Thursday, August 06, 2009

Funeral for British hostage killed in Iraq

But Lizzette believes Mr Brown could have used his own powerful position in the efforts to bring back her brother.
Lizzette told the Advertiser: "To me he [Gordon Brown] could have done something.
"At the end of the day he is the one with the power in the country, isn't he?
"I don't know how my mum and dad feel, but I think a lot more could have been done than they said they were doing.
"I think they knew more as well."
Lizzette added: "At the end of the day, any questions we asked, they took the policy that they could not say anything. They did not want to build our hopes up.
"But I thought they knew more than they were letting on."

That's Lizzette Swindlehurst, sister of Jason Swindlehurst, from the Skelmersdale Advertiser's "Gordon Brown could have done more, says Iraq hostage's sister." Mark Johnson (Skelmersdale Advertiser) quotes her explaing, "They [doubters] were originally saying he had committed suicide. He would not have taken his own life. He would not have done that. Only people who knew him knew he would not do that. He had too much to live for -- he had a little girl." Steve Orme (Liverpool Echo) covers the funeral yesterday. Orme quotes father Russell Swindlehurst stating, "We may not have agreed with their [the government's] policy on the news blackout, but who is to say if the media was informed of everything that went on, the outcome would have been different?"

Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell, Alec Maclachlan, Alan McMenemy and Peter Moore, all British citizens, were kidnapped in Baghdad May 29, 2007. Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell were dead when their bodies were turned over to the British authorities after the two leaders of the group bragging about having done the kidnappings were released from US custody. (The same group, and why the brothers had been imprisoned originally by the US, bragged about their actions in assaulting a US base and killing 5 American soldiers.) The British government considers Alec and Alan to be dead (the families remain hopeful) and it is thought (by the British government) that Peter Moore is alive. The group taking credit for the kidnappings and for the deaths of 5 US soldiers is alternately called the Righteous League or the League of Righteous by the press. The press? They got press this week, see Monday's snapshot, because Nouri met with them to bring them back into the government. As noted in the Tuesday snapshot, the press spin that the group has given up violence is false. Their spokesperson says they will not attack Iraqis but that they will continue to go after US service members.

Peter Moore is assumed alive and Alec and Adam may be. And Nouri's welcoming the group back to the 'political' process in Iraq? Nouri's spokespeople refute claims made by Gordon Brown's flacks. They claim he's pressing the group on the British citizens. Nouri's spokesperson dismissed that idea and stated it's not a concern for Nouri.

Tuesday the US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Division - South died of a non-combat related injury August 4. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin." The Department of Defense announced yesterday: " Pvt. Keiffer P. Wilhelm, 19, of Plymouth, Ohio, died August 4 in Maysan province, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation." Andrew Kreighbaum (El Paso Times) reports, "Wilhelm, an infantryman from Plymouth, Ohio, enlisted in the army in December after graduating from Willard High School last year. His father, Adrian Wilhelm, said his son joined the Army to be like his older brother, who is in the U.S. Air Force. Adrian Wilhelm said Keiffer Wilhelm was the best man at his brother's wedding in Arizona on May 7 and was sent to Kuwait soon afterward. The wedding was the last time he saw his son."

Meanwhile, the Iraq War is not over. Monica Hernandez (Jackson, MS' WLBT -- link has text and video) reports on 170 members of the 114th military police command that is deploying to Iraq. Ruth Ingram (The Clinton News) reports on the departure ceremony, "The ceremony, moved from Arrow Field inside to the auditorium after clouds grew gray, attracted at least 1,000 supporters and family. The 750-seat room was filled; family and friends lined the walls, sat on steps to the stage, and even had to watch from outside the room." Erin Toner (WUWM, link has text and audio) reports on Russell Seager of the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, a 51-year-old nurse who is deploying to Iraq.

We'll again note this from Amnesty International:

Amnesty International Media Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

AI Index: MDE 14/024/2009

Iraq: Concern for detained Camp Ashraf residents

Contact: AIUSA media office at 202.544.0200x302

Amnesty International is urgently seeking information about 36 Iranian residents of Camp Ashraf who have been detained since Iraqi security forces seized control of the camp on 28 July 2009 and have been moved to an unknown location in Baghdad amid allegations that some or all of them have been beaten and tortured. According to Abdul Nassir al-Mehdawi, governor of Iraq's Diyala province, quoted by Reuters press agency, "Their cases are being investigated now. They are being charged with inciting trouble. We will deal with them according to Iraqi law; we won't send them back to Iran". It remains unclear, however, whether the 36 have been allowed access to lawyers, contact with their families or any medical treatment that they need.

Amnesty International is urging the Iraqi authorities to disclose the whereabouts of the 36, to allow them immediate access to lawyers, to investigate, fully and impartially, allegations that they were tortured or beaten while held at a provisional detention facility near Camp Ashraf before their transfer to Baghdad, and to ensure that they are being treated humanely.

Amnesty International is also continuing to urge the Iraqi authorities to establish an immediate, independent inquiry into allegations that Iraqi security forces used excessive force when taking control of Camp Ashraf last week. According to unofficial sources, at least eight camp residents were killed and many others injured. 'Ali al-Dabbagh, the spokesperson for the Iraq government, has acknowledged that seven camp residents were killed but said that "five of them threw themselves in front of Iraqi police vehicles" and that two others were shot by other Iranians when they sought to leave the camp. He said that two members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed.


Camp Ashraf, situated about 60km north-east of Baghdad, has hosted some 3,400 members or supporters of thePeople's Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition organization, since the 1980s. They were formerly under the protection of US forces in Iraq but in recent months they have come under increasing pressure from the Iraqi authorities to relocate to other parts of Iraq or go abroad.

Public Document

# # #

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email:

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Okay, Google's screwed up AGAIN.

  • posted by Elaine at Like Maria Said Paz - 11 hours ago
    I believe * we are equal. * we are all special. * we all have something to offer. I do not believe in * campaigns to fire people we disagree with. * attacks on the American public. * 'watchdogs' and a...
  • posted by Mikey Likes It! at Mikey Likes It! - 12 hours ago
    Hump day, hump day. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed about "Dave Zirin and Aimee Allison lie but it's 'okay' it's Palin." I'm glad so many enjoyed it. My cell phone's died (I got a point). I don't know what...

posted by Trina at Trina's Kitchen - 1 hour ago
Sorry, a new community newsletter is starting and there was a last minute roundtable that many of us participated in. I'm so tired. Let me take a moment to play proud Mommy of my adult children. My son Mik...

Where are Wally and Cedric? Where's Stan?

I'm working on it.

posted by cedricsbigmix at Cedric's Big Mix - 2 minutes ago

posted by Stan at Oh Boy It Never Ends - 10 hours ago
As C.I. noted earlier this week, Bob Somerby did the best media criticism of last month. (I will add "and outside of this community." C.I. solo and C.I. with Ava topped him.) I say that because Betty and ...

Okay, we need Wally. If I've forgotten someone and you catch it, e-mail and I'll note them this evening during "I Hate The War." We'll try for Wally in the next entry. Google's acting up, I can't get any site to display -- any Blogger/Blogspot. I grabbed the above via Google Reader (which is why you have opening lines).

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Panetta Seeks To Whitewash CIA Crimes" (Veterans Today):
CIA Director Leon Panetta’s article titled “It’s Time To Move On” published in the August 4th Miami Herald is a stunning disservice to the principles of justice. It not only calls for whitewashing the Agency’s past horrific crimes, which have included torture and murder, but openly advocates the use of force and violence. Panetta writes, “the focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action.” In CIA lingo, “covert action” has always meant dirty tricks, from blackmailing to assassinating foreign leaders, and from pouring bribe money to influence elections to overthrowing governments. Covert action is not your church Tuesday night bingo party. And these criminal acts are invariably performed in sneaky secret because if the American people learned of them they would never tolerate the spy agency’s cruelty and tax waste. Besides, some CIA crimes could make you puke. And when Panetta charges that Congress “threatens to distract the CIA” he is revealing his fear that at any House or Senate intelligence committee hearings his Agency will have an awful lot of embarrassing crimes to account for. Yet, as reporter Tim Weiner points out in his aptly named “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA(Anchor),” Congressional committees “need to do their work—ask hard questions, demand answers, and report back to the citizenry. They have been derelict in this duty for much of the past three decades, but their conduct since 9/11 has bordered on criminal negligence.” But when Congress changes course and tries to do its job, Panetta sees it as a “threat.” At the least, the CIA needs to be called to account for its murder of Manadel al-Jamadi, who was pulled from his Baghdad home and family on November 4, 2003, and beaten to death by the CIA and whose killers have never been called to account. The CIA tried to blame that one on Navy Seals but it has evidently committed too many like murders to blame them all on the military. As Jane Mayer writes in her book “The Dark Side,”(Anchor), after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke the military “punished more than 200 soldiers for wrongdoing” but “the CIA underwent no public accountability process.” In December, 2004, the Washington Post revealed the CIA was mistreating prisoners at Bagram military base in Afghanistan. That month, Mayer writes, “two Afghan prisoners…were beaten to death by their interrogators” and a third prisoner “died of hypothermia under the auspices of the CIA in the notorious prison known as the ‘Salt Pit,’ also in Afghanistan.” Mayer notes the CIA was implicated in four other killings at the time as well. Likely, there are scores or hundreds more, where victims have been tortured and butchered in secret illegal CIA-backed dungeons from Morocco to Poland to Thailand. How else explain the Agency’s refusal to allow the Red Cross access to its Kabul, Afghanistan, prison?

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