Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chris Hill to appear before Congress today

James Morrison (Washington Times) reports that Chris Hill, US Ambassador to Iraq, may face questions today regarding why he more or less ignored ("downplayed") a letter from over "500 members of the British Parliament" warning that Camp Ashraf residents were in danger (the residents were assaulted July 28th):

The British letter, organized by Robin Corbett, a member of the House of Lords, said the "threatening developments" included reports that Iraqi officials prevented trucks carrying food from reaching the camp and blocked lawyers, legislators and relatives of the residents from visiting the camp "in violation of international law."
"We ask you to urgently intervene to compel the Iraqis to lift the siege of Ashraf and restrictions on the entry of all goods and people and uphold the judicial protection of the residents," the parliamentarians said.
"We believe that Washington both has a moral and legal obligation under international law ... to guarantee the safety and security of the residents of the camp."

Congress might also try asking Hill about any written agreement the US government may have previously entered into with the residents of Camp Ashraf. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Ahmad Forqui told Aldo Forbice (Italian Radio), "Every one of us in the camp," states Ahmad Foruqi, "had signed an agreement with the American forces in 2003. According to this agreement, they were responsible for our safety and security. However, they did not do anything when we were attacked."

If any such agreement exists, the American people need to know about it, need to know what was promised. And, if it exists, the US government needs to explain where the 'expire date' on it is.

Hill appears before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this morning and before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon.

James Morrison also notes that US House Rep Bob Filner met yesterday with activists demonstrating outside the White House to demand the administration protects the residents of Camp Ashraf. It's amazing how little attention this issue has recieved until you grasp how -- based in New York or not -- Pathetic Media takes its cues from NYC. In California, this is a huge issue but we have a large number of Iranian-Americans and Congressional reps from California make up the bulk of the Congressional voices on this issue.

Turning to service issues, AP reports on an overview of the issue of gays and lesbians serving openly in the US military. They wrongly identify the overview as a "legal analysis." If they've properly summed it up, it is not a "legal analysis" because there are huge gaping holes in the court 'history' in the US on this issue. The overview does not focus just on the Supreme Court findings. But the overview seems unaware that the courts did find the US military could not discharge an openly gay man whose sexuality was long known and didn't impact adversely on his performance appraisals. We may go into that tonight. We've discussed it here before (and at Third) but it's apparently forgotten history and you know Coward Zinn's not touching it. And an 'analysis' wouldn't worry about Bowers v. Hardwick (which almost went the other way in 1986 -- and might have had a gay clerk come out to a Justice) which is moot as a result of Lawrence v. Texas. But there are many lower court rulings that the overview seems unaware of. AP also tells you that there's proposed legislation in the House. AP forgets to tell you that it was introduced earlier this year by a woman no longer in Congress (now working for the administration) and has enough co-sponsors that, if Nancy Pelosi gave a damn about the issue, it would have already come to a vote. There's no leadership in the Senate. There's no movement on the issue. Americans were repeatedly lied to earlier this year when it was said Ted Kennedy was going to 'lead' on the issue. As pointed out then (to boos and hisses from drive-bys), Ted wasn't in any place to lead. Recent events have demonstrated that to be true. Congress isn't serious about ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. When they tell you they are, you're either dealing with a naive member of Congress or a liar. That's reality.

Michelle Roberts (AP) reports on the decreased coverage of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War and how it effects the service members injured serving in Iraq. Capt Sam Brown is recovering from an Afghanistan bombing and he tells Roberts,
"Unless you see it all the time, it's just kind of easy not to remember. The war is definitely not over."

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oh boy it never ends