Saturday, June 05, 2010

US still deploying to Iraq

The Iraq War has not ended. The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs issued the following yesterday:

Approximately 30 Soldiers and three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Wisconsin Army National Guard received a mobilization order this week for an active duty mission later this year to Iraq.
The Soldiers come from three West Bend-based units - Detachment 1, Company C; Detachment 2, Company D; and Detachment 2, Company E, all of 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment - and were notified of the alert and mobilization earlier this week.
The Soldiers will report to their armory in November of this year and then link up with the rest of 2nd Battalion for training at a U.S. Army base in Texas before deploying overseas in support of Operation New Dawn (formerly Operation Iraqi Freedom). The mobilization is expected to last about one year, to include time spent training in Texas.
The mobilizing units were until recently part of the West Bend-based 832nd Medical Company, a Wisconsin Army National Guard air ambulance unit boasting 100 members and nine helicopters. In February, the 832nd Medical Company reorganized into seven separate elements as part of the Army's realignment of aviation units including creating general support aviation battalions comprised of medical, utility, cargo, maintenance, general support and forward support companies. The reorganization was officially recognized during a May 2 ceremony at Fort McCoy.
The 2/135th is based out of the Colorado Army National Guard and has assets in Nebraska, Louisiana, Kansas, California and Wisconsin. Detachment 1, Company C, is a subordinate unit to a Nebraska Army National Guard air ambulance company. Detachment 2, Company D is part of a maintenance company in Colorado, and Detachment 2, Company E is part of a forward support company also in Colorado.
The four remaining units, which are not mobilizing at this time, are affiliated with 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation is based out of the Indiana Army National Guard - Detachment 4, Headquarters Company; Detachment 5, Company D (maintenance); Detachment 5, Company E (forward support), and Company F (-). The Wisconsin detachments are attached to aviation companies in Indiana, while Company F— a medical air ambulance unit - is based in West Bend and has a detachment in Arkansas. The 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation also has aviation assets in Illinois, South Carolina, Kentucky and California.
The former 832nd Medical Company has been called to active duty frequently in recent years. In 1997 the unit served at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Stewart, Ga., to replace an active-duty air ambulance unit sent to the Balkans. In 2003, approximately 45 members of the 832nd provided air ambulance services at Fort Lewis, Wash., for approximately 27 months as part of Operation Noble Eagle. In 2005, the 832nd sent three UH-1 Huey helicopters and about 20 crew members to the New Orleans area to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery operations. The 832nd again sent three UH-1 helicopters in September 2008 to North Little Rock, Ark., to assist with Hurricane Ike response efforts. In March of 2009 the 832nd was part of a Wisconsin National Guard effort to assist with flood duty in North Dakota.
The 832nd finally traded in their versatile UH-1 helicopters for the UH-60 Black Hawk on May 3 of 2009.

Meanwhile will democracy come to Saratoga Springs? June 19th a Flag Day march will take place. Dennis Yusko (Albany Times Union) reports that the area's Elks lodge is banning Veterans For Peace from participating in the parade. Grand Dragon Kenny Tubbs is quoted snarling, "If you want to protest the flag, you have 364 days a year to do it." Actually, Kenny, there are 365 days in a year and maybe if you'd take the thumb out of your ass, you could've counted correctly? However, Veterans For Peace isn't attempting to protest the flag they just wnat to march:

Ex-service members in the VFP chapter say they want to march as themselves in a respectful manner, as they did in the city's Memorial Day Parade. The Elks have made them feel like a subversive, said Michael McGraw of Malta who fought in Vietnam with the Army in 1970 and 1971."We're part of the American quilt, and we feel we're being denied representation under the American flag."

Maybe the entire parade should be canceled? If Kenny Tubbs can't grasp what democracy is, he really isn't fit -- Grand Dragon of the Elks or not -- to be leading any parade supposedly recognizing and celebrating a cherished American totem.

For those not interested in the petty tyranny of Kenny Tubbs, you can refer to Mike Tharp's column (Merced Sun Star) on veterans of various wars joining together.

Thursday's snapshot included the following:

Meanwhile in England, Owen Bowcott (Guardian) reports on what would be England's second known deportation of Iraqis -- forcible deportation. The last one, you may remember, resulted in a British plane landing in Iraq and Iraqi guards refusing to allow everyone to disembark so the plane returned to England. Bowcott notes that approximately 70 Iraqis will be forcibly deported Wednesday, June 9th: "The operation, deporting them via the central provinces of Iraq, is in direct contravention of United Nations guidelines. The UN high commissioner for refugees opposes forced returns to the area because of continuing suicide bombings and violence. The UN guidance was explicitly restated last autumn after the UK attempted to deport 44 men to Baghdad. That abortive operation resulted in Iraqi airport officials refusing to admit all but 10 of the men. The rest were told to reboard the plane and flown back to the UK."

Iraqi LGBT has issued a statement on the deportations:

London, 4 June 2010 - The Iraqi LGBT group has today expressed its 'deep concern' about reports that the British Home Office is planning to return 100 Iraqi refugees to Baghdad Wednesday 9 June - despite a recent UK report saying this was not safe.

"This group will certainly contain deeply closeted gay people and they will be at extreme risk of torture and murder in Baghdad," said Group leader Ali Hili.

Iraqi LGBT say that the Iraqi government provide no security for gays - infact the opposite as its members have reported the involvement of both police and Interior Ministry forces in handing over gay people to militias with either their tortured bodies being subsequently discovered or them disappearing.

The group has just released new testimony about Iraqi government complicity on YouTube, see

Said Hili, "the Western media is not reporting the level of violence continuing in Baghdad. Bombings and assassinations continue to happen almost daily - this is why the United Nations said it is unsafe to remove refugees to that city. The lack of reporting means that the Home Office think they can get away with this inhuman action."

Amnesty International said in April that there was evidence that members of the security forces and other authorities were encouraging the targeting of people suspected to be gay.

The report added that killers of gay men could find protection under the law, as it offers lenient sentences for those committing crimes with an “honourable motive”.

"We condemn the proposed removals by the British government and the Iraqi government's complicity. Many of these people are opponents of the regime and if returned will end up being killed."

It has been reported by the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) that the 100 refugees have been screened by UK Border Agency 'ambassadors' pretending to be Iraqi embassy representatives at a detention centre. Refugees have reported being threatened by those 'interviewing' them.

"We are very familiar with such threats," said Ali. "I and other members of our group in exile have faced this, as have our family members. Many of our members have been murdered in Iraq and we have had safe houses invaded and people massacred. If these people are removed many of them will also be murdered."

Iraqi LGBT has cataloged 738 murders in the past five years.

The group has backed the call by the IFIR for the British government to end what IFIR calls "this inhuman policy" of refugee removals to Iraq.

Notes for editors

1. Iraqi LGBT is a human rights organisation with members inside Iraq and in exile. It provides safe houses for gays, lesbians and transgender people and has helped people escape into exile.

2. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees campaigns for the rights of Iraqi refugees and against forcible deportations and detention. The Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq campaigns against the forcible deportation and detention of Iraqi refugees.

3. The flight will be the first to Iraq since the 14th October, when ten people were deported to Baghdad and the thirty-three others on the plane were sent back by the Iraqi authorities.
See for more information

4. At least four million Iraqis have been forced to flee either to another part of Iraq or abroad since the war began in 2003

5. According to Home Office figures, 632 people were forcibly deported to the KRG region in the north between 2005 and 2008. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees estimates that the figure, with the monthly charter flights deporting 50 people at a time since the beginning of 2009, currently stands at approximately 900.

6. Iraqi LGBT has worked with and supported the work of IFIR for several years.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Finally, at MakeThemAccountable, Caro is taking on a Kool-Aid drinker in "Because he is a sell-out:"

It is, indeed, one of the main problems with blogging that white heterosexual male bloggers who were lucky enough to catch the beginning of the online revolution have nothing but contempt for most other bloggers. They have the exact same faults they criticize the mainstream media for: closed minds to new ideas and a herd mentality.

I don't read any of them any more.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends