Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Spain wants answers about the assault on Camp Ashraf

Since long before the start of the Iraq War, Iranian dissidents have lived in Iraq. Following the US invasion, the US made these MEK residents of Camp Ashraf -- Iranian refuees who had been in Iraq for decades -- surrender weapons and also put them under US protection. They also extracted a 'promise' from Nouri that he would not move against them. July 28th the world saw what Nouri's 'promises' were actually worth. Since that Nouri-ordered assault in which at least 11 residents died, he's continued to bully the residents.

Fiona Govan (Telegraph of London)reports, "A Spanish judge has opened an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by Iraqi authorities at a camp for Iranian refugees in July 2009, the first international probe of its kind since the fall of Saddam. Spain's National Court number 4 ruled in favour of opening an investigation into a complaint filed by victims of a raid by Iraqi soldiers and police on the Ashraf camp which left 11 people dead and dozens injured." Ciaran Giles (AP) adds that Judge Fernando Andreu is calling on testimony to begin March 8th in Madrid and has issued a court write for Iraq's Lt Gen Abdol Hossein al Shemmari to provide testimony. BBC News notes, "Judge Andreu said that the Geneva Convention applied to the case, as it addresses the protection of civilians in wartime. Another factor was that Iraq was not investigating the incident properly, he added." AFP quotes al-Shemmari stating, "I am innocent. The force that entered the camp came from Baghdad, and they were an army force, not from the police. After they entered the camp, they asked Diyala police to establish a police station in the camp, and this is what we did."

Meanwhile in the US, Tim Linn (Leavenworth Times) reports, "About 150 soldiers from Fort Leavenworth will be deploying to Iraq some time this month, post officials said Tuesday.
The soldiers are from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, one of the five companies in the larger 40th MP Battalion." The send-off ceremony is this Friday at ten in the morning on the base. You can pair that with the following from yesterday's snapshot:

Paul Purpura (Times-Picayune) reports an estimated 115 members of Louisiana's National Guard will be deploying to Iraq and a send-off ceremony took place yesterday in Baton Rouge. Rebeka Allen (Advocate) adds that Capt John Carmouche got married last March right before he deployed to Iraq and got back in December only to now prepare for Capt Tonya Carmouche (his wife) to deploy as part of the estimated 115 Army National Guard members headed to Iraq. Hatzel Vela (ABC 15) reports 36 members of the Arizona's National Guard are heading to Fort Hood, Texas tomorrow "for two months of training" before deploying to Iraq. The Iraq War has not ended.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

8 hours ago

And we'll close with this from the Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Daniel Akaka:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Barack Obama signed into law the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010. The bill was introduced by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) last year to make improvements to the education benefit for veterans:

“The young men and women in the Armed Forces provide an incredible service to our nation,” said Senator Akaka, a World War II veteran who attended college on the original GI Bill. “With the signing of this bill, young veterans will now have an easier time utilizing the education benefits they have earned. I applaud President Obama and my colleagues in Congress for enacting this important legislation.”

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act (S. 3447) provides for a streamlined, less complex, and more equitable program for veterans who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001.

The new law expands the number of eligible veterans by including a group of National Guard/Reserves veterans who were inadvertently omitted from the original legislation in 2008. It increases educational opportunities by paying benefits for on-job and vocational training. It also provides an annual $1,000 book allowance to service members training while on active duty.

S. 3447 was passed by the Senate on December 13, 2010, and approved by the House of Representatives on December 16.


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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends