Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another US service member dies in Iraq

DoD announces, "The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Airman 1st Class Corey C. Owens, 26, of San Antonio, Texas, died Feb. 17 due to a non-combat related incident at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. He was assigned to the 47th Security Forces Squadron, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. For more information media may contact the Laughlin Air Force Base public affairs office at 830-298-5044." Thank goodness for local press because national press lost interest long ago in the US deaths. Sig Christenson (San Antonio Express-News) reports on the death and quotes Maj Ian Dinesen declaring, "The level of his ability to lead at his rank and short time in the military far surpassed many of his peers. He just had a natural lack as a leader. Definitely a rare quality." In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Christenson notes, "A San Antonio Express-News database shows that Bexar County has lost 61 GIS, with 525 Texans killed." Corey Owens is the second US service member to die in Iraq this week, Shawn Evans died earlier this week.

In other news of the fallen, WAVE 3 News reports that friends and family of Sgt Joseph Ford gathered in New Albany to remember the Iraq War veteran who died at the age of 23 while serving in Iraq with a display in his honor and they quote his widow Karen Ford explaining, "It's been almost three years now, it's been very difficult. [. . .] It's something that needed to be done because there really hasn't been any memorial put up other than a small brick at the Red Cross in Evansville. It helps with a sense of closure." Jenna Esarey (Louisville Courier-Journal) reports, "Ford's sacrifice was recognized with the dedication of a shadowbox containing a folded American flag, Ford's picture, biography and all of his ribbons, awards and medals from his military career. Approximately 75 people turned out for the dedication, including many members of the HQ & HQ Troop of the 1st Squadron, 152nd Cavalry Regiment based at the armory." Esarey quotes Dalarie Ford, his mother, explaining, "I really can't celebrate Mother's Day anymore" due to her son having died on Mother's Day in 2008.

Louisiana's Town Talk notes this week saw 20 send-off ceremonies for 3,000 of the state's National Guard who are stopping off at Camp Shelby prior to deploying to Iraq. The article offers many service members and their families explaining their feelings about the deployment, some are leaving new borns and young children, one will miss a son's high school graduation, Sean Verrette says, "Sends us packages, no matter how small. Local newspapers are the best thing we can get."

Meanwhile British Iraq War veteran Danny Fitzsimons remains imprisoned and awaits a verdict in Iraq. He served in the British military for eight years and was stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as Iraq. He returned to Iraq in the fall of 2009 as a British contractor, or mercenary, accused of being the shooter in a Sunday, August 9, 2009 Green Zone incident in which 1 British contractor, Paul McGuigan, and 1 Australian contractor, Darren Hoare, died and one Iraqi, Arkhan Madhi, was injured. The trial has been hold so that the judges could review the psychiatriac evaluation, BBC News reported last month. Tomorrow the verdict is expected. The Manchester Evening News reports, "Danny Fitzsimons could be hanged if found guilty of double murder at an Iraqi hearing tomorrow. His father, Eric, of Whitworth, and younger brother Michael are to visit him in prison in Baghdad before the verdict is delivered."

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley and Jane Fonda -- updated last night and today:

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from David Bacon's "Undocumented Immigrants Stand Up To Chipotle" (The Nation):

Last month six hundred workers at the Chipotle fast food chain were fired in Minnesota.
Their crime? Working.
In the last two years, thousands of others have been fired for the same offense - 2000 young women at Los Angeles sewing machines, 500 apple pickers in eastern Washington, hundreds of janitors in Minnesota and California, and many, many more. They're all victims of the administration's "softer" immigration enforcement strategy.
Its logic is brutal: Make it impossible for 12 million undocumented people in the U.S. to earn a living - to buy food, pay rent, or send money home to their children. Then they'll deport themselves. When their families hear they can't get jobs in the U.S., they won't join those already here.
This inhuman logic convinced Congress to pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. For 25 years employers have had to verify workers' immigration status, and cannot legally employ people without papers. The real impact, though, is on workers. It's become a crime to hold a job.
The justification has always been the same. Undocumented immigrants will go home if they can't work. But no one has. Over those 25 years NAFTA and CAFTA, and pro-corporate market reforms in Mexico and other developing countries, profoundly deepened the poverty driving people from their homes. More people came than ever before.

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david bacon

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends