is claiming that they have stopped a plan to attack a US military base in Iraq and arrested 6 of their own citizens who have "confessed to the crimes after they were arrested."
Whether the arrests and confessions are valid, violence didn't stop in Iraq today.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad sticky bombing which left four people wounded, a Baghdad car bombing which left nine people wounded, three Baghdad roadside bombings which claimed 3 lives and left ten injured ("police said that this figure was a preliminary") and a Falluja roadside bombing which left four people wounded. Reuters notes 2 Baghdad car bombings which claimed 8 lives and left thirty people injured.
That's today. In the future? Adam Entous (Reuters) reports on the Pentagon briefing by Geoff Morrell today where he stated, "But we are very nervous, continue to be, about the overall Arab-Kurdish tensions. [. . .] We are going to remain vigilant. A certain number of U.S. forces are required in that country . . . in no small measure to try to assist . . . the Arabs and the Kurds solve some of these problems while we are still there." Kat covered the Kurdish issue last night, "AFP reports today that Maj Gen Jamal Taher Bakr, who is the police chief of Kirkuk, says 'It would be better' when asked if US troops should stay until 2012 or 2013. Remember that Kirkuk is disputed. In the country's constitution (ratified in 2005), it says a referendum will be held following a census and that will determine Kirkuk's fate. It's an oil-rich region and the central government wants it and so does the Kurdistan region. This was supposed to have been decided long, long ago. Instead of deciding, the issue has been a can that everyone's played kick the can with. It's not surprising that the issue alarms the police chief or any resident of Kirkuk and I'm not making fun of them or even saying, 'You're wrong!' I am saying that the longer the issue is put off, the worse it gets." Kirkuk is disputed by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central government in Baghdad, both of which want it to be part of their region. Among those outside players attempting to influence events is the government of Turkey which fears Kurdish power and self-rule due to its own internal issues. Complicating the matter further are the PKK which is a labeled a terrorist organization by the US, England, the European Union, Turkey and many others. These are Kurdish fighters who support Kurdish independence within Turkey. They have set up bases in the mountains of northern Iraq to stage attacks. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Montior) reports that the foreign ministers of Iraq and Turkey -- Hoshyar Zebari and Ahmet Davutoglu -- held a press conference in Baghdad today where they revealed an offer of water for Iraq were it to crack down on the PKK. The water issue is an important one to Iraq. Anthony DiPaloa and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) reported last week that the country was set to "have its worst harvest in a decade this year as an extended drought cuts its water supply, forcing the third-biggest OPEC producer to increase grain imports as oil revenue drops."
Will Nouri attack the PKK? Very likely. July 28th, he launched an attack on the residents of Camp Ashraf. With more on that, this is from Amnesty International:
Thirty-six Iranian residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq remain at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran where they could face torture or execution. The 36 have been detained since Iraqi security forces stormed the camp, about 60km north of Baghdad, on 28 July. At least eight Camp Ashraf residents were killed and many more injured during the raid. Most of the 36 are reported to have been beaten and tortured. At least seven are said to need urgent medical care. Camp Ashraf is home to about 3,500 members of the People's Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition group which has been based in Iraq since 1986. Following the raid, the 36 were taken to a police station inside the camp. They were held there for an hour and are reported to have been tortured and beaten before being transferred to a police station in the town of al-Khalis, about 25 km south of Camp Ashraf. According to reports, the detainees were told to sign documents written in Arabic by those detaining them, but refused to do so. They have also sought access to lawyers, so far unsuccessfully. Of the seven reported to need medical treatment, Mehraban Balai sustained a gunshot injury to his leg and a broken arm after being beaten by Iraqi security forces. Habib Ghorab is said to suffer from internal bleeding and Ezat Latifi has serious chest pain. He is thought to have been run over by one of the military vehicles used by Iraqi forces in seizing control of the camp. The PMOI established itself in Iraq in 1986 (during the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-88), at the invitation of the then President Saddam Hussein. In 1988, from its base at Camp Ashraf, the PMOI attempted to invade Iran. The Iranian authorities summarily executed hundreds, if not thousands, of PMOI detainees in an event known in Iran as the "prison massacres". For a number of years it was listed as a "terrorist organization" by several Western governments. Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the PMOI members disarmed and were accorded "protected persons" status under the Fourth Geneva Convention. This lapsed in 2009, when the Iraqi government started to exercise control over Iraq's internal affairs in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a security pact agreed by the governments of Iraq and the USA in November 2008 and which entered into force on 1 January this year. US forces in Iraq provided effective protection for Camp Ashraf until mid-2009, after which they completed their withdrawal to their bases from all Iraqi towns and cities. After they disarmed, the PMOI announced that they had renounced violence. There is no evidence that the PMOI has continued to engage in armed opposition to the Iranian government, though people associated with the PMOI still face human rights violations in Iran. Since mid-2008 the Iraqi government has repeatedly indicated that it wants to close Camp Ashraf, and that residents should leave Iraq or face being forcibly expelled from the country. Amnesty International has urged the authorities not to forcibly return any Camp Ashraf resident or other Iranians to Iran, where they would be at risk of torture and other serious human rights violations. The organization has called upon the Iraqi authorities to investigate all allegations of torture and beatings, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The organization has also called on the authorities to provide appropriate medical care to the 36 detainees and to release them unless they are to be promptly charged with a recognizable offence and brought to trial according to international standards for fair trial.
Iraq: Concern for detained Camp Ashraf residents (Public statement, 4 August 2009) Eight reported killed as Iraqi forces attack Iranian residents of Camp Ashraf (News, 29 July 2009)
Iran's Press TV reports today that protestors gathered in Diyalah Province in a 'brave and dangerous' demonstration (that's sarcasm) to support the decision of Nouri al-Maliki to expell the residents of Camp Ashraf. In any country, the most pathetic thing is the lackeys who feel the need to pimp the government line. (As true in Iraq as it is in the US -- whether it comes from Barry O's astroturf friends or Bully Boy Bush's 'freedom rallies'.) Gordon Lubold (Christian Science Monitor) notes the human rights lawyers calling on the US government to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents sent "Documents Show Iraq, U.S. in Breach of Obligations to Protect Camp Ashraf Residents" to the public e-mail account (Betty noted it last night):
In a news briefing today at the National Press Club, international and U.S. lawyers of residents of Camp Ashraf presented documents of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Iraqi government during the July 28 attack on Camp Ashraf. They also made public the agreements signed between the U.S. government and every resident of the Camp Ashraf for their protection. Camp Ashraf is home to members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Its residents had signed an agreement with the Multi-National Force-Iraq in 2004, according to which the US agreed to protect them until their final disposition."The official U.S. government response to the events at Ashraf is that all issues concerning the Camp are now matters for the Iraqis to determine, as an exercise of their sovereignty. But that is a red herring: no one contests the sovereignty of the State of Iraq over Ashraf. Sovereignty does not provide an excuse for violating the human rights of the residents. Nor does it justify inaction on the part of the United States," said Steven Schneebaum, Counsel for U.S. families of Ashraf residents.He stressed: "The U.S. was the recipient of binding commitments by the Government of Iraq to treat the Ashraf residents humanely, and we know that has not happened. Moreover, it was the United States with whom each person at Ashraf reached agreement that protection would be provided until final decisions about their disposition have been made. And the United States remains bound also by principles of international humanitarian law and human rights law that make standing by during an armed attack on defenseless civilians unacceptable, and that impose an obligation to intervene to save innocent lives."Francois Serres, Executive Director of the International Committee of Jurists in Defense of Ashraf, which represents 8,500 lawyers and jurists in Europe and North America, added, "This [assault] is a manifest of crime against humanity by the Iraqi forces, attacking, with US-supplied weapons and armored vehicles, unarmed residents of Ashraf. The Iraqi government cannot be trusted in protecting the residents of Ashraf. The U.S. must undertake efforts to protect them until international protection is afforded to the residents." "We will pursue this matter before the International Criminal Court and courts in France and Belgium. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is fully responsible for these atrocities and he will be held to account," he added. Zahra Amanpour, a human rights activist with the U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents also spoke at the news briefing. Ms. Amanpour, whose aunt is in Ashraf, said: "Why are the Department of State and the White House stone-walling us, the families of Camp Ashraf residents? Thirty-five people have been on a hunger strike outside the White House for 13 days, and we still don't have any reply by the administration."Claude Salhani (Washington Times) reports on the press conference and notes, "French lawyer Francois Serres said at a news conference in Washington that he would be taking legal action against Mr. al-Maliki in European courts as well as in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Other lawsuits would be filed in U.S. courts against the U.S."
"They gave me a gun" he said
"They gave me a mission
For the power and the glory --
Propaganda -- piss on 'em.
There's a war zone inside me --
I can feel things exploding --
I can't even hear the f**king music playing
For the beat of -- the beat of black wings."
[. . .]
"They went you -- they need you --
They train you to kill --
To be a pin on some map --
Some vicarous thrill --
The old hate the young
That's the whole heartless thing
The old pick the wars
We die in 'em
To the beat of -- the beat of black wings."
-- "The Beat of Black Wings," words and music by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.
Danny Fitzsimons served in the British military for eight years and was stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as Iraq. He is in the news for his time in Iraq as a British contractor, or mercenary, accused of being the shooter in a Sunday Green Zone incident in which 1 British contractor, Paul McGuigan, and 1 Australian contractor, Darren Hoare, died and one Iraqi, Arkhan Madhi, was injured. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports today that Fitzsimons' parents, Eric and Beverly, and stepmother, Liz, state their son, now potentially facing the death penalty in Iraq's 'justice' system, has PTSD: "We are seeking funding in order to get a fair trial for Daniel, who served his country in Afghanistan and Iraq and left the Army suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This situation is every parent's worst nightmare. We have been unable to speak directly to Daniel and are currently in contract with the Foreign Office, Fair Trials Abroad and our local MP, Jim Dobbin." Eric and Liz Fitzsimons speak to the BBC (link has video):
Liz Fitzsimons: You see, when he came out of the army because the army had always been his life, it was then at a real crossroads in his life and where some people might be able to cope, unfortunately, Daniel didn't cope well because he did enjoy army life. It was all he ever wanted, he loved it. And you come out and you live Middleton, which is where he ended up, and he couldn't find a path that suited him, he couldn't find a job although he tried very hard. And a testament to Daniel is that he joined a gym and kept himself -- Daniel likes routine. Daniel goes to the gym every day almost, I would suggest, every day, goes jogging he's a very clean young man. You know, he's not sort of gone wayward and just gone to the dogs kind of thing. And he met a girl, like you want your children to do, but then he wanted the normal life and he wanted the money that would go with a normal life. How does he do that when he can't find a job? And unfortunately becoming a security --
Eric Fitzsimons: He went back into doing security.
Liz Fitzimons: -- person in Iraq. [. . .] Oh, awful. Awful. The situation in Iraq isn't good, is it? We all know it's not good. But he would be out in convoys I believe their main job is to escort to --
Eric Fitzsimons: Oil [workers? Second word isn't clear.]
Liz Fitzsimons : Yes but they do escort people to jobs. And they do ride shotgun basically. They ride around --
Eric Fitzsimons: He's told us quite a lot of --
Liz Fitzsimons: Yeah.
Eric Fitsimons: -- tales
Liz Fitzsimons: He saw some awful things. The person in the cab next to him was blown up.
Eric Fitzsimons: Yeah.
Liz Fitzsimons: Next to him. At the same he had a bullet in his foot.
Eric Fitzsimons: Bullet in his foot, yeah, he's seen all sorts of IEDs you know, sorts of explosions at the side of the road. Loads and loads of them. And seen lots and lots of his friends killed.
They're asked about whether or not they attempted to talk Danny out of being a mercenary ("mercenary" is the term Eric Fitzsimons uses) and his father notes that they had conversations with him going back many years but he is a grown up who makes his own decisions. They express their sympathies for the families of the two men who were killed. "We're not saying that Daniel doesn't have to face what he's done," Liz Fitzsimons explains. "He does. He does have to face that. And we know he does. But what we want is for it to be fair and unfortunately where he is now, we don't think it will be."
While Danny Fitzsimons' family is unable to speak to him, Oliver August (Times of London) reports his paper has been able to and that Fitzsimons states the incident was self-defense: "I got into a fight with two colleagues and they had me pinned down. I received a real beating. They beat me and that's when I reached for my weapon. I was drunk and it happened very quickly."
The early morning shooting followed the consumption of alcohol. Oliver August teams with Deborah Haynes to note that "private security guards [in Iraq] always carry weapons, even when drinking" and they note the various bars to be found in the Green Zone including the now closed "CIA Bar" and the "FBI Bar." Fitzsimons worked for ArmorGroup and Haynes gives an overview of the company here. August reports that "the investigators told the judge that they have all the evidence they need to proceed with a trial. The Foreign Office is checking options on how to help Mr Fitzsimons but there appears to be little chance that he could be handed over to British officials or stand trial in UK for the alleged murder of a British and an Australian security guard also on contract with ArmorGroup." Martin Chulov (Guardian) was not present in the Iraqi court yesterday but he quotes Maj Gen Abdul-Kareem Khalaf stating Fitzsimons "made admissions." Take it with a grain of salt and remember all the distortions Iraqi government officials made of what the shoe tosser had supposedly stated. Jamie Walker and Sarah Elks (The Australian) note, "Aged in his 20s, the Briton is set to become the first foreign security contractor to face Iraqi justice; he could receive the death penalty if he is found guilty of gunning down Mr Hoare and Mr McGuigan." The New Statesman explains, "Last night British Embassy staff were trying to secure access to Fitzsimons. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is looking into how it can help but there appears to be little chance that he will stand trial in Britain."
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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"THIS JUST IN! TOLU OLURUNDA PUNK ASS AND DUMB ASS!"