Tuesday, August 11, 2009

British contractor, said to suffer from PTSD, said he acted in self-defense

Danny Fitzsimons is a British contractor 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 unidentified Iraqi 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." 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:

Yesterday, showing a black eye and bruises on his back, Mr Fitzsimons recounted his version of the events that led to the deaths of the two guards and the wounding of an Iraqi man in the compound of an ArmorGroup client.
He told an Iraqi interpreter working for The Times: "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."
Mr Fitzsimons also has stitches in a wound on his hand where he was shot with a rubber bullet during his arrest.
He was held in an isolation cell for the first 24 hours of his detention but has been transferred to a general holding area together with about a dozen Iraqi men.
According to the police source he has taken over one corner of the cell and has no contact with his fellow inmates. The source said: "He sleeps on a mattress supplied by ArmorGroup. He also has his own chair. Employees from his company come to check on him every hour and supply him with fresh Western food. Mr Fitzsimons, who in his late twenties, is said to be the only man in the cell to be handcuffed. "We consider him very dangerous. We were told that he has a history of violent attacks," the Iraqi policeman said.

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.

In the US, Nicole Colson explores issues of PTSD and more in "When War Comes Home" (Socialist Worker):

"I TOLD them he was a walking time bomb."
That's how Teresa Hernandez remembers describing her son Anthony Marquez--a soldier in the Army's 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment--to his sergeant at Fort Carson, Colo., after Marquez returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Teresa had become alarmed, she told the Associated Press, because her son "was showing signs of violent behavior, abusing alcohol and pain pills, and carrying a gun."
But rather than take her concerns seriously, the sergeant dismissed them--and even used his mother's phone call to berate Marquez, taunting him about it.
In 2006, Marquez became the first soldier from his unit to murder someone in the U.S. after a tour in Iraq. Three days before he was scheduled to be honorably discharged because of a dispute over a marijuana sale, he used a stun gun to shock a drug dealer in Widefield, Colo., and then shot and killed him.

They can carry the wounds of war, but Barack Obama does his best to hide those realities from the American people. From Jason Leopold's "Obama Promises Senators He Will Help Pass Bill Banning Torture Photos" (The Public Record):

President Barack Obama sent a letter July 29 to Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham informing them that he would work with Congress to ensure legislation is passed that would block the release of any photographs and videos depicting U.S. Soldiers abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan captured after 9/11.
The disclosure was made in a footnote in a 33-page petition the Obama administration filed Friday with the U.S. Supreme Court. Neither the White House nor spokespeople for Lieberman and Graham responded to phone calls and e-mail queries seeking a copy of the letter.
The petition confirms that the contents of the 44 images at issue, which was first reported by The Public Record, includes one in which a female solider pointed a broom at one detainee "as if I was sticking the end of a broom stick into [his] rectum."
Other photos at issues show U.S. soldiers pointing guns at the heads of hooded and bound detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. The filing also notes that the detainee abuse was investigated by the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division and "three of the six investigations led to criminal charges and in two of those cases, the accused were found guilty and punished." [Background on the photographs can be found HERE and HERE.]

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press explains, "The Obama administration formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to overturn a lower court decision requiring the relase of the controversial "torture photos" -- images depicting abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison." Of Barack's attempt to appeal the decision, Rachel Myers (ACLU) responds, "The appeals court was right to find that the photos should be released. As we’ve said all along, they are crucial to the historic record and to holding government officials accountable for their role in torture. It’s disappointing that the Obama administration, which has stated its commitment to transparency and accountability, is continuing to argue for such unnecessary and unfortunate secrecy." Eli Clifton (at the Cult of St. Barack's IPS) has to break the news that Barry's not all the lies Jim and the IPS gang repeatedly promised. Link provided just to laugh at the losers. They whored it for Barry, they have to live with that.

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martin chulov

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oh boy it never ends