Thursday, August 13, 2009

Danny Fitzsimons legal team says Iraq will scapegoat their client

Danny Fitzsimons is facing a trial in Iraq and could be sentenced to death. He served in the British military for eight years and was stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He is 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. Eric and Liz Fitzsimons spoke to the BBC (link has video) and noted that they are not asking for Danny to 'walk.' They stated that he has to take responsibility. But they want a fair trial and do not believe that is possible in Iraq. His legal defense team doesn't believe he can get a fair trial either stating today that the British military's presence in Iraq during the war means that Fitzsimons will be used as scapegoat. We'll come back to his legal team but first Deborah Haynes and Richard Ford (Times of London) report on Danny Fitzsimon's legal problems prior to going to Iraq (going apparently last week):

Last November Mr Fitzsimons was given a one-year suspended sentence for robbery and possessing prohibited ammunition, the Crown Prosecution Service said. The Greater Manchester Probation Service said that it was conducting a review to establish whether the quality of supervision he was given met the required standard. Early findings indicate that he had complied with the terms of his supervision, which required him to report to his probation officer every two weeks. His last appointment was at the end of July and he is understood not to have voiced his plan to accept the security job in Iraq, which would have meant breaking the terms of his supervision. That could have resulted in Mr Fitzsimons being brought to court. He was due to return to court in Bolton on August 24 for sentencing over a public order offence.

Danny's mother, father and step-mother have been very clear about their belief that he was suffering from PTSD. The article explains how the arrest should have raised some flags. The arrest may or may not stem from PSTD but it does not appear he was receiving treatment for that condition and it does appear treatment was needed.

If he's already on probation, that's another reason to move the case to England because he appears to have potentially broken the rules of his probation. Jerome Taylor (Independent of London) quotes Danny's father . . . from the BBC interview . . . which Taylor forgets to note (link at the top and a partial transcript, including the section Taylor's quoting, can be found in Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot"). He does report that Danny "was discharged from the army after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had been working in Iraq for just six weeks as a private security guard when he allegedly shot dead two fellow guards inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone following a drunken argument."

The Guardian of Manchester has a podcast titled Guardian Daily podcast. We've linked to it before. Today Jon Dennis speaks with John Tipple who is part of Danny Fitzsimon's legal team.

John Tipple: We would need to go back a long way if we were going to remedy the situation as it is in Iraq today, wouldn't we? Because this has been an illegal war and the mess that that's left behind it is incredible. And the very idea that a British subject would get any kind of justice out there -- especially given our client's history with the British armed forces -- is also incredible. We do not trust the Iraqi authorities and we want to see our client back in the UK instead tried here so he can answer to his peers.

Jon Dennis: But nevertheless, the very serious offenses that Mr. Fitsimons is accused of did happen on Iraqi soil. Shouldn't they have the right to try a suspect under their own system?

John Tipple: Well we challenge whether it is a viable system in any case. But "no" would be my answer to that. Since 1861 there's been a statute in this country that makes provisions to try people here. And we have established a legal system in this country by serious effort and by making sure that the law is as sound as possible. None of that process has taken place in Iraq. It's in this country that the law has been tested and it's in this country that Daniel should be tried.

Jon Dennis: You've spoken to Mr. Fitzsimons. What's his mood at the moment?

John Tipple: As you might imagine, he's a very concerned and somewhat confused man. He's being processed and that process is not only intimidating, as you might imagine, because he clearly knows the consequences. Everybody saw Saddah Hussein strung up and the farce that that was and for those of us who do not believe in hanging or capital punishment looking at what goes on Iraq is aberrant.

Jon Dennis: What sort of assistance are you getting from the security company that employed Mr. Fitzsimons?

John Tipple: I can tell you that I consider that that company has a duty of care. And if they look past their corporate image than they should show humanity and a duty of care to Daniel Fitzsimons and they should facilitate his defense including the case that we've made to the request that we've made to them directly which is to be flown out of Baghdad today because clearly my client is in a state of confusion and he's getting legal advice from who knows and what qualifications these people have? We need to get professionals out there to help him properly.

Jon Dennis: Does-does Mr. Fitzsimons' family believe that he was in a fit mental state to take what must have been a very stressful job working for a security company in Baghdad ?

John Tipple: When Daniel Fitzsimons was in the Parachute Regiment is when he was damaged there through effectively Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he-he clearly had that when he was in the British Army.

Jon Dennis: And so you think that possibly not, that possibly he wasn't in a fit mental state really to take such a stressful job?

John Tipple: I think that is a serious question that you have asked there and I think the answer to it is according to the information that's before me is no he's not.

Jon Dennis: Are you getting much assistance or any assistance from the British Foreign Office in your attempts to get him tried in the UK?

John Tipple: I'm getting -- I am actually having some very good contact with the Foreign Office and I've expressed my concerns to them and they have concerns themselves But we've handed over to the Iraqi authorities -- whoever they are and whatever credibility they may have It certainly is not a satisfactory situation. But they've handed over to them and this is a consequence of the whole debacle of the Iraqi War. And our client is going to be used as a scapegoat. That is our real fear: that he gets -- he gets treated because of the hatred that the British army and British forces in general have clearly earned themselves.

Meanwhile, Gloria Steinem is having a birthday and, traditionally, that celebration has been used to raise awareness of Ms. magazine:

Ms. Magazine

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Gloria Steinem photo by Jenny Warburg

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Half her lifetime ago, Gloria launched Ms. magazine - a brazen and rebellious act of independence in the 1970s when the feminist movement was either denigrated or dismissed in the mainstream media - if it was mentioned at all. Today, Ms. is recognized as one of the top 51 U.S. magazines of all time.

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With Aimee Allison, David Solnit authored the seminal Army Of None -- a must read and, sadly, one of the few books of this era you can say that about. (It's a wonderful book.) David Solnit notes an action taking place this weekend:

Protest Chevron – Join the Mobilization for Climate Justice!


SATURDAY, August 15th, 2009

Richmond BART Station
(16th St & MacDonald Avenue)

11:30am Festival/Rally, 1:00pm March on Chevron oil refinery, followed by nonviolent civil disobedience

More info: 510 550 2836,
Website: http://actforclimatejustice. org/west


A Welcome by Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
Dr. Henry Clark (West County Toxics Coalition)
Ana Orozco (Communities for a Better Environment)
Torm Nompraseurt (Laotian Organizing Project - APEN)
Jeff Ritterman (Physicians for Social Responsibility)

And revolutionary PERFORMERS:
Deuce Eclipse & Bangdata ( bangdata)
Kiwi (
Teatro Familias Unidas of Somos Mayfair (
Virtuous( )

Brass Liberation Orchestra (
& Spoken Word Artists (TBD)

**Please come prepared for the march! Bring water and prepare for sun. Transportation alternatives will be provided for those in need and shuttles provided back to BART.

In solidarity with Richmond community groups, the Bay Area will come together THIS SATURDAY to fight for climate justice, healthy communities and healthy jobs in Richmond, the Bay and communities around the world.

Tired of hearing about climate change? Then do something. In order to bring our climate back to the safe zone and avoid catastrophic consequences, we need to make massive emissions cuts now. There’s only one way we can achieve that: we need to turn the political heat way up — — and push back the corporate and business lobbyists who use false solutions (clean coal and carbon trading) to keep polluting and profiting.

This action marks the launch of the Mobilization for Climate Justice West (MCJ-West) whose goal is to empower community-based movements and networks to lead a global movement in confronting the root causes of climate change--a global economic system that creates poverty, war and climate chaos.

We will gather at the Richmond BART station for a festival/rally of inspirational live performances, speakers, live art and food. At 1pm, we will march towards the Chevron oil refinery, where there will be a protest and nonviolent civil disobedience. JOIN US!!!

Join us to support

  • Clean air and healthy jobs for Richmond & the Bay! Cap the Crude!
    Rather than expand the refinery to burn dirtier, heavier, more polluting crude oil - Chevron should immediately agree to Cap the Crude, make the refinery cleaner and safer for the community and its workers and shift to renewable clean energy.
  • Corporations Out of Copenhagen!
    People, not corporations, should drive the critical climate talks in Copenhagen. We want Chevron and all corporate lobbyists out of these talks, while asserting people power the voices of frontline communities.
  • Environmental, Labor and Economic Justice!
    Chevron is trying to drive a wedge between community interests of jobs and public health - in a community needing BOTH. For the long-term resilience of our communities, we need a clean, democratic, safe energy economy that creates local, family-supporting jobs in Richmond.

What You Can Do :

  • Participate in nonviolent civil disobedience: Action Orientation at Noon at Rally site.

  • Help paint and make signs, flags and banner for Aug 15 at our next art build!
    Thursday, Aug 13, 5-8pm at 326 Clifton Street, Oakland
    (off the South end of College Ave, just before it runs into Broadway - just a few blocks from Rockridge BART)
    Please bring friends to paint and snacks/drinks to share. Questions?: David 510 967-7377

  • Become a volunteer to help on Aug 15! Interested?: Email Joseph Volunteer check-in at 10am on Saturday.

  • Come out on August 15! Bring you friends, colleagues, and family!
  • Join us for MCJ-West's future actions and events - including West Coast Climate Convergence (Sept 18-20) and or next mobilizations on Oct 24th and Nov 30th!

  • Learn more by visiting our Website: http://actforclimatejustice. org/west or watching our video teach-in on climate justice, Chevron and Copenhagen, filmed by Bill Carpenter, or download, print out, copy and give out flyers.

Mobilization for Climate Justice West is a collaboration of:

Art in Action – Asian-Pacific Environmental Network – Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice – Bay Localize – Burmese American Democratic Association – Communities for a Better Environment – Contra Costa Greens – Direct Action to Stop the War – Earth First! – Environmental Justice & Climate Change Initiative – Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) – Forest Ethics – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives – Global ExchangeGlobal Justice Ecology Project – Greenpeace – Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice – Headrush – International Forum on Globalization – Justice in Nigeria Now! – International Rivers – Movement Generation – Pacific Environment – Poor Magazine – Rainforest Action Network – Richmond Mayor's Task Force on Environmental Justice and Health – Richmond Progressive AllianceRuckus SocietyRising Tide North AmericaSolidarity – West County Toxics Coalition – Youth In Focus –

The following community sites updated last night:

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends