November 9, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Veterans Day is Sunday
in the United States, the former governor of the Central Bank in Iraq
sees a power grab, Saudi prisoners in Iraq prisons suffer, Nouri's
attorney declares a bill Parliament is considering would not -- even if
passed -- apply to Nouri, rebellion in the streets and in the mosques
over Nouri's plans to kill the ration-card system, threats from Nouri's
government to a Russian oil company, and more.
In the United States, Veterans Day is Sunday
In some areas it will be observed on Monday. (And some events will
take place on Saturday to observe it.) Senator Patty Murray is the
Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and she will be attending
an observation in Washington state on Monday. Her office notes:
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
MONDAY: Senator Murray to Speak at Veterans Day Memorial Service in Seattle
Murray: Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the shared duty we owe to our nation's veterans
D.C.) -- On Monday, November 12, 2012, Senator Patty Murray, Chairman
of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, will attend Evergreen
Washelli Cemetery's 63rd Annual Veterans Day Memorial Celebration with
veterans and their families. She will give remarks on the importance of
honoring the shared duty owned to our nation's veterans, specifically
in ensuring veterans can easily access the care and benefits they
deserve. The event is a Service of Remembrance and will take place at
the Doughboy statue at the base of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Veterans and their families
WHAT: Senator Murray will give a speech at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in
observance of Veterans Day
WHEN: Monday, November 12th, 2012
11:00 AM PST
WHERE: Evergreen Washelli Cemetery
11111 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98133
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. And his office has released the following:
often wonder if we do enough to honor our veterans. These are, after
all, the men and women who, at great peril to themselves, put on the
uniform of our country and defend all that it stands for. They don't do
it for the gratification of their fellow Americans; instead they do it
for love of country and an overwhelming sense of duty. Just because
their call to arms is not with the expectation of any repayment or
gratitude, it does not mean we can't find ways to celebrate their
service. We have an obligation to our veterans to provide for them with
the care and support they need to live full lives. Veterans Day is a
great opportunity for all Americans to take part in the celebration of
our nation's most vital resource, our servicemembers, veterans, and
their families. But to truly and fully appreciate our veterans, we need
to honor them 365 days a year, and not just on
Happy Birthday USMC!
Marine Corps is celebrating its 237th birthday this weekend. Thank you
to all the men and women who have served in this elite force. Please
watch this birthday video, produced by the Marine Corps to commemorate the special occasion. Semper Fidelis.
Running for Veterans
Former Marine Corps Sgt. J. Brendan O'Toole will be running across America to raise money for veterans. You can read more here about O'Toole's service and what inspired him to put aside a year of his life to help our veterans as they return home.
A Great Cause
this week in anticipation of Veterans Day, Chairman Jeff Miller sat
down with MSN to discuss the issues facing the veterans' community
today. The interview is available on MSN's new "causes" page, aimed at raising awareness to a variety of issues facing America today.
Thoughts on this Veterans Day
As Chairman Miller does every month, he penned an op-ed in Wreaths Across America's
newsletter. This month's article is dedicated to Veterans Day and how
it remains vital that we continue to increase our support for veterans.
Wreaths Across America will take place on December 15 this year. Committee Member, Dr. Phil Roe, a veteran himself, also shares his thoughts on this Veterans Day. Read more here.
going to include Texas Governor Rick Perry's statement in a moment but
first there are two eateries observing Veterans Day. California Pizza Kitchen
nationwide on Sunday and Monday and Applebees
the country on Sunday. Veterans and active duty military -- have
identification or be in uniform -- visiting California Pizza Kitchen
either day will recieve a free non-alcoholic beverage and a free pizza
and those visiting Applebees on Sunday will receive a free entree
(choose from three-cheese chicken penne, a bacon cheddar cheeseburger,
oriental chicken salad, 7 ounce sirloin, chicken tenders platter, fiesta
lime chicken or double crunch shrimp). Are there more? There probably
are. Those two e-mailed to note their observance of Veterans Day. So
if you're a veteran or active duty, you should surely stop by.
if you're not a veteran or active duty? You can certainly keep in mind
that California Pizza Kitchen and Applebees made a point to honor
Veterans Day when a lot of others did not. Stan
says he loves Applebees Bourbon Black & Bleu Burger. Ann
states, "I can't tell you about calories, I've never asked and I don't
want to know but their oriental chicken salad is a meal and then some."
Myself, I'm a pizza addict. There are months I go "meat free" with the
exception of anything on a pizza. At California Pizza Kitchen, I can't
pick just one. Because of calories, I try to avoid anything other than
thin crust. But if I'm having original crust (which is thicker), it
will be because I'm having the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. Any and all of
the thin crust pizzas, I've eaten and loved. Kat
and I are on the road most weeks and there are times when we finish
speaking with a group and it's too late so we'll hit a grocery store.
In the frozen foods section at many grocery stores you can find
California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas. If it's the four of us, we
usually go with their BBQ Recipe Chicken (and get two because Wally and I
can eat pizza -- wolf it down in fact). I'm making a point here to
plug two places that are making a point to observe Veterans Day.
will be observations throughout the country. I'm noting events that
were mailed to the public account and one that a friend requested we
in Los Angeles is "A Day For Heroes" which is free for veterans, active
duty military, and family members and includes a barbeque and a concert
. In the state of Washington, parades
will take place Saturday in Auburn, West Richland, Vancouver, Port
Angeles and Spokane -- while there will be a Veterans Breakfast in
. Saturday will also see the Atlanta Veterans Day Parade in Georgia
LA will see a Veterans Day Biker Event hosted by Veterans For Veterans
-- with a motorcycle parade, a bike show, a car show and a silent
auction with proceeds going to support veterans
.Nashville will hold a Veterans Day Parade on Sunday
. Columbia, South Carolina will also hold a Veterans Day parade
. In Berkeley, you can attend a
benefit performance of Soldier Stories (tickets $20.50 in advance,
$22.50 at the door) with the proceeds going to help homeless veterans
In Kihei, Hawaii, there will be a Luau at the VFW Hall. That's at
2110 Uluniu Road and it starts at 5:00 pm. I don't have a link so I'm
noting time and location. (A friend asked me to note the event.) Albuquerque, New Mexico will host a Veterans Day Parade on Sunday
. Delaware will host a Veterans Day Ceremony in New Castle
. Miami will host a Veterans Day Parade on Sunday
will host a Central Florida Military Resource Fair open to all
veterans and active duty military which will include job info, benefits
and health care opportunities, flu shots and medical screenings
Monday, Montgomery, Alabama will host the Third Annual River Region Veterans Day Parade
. In Pueblo, Colorado, there will be a Veterans Day Commemoration at Colorado State University
Rick Perry is the Governor of Texas. His office notes:
Rick Perry today highlighted Texas' ongoing commitment to helping our
nation's veterans and their families receive the services and support
they need when they return from duty, including initiatives to help
skilled veterans find jobs. The governor spoke at an annual Veterans Day
ceremony honoring local veterans.
have consistently sent their best and bravest to confront the forces of
darkness throughout the world, and time and again, our military members
have proven up to the challenges posed by these forces," Gov. Perry
said. "In Texas, we will always remember the courage and dedication of
our men and women in uniform, and do everything we can to help them heal
and return capably to the workforce."
governor called for a constitutional amendment extending a full property
tax exemption to spouses and children of members of the armed forces
who were killed in action, building on the current $5,000 tax exemption
that spouses and children currently receive. Gov. Perry signed House
Bill 3613 in 2009, which granted a property tax exemption to 100 percent
disabled veterans. This exemption was extended in 2011 to the surviving
spouses of those veterans through Senate Bill 516.
Perry touted a new, industry-driven initiative by the Texas Workforce
Commission (TWC) that will help connect veterans with job opportunities,
and provide veterans and employers with funds for training and
occupation certifications in the energy industry. TWC is dedicating
existing general revenue funds to help offset training costs for the
veteran and employer.
He also reiterated
his support for TWC's Hiring Red, White & You Campaign, which
connects veterans with employers and job opportunities in Texas. TWC is
partnering with 28 local workforce development board areas and the Texas
Veterans Commission to host veterans' job fairs across the state on
you're wondering why his office is noted and 49 others aren't, his
office sent that to the public account and I shared my thoughts earlier
this morning. We can repeat them in another entry but the focus above
is on veterans.)
Schacter: I wonder if it angers you at all that the military is so
tight-lipped about what goes on in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Corcoran: Yeah, I am. I definitely am. I feel that there should be
more transparency. I don't see any reason to keep it so quiet and
hidden right now. I think they'd just as soon see it disappear
altogether and when they phase this thing out, it'll be like somebody
will wake up one day and say, I haven't heard anything on that
Afghanistan war for a while. And then they'll say, oh, that's because
we pulled out of there three months ago.
Boyd: What's fascinating about this issue is that, in some ways, in
order to come back in one piece you have to set aside normal human
empathy to survive. Is that right?
Herman Keizer Jr.: Yeah, and one of the problems when going to warwar
is that you're trained really to kill and take life. The military says
that you're here to kill people and break thing. Sso they have to train
them. And one of the discussions I've had a lot with the senior
military is we train them to be so reflexive that that they just move
and engage the enemy before they think about it. And in some sense,
that's the best reaction you could ask for on the battle field. The
last thing you want is for somebody to scratch their head and say, "Do I
shoot or don't I?" And so the military, it does train them and it does
train them very well so that they are now very reflexive in their
responses on the battlefield but those reflexi actions are reflected on
later and then the moral kind of injury begins to set in. Several of
the stories coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan are where people are in
automobiles and coming towards them and they're in some kind of
firefight already. And here they see these other vehicles coming
towards them and they yell at people to stop and for some communication
reasons or something they don't stop. So the suspicion is that it's the
enemy and then you shoot. And you see a baby flying out of the back of
the car, you know, you know, dead in its mother's arms. And the mother
holds it up and it's says to the soldier why? And the soldier says
why? It's just one of those fog of war kinds of things that cause real
Boyd: So they're left -- the people who have gone through these
experiences with the question of: who am I? Am I this person who had to
shoot, who did shoot? Or am I the person who comes home and thinks, how
could I have hurt a child? Or an innocent person
Nakashima Brock: And I think that soldiers have different responses to
those situations. Some people say, 'Well I did the right thing because
it could have been an enemy. And others will say, "How could I have
killed a child? How could I have done that?" It's not -- There's not a
one size fits all response to war but it is true that there's --
especially in insurgency wars like we're fighting -- even the military
moral code of not killing civilians doesn't apply.
to an Iraq War veteran who was pulled from Iraq and thrown behind
bars, Bradley Manning. Major news in the ongoing case against
Bradley. Monday April 5, 2010
, WikiLeaks released US military video
of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters
journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010
, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported
in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of
violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his
personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized
software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight
counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified
information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported
that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges
including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could
result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took
place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32
hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be
moving forward with a court-martial. Prior to today, Bradley had yet to
enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied
it. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the election but it
was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to
run on a record of his actual actions.
Manning has offered to plead guilty to various offenses through a
process known as "pleading by exceptions and substitutions." To
clarify, PFC Manning is not pleading guilty to the specifications as
charged by the Government. Rather, PFC Manning is attempting to accept
responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a
subset of, the charged offenses. The Court will consider whether this
is a permissible plea.
PFC Manning is not submitting a plea as part
of an agreement or deal with the Government. Further, the Government
does not need to agree to PFC Manning's plea; the Court simply has to
determine that the plea is legally permissible. If the Court allows PFC
Manning to plead guilty by exceptions and substitutions, the Government
may still elect to prove up the charged offenses. Pleading by
exceptions and substitutions, in other words, does not change the
offenses with which PFC Manning has been charged and for which he is
scheduled to stand trial.
PFC Manning has also provided notice of his forum selection. He has elected to be tried by Military Judge alone.
Iraqi children, August 18th
we noted,Alsumaria notes
that an 18-year-old male has been arrested in Basra. He is a suspect in
the kidnapping, rape and murder of a four-year-old girl." Now dropping
back to October 13th
"Violence that is presumably unconnected to the war -- but who knows in
a war zone -- includes the rape and murder of four-year-old Abeer Ali
Abdul, reported by Al Mada
. She is the second girl in her area of Nasiriyah to be kidnapped and found murdered." AP covers the story today
They noted the two rapes and murders are not thought to be linked. In
the first case, Banan Haider is the name of the victim, an Iraqi soldier
has been found guilty. Usual caveat: Iraq does not have a functioning
legal system and 'confessions' via torture are very common. As a
result, the guilty may or may not be the ones convicted. At this site,
we do not accept the lying premise that 'confessions' under torture
are confessions. We do not endorse torture and we don't even casually
embrace it here. The man may or may not be guilty. What is known is
that Banan's parents want him to be publicly executed to 'teach a
lesson.' I'm sorry, Iraq's crime rate has dropped recently?
far this year, Iraq is known to have executed 119 people. It has
ignored calls from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty
International and others to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
Despite the fact that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani insists he is
against the death penalty and regularly basks in applause for that
stance, he has not blocked one execution. (His 'opposition' is refusing
to sign the death warrants, leaving it for a vice president to sign it.
As president, he could object to any or all executions and stop them
immediately. He refuses to use that power.)
appear that executions are dettering crime. But then, they never have.
Crime is a risk and a person acts on impulse (crimes of passion) or
weighs the risks. Few people, especially younger in life, ever picture
themselves dying or being executed in their own near future. Do you
know who has to factor in the threat of death? Attorneys in Iraq.
Specifically, Thamer Qamqoom (Okaz/Saudi Gazette) reports
that Iraqi attorneys who have Saudi prisoners in the Iraqi prison
system are receiving death threats. Of the clients, Qamqoom reports:
Rahman Al-Jurais, who is defending Saudi prisoners in Iraq, said one of
the Saudi prisoners, Malwah Zaid Al-Shammary, has been suffering from
amnesia and is now mentally handicapped as a result of being tortured by
Iraqi prison officers.
He said the prisoner's family authorized him to arrange for their son to return to Sakaka, where he was born and raised.
He entered Iraq in 2008 and was later placed in a notorious prison.
Currently, he is an inmate at Krobar Prison near Baghdad Airport.
Malwah's brother said: "My brother suffers from chronic psychological disorders. That's what I was told by some prisoners.
"I urge authorities including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Commission to save my brother.
"He should be transferred to a mental health hospital immediately."
Iraq can't stop issuing death penalty sentences. Vice President Tareq
al-Hashemi has been sentenced to death four times in the last weeks.
(Tareq is a political rival of Nouri al-Maliki's. Tareq belongs to
Iraqiya -- which won the most seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections
-- and he is Sunni.) AFP notes
that yesterday it was announced that two bodyguards of Tareq have been
given death sentences. This is in addition to the six announced earlier
From state-sanctioned violence to other violence, Alsumaria reports
1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad (gun shot wounds), a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured two police officers, and the Associate
Director of the Rafidain Bank was kidnapped near his Aden home and a
nephew of a Dawa Party official was shot dead in Kut by four
. All Iraq News adds
that 2 corpses were discovered in Sulaymaniyah. In addition, Reuters notes
"Turkish air force jets and attack helicopters pounded Kurdish
militants along the border with Iraq on Thursday, killing 13, the local
governor's office and security sources said on Friday." Press TV adds
1 Turkish soldier died in the fighting as well. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008
"The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's
oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has
waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of
Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's
largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration
straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of
imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While
Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order
to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these
are now at risk."
Iraq is rich in oil -- apparently not rich enough to do away with greed, however. MarketWatch reports
"OAO Lukoil Hodlings, Russia's second-largest oil producer, has
received an offer from Exxon Mobil Corp. on the U.S. major's West
Qurna-1 oil field project in Iraq, Lukoil Deputy President Andrei
Kuzyayev was quoted as saying by Interfax Friday." Most of the time
when someone has "received an offer," it's because they're attempting to
sell something. In this case Lukoil is not selling, ExxonMobil is. Vladimir Soldatkin, Ashmed Rasheed and William Hardy (Reuters) note
"ExxonMobil has informed the Iraqi government it wants to pull out of
the $50 billion oil project in southern Iraq. LUKOIL, which is
already developing West Qurna-2, has previously said West Qurna-1 is
'too big for it to swallow', but on Friday said it would at least look
into the proposal." After the decision last month to buy billions of
weapons from Russia, it may appear Russia and Iraq are getting very
close -- and they might be. But friendly? Do you threaten a friend? AFP reports
"Baghdad has told Russian energy giant Gazprom to either cancel its
energy contracts in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region or abandon its work
with the central government, a spokesperson said on Friday."
On the topic of government greed, Sinan al-Shabibi tells Prashant Rao (AFP)
"Since 2009, they wanted to fire me, and they wanted money from the
reserves. I think the main problem . . . is basically the reserves,
because they thought we have a lot of reserves, and they want to use it
for financing. The government wanted some money from the Central Bank. .
. . Of course, the law does not allow that, the central bank law." Who
is Sinan al-Shabibi? Dropping back to October 15th
: Al Mada reports
today that Parliament sources say an arrest warrant exists for Sinan
al-Shabibi, the Centeral Bank president, and that the people are seeing
this as another effort by Nouri to take control of the independent
institution. Alsumaria notes
that al-Shabibi is currently in Tokyo at a conference and due to
return to Baghdad later today. Dar Addustour offers a run down on what
happened with the warrant itself It was issued by a judge who did not
ask questions and when the news reached the Chief Justice Medhat
al-Mahmoud, he ordered that the warrant be pulled. Iraqiya's
spokesperson Maysoun al-Damalouji tells the outlet that it is necessary
for the central bank to maintain its independence.
The next day, All Iraq News noted
that Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc was accusing Nouri of targeting the Centeral Bank due to the independence of the institution.
Nouri and troubles are never far apart. Tuesday
his spokesperson announced that the food-ration-card system (a program
by which Iraqis were able to get flour, sugar, and other staples) was
being stopped. And that was supposed to be the end of that. It hasn't
been the end of anything.
that today, during Friday prayers, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
declared his objection to gutting the program. The statement noted that
the government justifications for ending the program are neither
logical nor acceptable and that those of faith in Iraq must object to
the push to end the program due to the fact that it will increase the
burden on the poor. Further, al-Sistani noted that the price of food
cannot be left up to the merchants because each month of Ramadan has
seen prices soar with the increased demand and the government has been
powerless to do anything about it. To the insistence by Nouri
supporters that the program must be gutted to fight corruption,
al-Sistani responded that if the government has failed to prevent
corruption, that is no reason to punish the citizens for its own
failures. The statement ended with al-Sistani noting that his words
were neither a political nor economic stand but instead an expression of
the beliefs and hopes of the Iraqi people.
Ali al-Sistani is a higher official that Nouri or most elected ones.
That's in part because of his role as a spiritual leader and in part due
to his biography. On the latter, he never fled Iraq. Under Saddam
Hussein, he was persecuted. But he stayed in Iraq. The people know he
will stay in Iraq. Unlike many of Nouri's now former Cabinet ministers,
for example, he won't flee the country (those ministers often have
accusations of theft attached to their names). Unlike many, he
doesn't hold dual citizenship. He is an Iraqi who commands a great deal
of respect in the country and that goes beyond Shi'ite and Sunni
al-Sistani's statement and notes others objecting as well including Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi. All Iraq News reports
that people flocked into the streets of Najaf following morning
prayers and took part in a mass demonstration against cancelling the
ration cards. Participants included Imams. The people are calling on
their provinical government to argue against dropping the ration cards.
Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai declared in Karbala during morning prayers
today that the decision must be reviewed because it is unacceptable and
is rejected by religious authority
. All Iraq News notes
that the Kurdistan Alliance has issued a statement denouncing Nouri's
decision and insisting the ration card system is needed. Kitabat reports
that Moqtada al-Sadr is no longer just objecting to the cancellation,
he's now demanding that the Cabinet make public which Cabinet ministers
voted to cancel the program. Today al-Shabibi tells AP
"They want to control the central bank. If they control the central
bank, they will destroy the economy." In the face of all of this,
the smart thing politically would be to announce that the
food-ration-card system would remain in place.
It's not as if Nouri's not hoping for a third term as prime minister. Al Mada reports
that Parliament's efforts to pass a law limiting the three presidencies
(Speaker of Parliament, President of Iraq and Prime Minister) to two
terms has resulted in State of Law (Nouri's political slate) insisting
that, if such a law passes, they will appeal to the Federal Court.
That's the court that has repeatedly and continually deferred to Nouri's
wishes over and over, year after year, regardless of what the Iraqi
constitution says. Nouri's attorney declared yesterday that, should
such a law pass, it wouldn't be binding on Nouri.
Also Alsumaria notes
two villages in Basra are being victimized by packs of stray dogs with
six children and one man bitten in the last two days alone. The dogs
have not been confirmed as having rabies at present (though that is a
concern of the people in the two villages).