Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, CIA Director David Petraeus talks to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Iraq's political crisis, the State Dept and White House remain silent on the targeting of Iraqi youth, French oil giant Total is interested in a deal with the KRG, the US is bound by international law to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf, and more.
Today's Zayman notes Turkish media is reporting that US CIA Director David Petraues visited Turkey today to speak with the country's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Iraq and Syria with an empahsis on "the latest specter of sectarian strife in Iraq amid its worst political conundrum."  AFP adds, "The talks were not part of Erdogan's official itinerary."
The political conundrum?  It includes many aspects.  Let's start with Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  Nouri al-Maliki has charged him with terrorism and issued an arrest warrant.  He waited until al-Hashemi was in the Kurdistan Regional Government (three semin-autonomous provinces which do not answer to Baghdad) to issue the warrant.  al-Hashemi chose to remain in the KRG where he has been a guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.  al-Hashemi has asked that his trial be moved to Kirkuk where he feels he could get a fair trial.  He does not feel he will get one in Baghdad and he's correct. This was demonstrated when 9 members of the Baghdad judiciary held a press conference to announce that Tareq al-Hashemi -- who has not been before a court of law -- was guilty.  These statements (and others) were made in violation of the Constitution and of the oath the judges took.  They should actually be censored for their comments.  But they were doing Nouri's bidding and no one will hold them accountable.
At the start of the week, the Sunday Zaman reported al-Hashemi states "he has Turkey's support not because he is a Sunni politician but because Turkey is protesting injustice in Iraq's worst political crisis since the US invasion nine years ago."
Aqeel Abas (Al Mada) reviews and notes that Nouri al-Maliki was declaring in July 2010 (four months after his State of Law came in second to Iraqiya in the 2010 elections) that Ayad Allawi would never be prime minister. As Abas observes, Nouri appeared to claim the right to determine who his successor would be -- a right not written into the Constitution -- and Abas explores how this was part of many statements from Nouri which have run contrary to the Constitution and to democracy. It's noted that the judiciary has become less and less independent. The Erbil Agreement, Tareq al-Hashemi and more are noted.

The 2010 elections did not go Nouri's way. He should have, therefore, not been named prime minister-designate and given a chance at creating a Cabinet. He knew that but he also knew he had the White House's support (and the Iranian government's) so he refused to budget creating a stalemate, Political Stalemate I, that lasted eight months. This ended only after the blocs agreed to the US-brokered Erbil Agreement which found political blocs making very concessions. It also allowed Nouri to remain as prime minister. When he got that aspect, he refused to follow the Erbil Agreement. He refused to stand by what he had signed off on. Since last summer, the Kurds have been calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement and Iraqiya joined them. Iraq is in Political Stalemate II and has been for some time. Hurriyet Daily News reports today that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi states, "There are three options for the future [of Iraq]: Either a full partnership [will be implemented], as we agreed in Arbil, or we'll hold an early election. Thirdly, the National Alliance [could] replace Nouri al-Maliki [Iraq's prime minister] until the next elections."
Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports that the Kurdistan Alliance declared today that they remained committed to an independent Kurdistan. The article never uses "independence."  It repeatedly uses "Kurdish revolution" and talks around the point.  The point of the KRG, the dream -- as Jalal Talabani often refers to it -- is an independent Kurdistan.
Late yesterday, Alsumaria TV rans a story with a headline that Washington (DC) has strongly condemned the targeting of Iraqi youth. I wish. DC hasn't said a damn word. You might think it was James Jeffrey, US Ambassador to Iraq, speaking out. You'd be wrong there too. He's not in Iraq. He's in DC. The person offering a condemnation was the Embassy spokesperson Michael W. McClellan who told Alsumaria -- in an interview -- that the US strongly condemns the violence and the targeting based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. I believe McClellan's been with the State Dept for 28 years.

Good for him. But DC hasn't condemned the actions. If DC wanted to condemn the actions, Hillary Clinton could have done so to the UN Security Council yesterday or at the UN press conference she gave, Mark Toner could have read a statement at the beginning of yesterday's press conference, etc. And of course the White House could have issued a statement via any of the many interviews Barack Obama gave yesterday -- it's more important, apparently, that he yammer on about Peyton Manning than he stick up for the targeted, Jay Carney could have delivered a statement on behalf of the White House, etc.
The administration chose not to take any of those steps. Instead, an embassy spokesperson gave an interview to a TV network most Americans have never heard of and one that broadcasts in Arabic.

Any of the previous steps would have resulted in media coverage.  They really didn't want media coverage.  But, thankfully, that is what they're getting.  Chris Geidner (Metro Weekly) reports (correctly) that the US Embassy in Baghdad called out the killings and note that a statement had been conveyed to Gays Without Border and that Metro Weekly confirmed with Michael McClellan that the Embassy sent the e-mail which read, "Along with the Embassy, the U.S. Department of State strongly condemns the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or personal expression.  These acts of intolerance should have no place in society."  That's the Embassy, that's not the State Dept.  And please note, the Embassy had an e-mail exchange with a group in San Francisco and then confirmed that exchange to Metro Weekly.  That becomes more clear as we turn to broadcast media.

Brian Todd (CNN) did a video report today and, no, this isn't the State Dept condemning anything either.
Brian Todd:  On the streets of Baghdad, this is a very different and dangerous look.  A western style with longer hair, tighter clothes.  It's called Emo and if you're a young man in Iraq who wants to look like this, it could get you killed.
Iraqi Male Activist: There is a very strong wave of killing people who are such called Emos of gays.  You know, people who look different than the usual Iraqi people, tight jeans, long hair maybe goatee.
Brian Todd:  We spoke to a human rights activst who didn't want us to use his name or show his face.  He says he's not gay or Emo but has longer hair. listens to heavy metal music.  He said he shaved his goatee out of fear.  What is the atmosphere like in Baghdad right now for people like yourself just to walk around?
Iraqi Male Activist: Well basically when I was coming to the CNN bureau here in Baghdad, there were two checkpoints who told me to cut my hair, they will kill me with the blocks of -- not them, but they were like advising me so people won't kill me with the blocks of cement, cement blocks.
Brian Todd:  A senior Iraqi Ministry of the Interior official not authorized to talk to the media tells CNN at least 14 young men perceived to be either gay or dressed in Emo style have been killed in Baghdad in recent weeks. Human rights activists put the number much higher and they provide graphic evidence.  Photos posted online show people believed to be victims because of their appearance.  It's not clear exatly who's killing them.  But activists have given CNN copies of warning letters and lists like this one distributed in conservative neighborhoods like Sadr City in Baghdad, lists identifying potential gay or Emo targets.  There are also serious questions about whether the Iraqi government is able or willing to protect these men.  Last month, Iraq's Interior Ministry released a statement saying it was following the "Emo phenomenon or Devil worshipping."  Also saying "we have the approval to eliminate it as soon as possible and that the so-called moral police would enter schools in Baghdad.  The Ministry later issued a statement saying it's received no reports of Emos being murdered. It warns vigilantes from attacking and says those dressed in Emo style will be protected.  One young man who says he's not gay but wears tight jeans and shirts says he's not taking chances.
Iraqi Male: I can't do like the Emo thing and the clothes. I can't do that anymore. I'm afraid I might get killed. 
Brian Todd:  Contacted by CNN, a State Dept spokesperson says it is monitoring this closely, has expressed concern to the Iraqi government, and "We strongly condemn the recent violence and killings in Iraq by groups who appear to be targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or personal expression."  The spokesman also points out that in recent days, Iraqi Parliamentarians and religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani have denounced these attacks.  Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
Well, at last! The State Dept spoke! 
No, it didn't.
When the State Dept decries something, it does so with a name.  It doesn't do so anonymously.
Do you realize how cowardly what the State Dept did was?
Let's address the CNN report for a second and then come back to the State Dept. They credit to the Feburary Ministry of Interior statement to Col Mushtaq Taleb Muhammadawi.  Remember that.  Remember there was a name attached to it.  When no one gets punished for the targeting of Iraqi youth, remember that there was an official call for them to be targeted and that it had name attached to it: Col Mushtaq Taleb Muhammadawi.
Yes, the State Dept wants you to know "clerics" have called out the attacks?  Clerics?  The Grand Ayatollah has called them out.  Many more have supported the attacks and that includes Moqtada al-Sadr who made statements on Saturday. 
Now back to the State Dept's cowardly refusal to play anonymous when it came to callingo ut the targeting of Iraqi youth.  If the State Dept wanted to condemn these acts of terrorism, they know how to do so.  They issue a statements not cloaked in the unnamed.  They can do that in text form, they can do it via an announcement. They chose to do neither.
Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, gave the press briefing today and opened with, "Good morning, everybody.  It is still morning and we are out here.  Can you feel the buzz of energy in this building?  We have Chiefs of Mission from all over the world here at the mother ship for the annual conference."  I'm not making this up, yes, she does sound like she's dropped acid.  She wasn't done with her opening remarks yet, so let's resume where we left off: "I have nothing at the top."  Nothing to share.  No announcements?
Because if the State Dept wishes to condemn some action in another country, right there, right at the start of the day's press briefing, that's where they put it.
But the State Dept had "nothing at the top."
Surely, you insist, some reporter asked her of Iraq today!
Wrong.  They don't ask.  They check themselves for fleas and lice, they thump their tails on the carpet while they wait for treats and snacks, but they don't ask.
At the White House today, Jay Carney gave the press briefing.  Not one reported asked of Iraq.  Jay Carney delivered no opening statement condemning the killings.  Nor did the White House write up a statement that they issued.
If they had, it might resemble (in appearance) this statement that the White House did issue on Iraq yesterday.
Readout of Vice President Biden's Calls with Prime Minister Maliki and Amir Al-Sabah
Vice President Biden spoke by phone this morning with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and this afternoon with Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The Vice President discussed with the two leaders recent regional developments, including their upcoming meeting in Kuwait City and the March 29 Arab League Summit in Baghdad, and reaffirmed the United States' enduring partnership with both nations.
See, they know how to issue statements.  They just choose not to.
So to delcare that the State Dept, the White House or the administration has denounced -- strongly or otherwise -- the targeting of Iraqi youth is to make a false statement.  The US Embassy in Baghdad has denounced the targeting -- to one Iraqi television network and to one LGBT weekly in the US that happened to ask of a private e-mail exchange that had taken place.  An anonymous State Dept employee, on background, called out the targeting.
What happened to all the talk about bravery and leadership we got from US President Barack Obama once upon a time?  He can't even call out the murders of kids in Iraq.  And we're supposed to see him as capable for the job?
When trashy Samantha Power is no longer part of the government and tries to pretend to be outraged over something taking place somewhere on the earth (where ever it is that she wants war at that moment), remember she said not one damn word about the Iraqi youth.  Remember that, as is always the case, The Problem From Hell very much is Samantha Power.
Their silence is actually a gift.  It demonstrates to whatever's left of the anti-war movement that they truly don't care about human rights or human suffering, that they only pretend to care when it helps them market their war plans, that they are as cowardly as they are insufferable and that no one should take them at all seriously.
Aswat al-Iraq reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi declared today that the liquidation of Emo is a crime.  Pay attention, US State Dept and White House, that's how you denounce the targeting.
Turning to the issue of oil, AFP reports that French oil giant Total is in talks with the KRG and quotes CEO Chritophe de Margerie stating, "Kurdistan is part of Iraq.  A lot of companies are investing in Kurdistan-Iraq and we don't see why Total couldn't do it. We are looking at opportunities. We are discussing, but there is nothing done yet."  Emily Knapp (Wall St Cheat Sheet) points out, "Foreign oil companies involved in Iraq's oil expansion generally prefer to be compensated for capital expenditure and service fees in oil because cash payments are more complicated to arrange. Now the parties have reached an agreement in which they will be paid in crude. Exxon and Shell spent $910 million on West Qurna-1 last year, and were repaid $470 million in cash."  They are not the first to seek a relationship with the KRG.  Benoit Faucon (Wall St. Journal) observes, "The news come after the U.S.'s Exxon Mobil Corp. recently signed a deal to enter the region, rebuffing opposition from Iraq's central government, which says the Kurdish deals are illegal."  Yesterday, Peg Mackey (Reuters) reported, "Exxon Mobil and Baghdad have reached agreement for the U.S.-based company to be paid in oil for work on the huge West Qurna-1 oilfield, after months of negotiations over contract terms, an Iraqi official said."  Steve Gelsi (MarketWatch) added, "The reported agreement comes despite moves by Exxon Mobil to ink exploration agreements with the Kurdistan Regional Government, an entitity considered illegal by the Iraq central government."
On the topic of energy, workers are striking.  Alsumaria TV reports "hundreds" of temporary workers with Basra's Electrical Distribution threatened to cut off electricity to homes if they're demands were not met.  What are they demanding?  Temporary contracts, a daily wage and they want to become permanent workers.  Last month, Falh Alwan (Workers Liberty) reported on Karbala workers striking and safety concerns were among the issues but so was their demand for a daily wage.
Turning to violence, AKnews reports that Professor Abdulah Ahmed al-Hamdani and his sister, a final year student at Mosul University's College of Denistry were shot dead in Mosul.  Alsumaria TV reports that the Ministry of the Interiror announced today that a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of the head of a security committee and left a bystander injured.
Onto the issue of Camp Ashraf -- which houses Iranian dissidents in Iraq and which now demostrates that there's not a bit of difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama except, of course, the fact that Barack's even worse. Jennifer Lin (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports on former Governor Ed Rendell who is now under investigation by the US Treasury Dept. As disclosed before I know and like Ed.  For how this is being used to silence dissent, read this morning's entry.
Camp Ashraf, for those who need a reminder, a refresher or who are completely new to the topic, houses a group of Iranian dissidents (approximately 3,000 people -- 400 were moved to Camp Liberty last month). Iranian dissidents were welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp attacked twice. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."

The White House doesn't want to live up to the agreement. The issue is whether or not we, the United States, are bound by the law or not. That's the only issue. So many have confused the issue telling you Camp Ashraf was 'icky' or a 'cult' or whatever else.

International law and the Geneva Conventions kicked in and when they did the US government was honor bound to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf. They could be mass murdering pedophiles. It wouldn't matter. The US could certainly attempt to prosecute them for that, but in terms of the safety issue, the US would still be bound to protect the residents. (I am not calling them pedophiles or mass murderers.)

The residents are protected, the MEK is not. The MEK is Iranian opposition dispersed throughout the globe. Regardless of whether or not the MEK is removed from the terrorist list, the US government entered into a relationship with the residents of Camp Ashraf that requires the US to protect them now. That's not in dispute. The governments own official documents back that up.
There's no walking away from international law without another blow to the US image abroad.  If that's what Barack wants to deliver, I believe he's now destroyed every reason people were supposed to vote for him in 2008.  Or have we forgotten the lie that Barack in the White House would make the United States beloved around the world?
The majority members of the U.S. House of Representatives and dozens of the most prominent former U.S. national security officials have defended the rights of Ashraf residents and have been critical of the U.S. for reneging of its legal, political, and moral obligation to the residents.
You can add the Senate Armed Services Committee to that list.  Chair Carl Levin, Ranking Member John McCain, independent Joe Lieberman have publicly led on the obligation the US has to the residents and how Nouri's failure to provide protection will have consequences.  
The press 'forgot' to report on that hearing.  (Insisting John McCain was 'mean' to Leon Panetta is not reporting -- only Elisabeth Bumiller reported on the hearing.)  We covered it in repeated snapshots.  The hearing was Tuesday November 15th and we covered it in that day's snapshot and every snapshot for the rest of that week.  November 17th, we emphasized the Camp Ashraf portion of the hearing.  We'll note the beginning of the excerpt with "***************" and note the end that way as well.
"The status of the residents at Camp Ashraf from the Iranian dissident group MEK remains unresolved," Senator Carl Levin declared Tuesday. "As the December 2011 deadline approaches, the administration needs to remain vigilant that the government of Iraq lives up to its commitments to provide for the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents until a resolution of their status can be reached.  We need to make it clear to the government of Iraq that there cannot be a repeat of the deadly confrontation began last April by Iraqi security forces against Camp Ashraf residents."
He was speaking Tuesday morning at the Senate Armed Services Comittee hearing while delivering his opening remarks as Chair of the Committee.  Senator John McCain is Ranking Member on the Committee.  The first panel the Committee heard testimony from was composed of US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsy.  Camp Ashraf came up in Chair Levin's opening remarks and it came up later during the first panel.
Senator Lindsey Graham: Do you think -- do you think the people in Camp Ashraf, do you think they're going to get killed? What's going to happen to them?
General Martin Dempsey: The, uh, as you know, Senator, the State Department is leading an effort to ensure that -- work with the Iraqi government ---
Senator Lindsey Graham:  Can you tell the people back here that the likelihood of their friends and family being killed has gone up greatly if there are no American forces up there policing the problem? 
General Martin Dempsey:  I won't say anything to those people because I'm not involved in the outcome.
Senator Lindsey Graham: Fair enough. 
In what was now the second round, John McCain went on to laugh with Leon Panetta and to thank him for appearing before the Comittee and putting up with pointed questions.  He brought up a request that Panetta had made to him and Senator Graham (formally, in a letter) and noted they were working on that issue (defense funding).  We're not going to excerpt that but since so much was made of the first round of questioning between Panetta and McCain, we will note that both laughed with one another in an exchange in the second round.  (The hysterical gossip corps portrayed McCain being testy as new or novel and may have left many with images of poor Leon struggling for the vapors.  Neither person was harmed by the exchange in the first round nor appeared to hold a grudge or ill will towards the other.)  Near the end of his second round, McCain did bring up the issue of Camp Ashraf.
Ranking Member John McCain: Could I just say finally on the Camp Ashraf issue, I know the Secretary of Defense -- I mean, Secretary of State is addressing this issue, but it is American troops that are protecting them now. I hope that you can give us some idea of what disposition is going to be because I think it's -- I think it's very clear that the lives of these people are at risk and I thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: I appreciate that.
Chair Carl Levin: Well, just on that, to turn it into a question -- and, maybe, General, this needs to be addressed to you too -- what -- There's obviously a greater risk to folks there unless the Iraqis keep a commitment.  What's going to be done to make sure, to the best of our ability, that they keep that committment and what about the question of removing them from the list of -- not them, the organization from the terrorist list?
General Martin Dempsey:  Well, Senator --
Senator Carl Levin: We're all concerned about this --
General Martin Dempsey:  And we share your concern. [General] Lloyd Austin shares your concern.  And I know that Ambassador Jeffreys shares the concern and there is no  -- we're not sparing any diplomatic effort to encourage the Iraqis to do what we think is right in this regard to ensure the protection of those folks in Camp Ashraf.  But right now, actually, the Iraqi security forces guard Camp Ashraf with our advisory and assistance group with them.  And so the concern, when we do leave that capacity, is a real one.  And  But I actually think we've got to put the pressure on the Iraqi government diplomatically to have the outcome that we think is correct.
Senator Carl Levin: Just assure them if you would that there's a real strong feeling around here that if they -- if they violate a committment to protect those people -- assuming that they're still there and that they haven't been removed from the terrorist list so that they can find other locations -- that if they violate that committment to us, that is going to have a severely negative impact on the relationship with the -- I think I can speak here -- the Congress although I'm reluctant to ever say this. I think there's a lot of concern in the Congress about it and this will, I believe, in my opinion, will severely negatively impact their relationship with the Congress. Let me leave it at that.
Secretary Leon Panetta:  Senator, I want to assure you that Ambassador Jeffrey has made that point loud and clear, loud and clear the Iraqis.
Senator Carl Levin: Senator Lieberman?
Senator Joe Lieberman:  Thanks, Mr. Chairman. And add my voice and I think you can speak for Congress members of both parties in both houses in expressing our concern about the safety of the people in Camp Ashraf.
From the Congress to diplomacy, Laura Rozen (Yahoo's The Envoy) reports that Brett McGurk is being whispered to be the new nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq.

For those keeping track, McGurk would become the fourth US Ambassador to Iraq since Barack was sworn in. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker was already in the spot in 2009 but agreed to stay on while they scrambled to find a replacement -- that they had to scramble demonstrates how little Iraq ever really mattered. They manic depressive Christopher Hill was next. Third was the present US Ambassador James Jeffrey. For those wondering, no that is not normal. Some would even make the case that it's unacceptable and that the post needs stability not constant fluxuation.

Proving yet again that the War Hawks get rewarded for illegal war, the Council of Foreign Relations notes of their member Brett:

He served on the National Security Council staff of President George W. Bush (2005-2009), first as director for Iraq and then as special assistant to the president and senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama, as a special advisor.

And it just gets 'better':

He is a former Supreme Court law clerk, clerking for the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 2001 to 2002, and in 2004-05 served as an attorney with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, focusing on issues of constitutional reform, elections, and government formation.

He also applauded the "surge" which, you may recall, when Barack was attempting to get the Democratic Party's presidential nomination he was against. But not so much against that today he sees it is an indication that maybe someone's judgment was misguided. And he's never really been opposed to the Iraq War so he has no problem bringing in the planners of the illegal war. Time and again, America's seen -- if they looked closely -- that Barack poses wonderfully but he's got all the depth of a glossy 8 x 10.

Lastly, US Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office notes this Wednesday hearing on the issue of homeless veterans (it should be an important hearing, the witnesses are impressive and well versed in this issue):
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
Monday, March 12, 2012
TOMMORROW: VETERANS: Murray to Hold Hearing on Veteran Homelessness

Hearing will discuss VA's progress on 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans

(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, March 14th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing to discuss the progress the VA has made in its 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans. During the hearing, the Committee will hear from 2 homeless female veterans, service providers, and officials from the VA.

WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

Homeless Veterans

Marsha Four, Executive Director of Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center

Reverend Scott Rogers, Executive Director, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry

Linda Halliday, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations, Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs

Pete Dougherty, Acting Executive Director, Homeless Veterans Initiatives Office

WHAT: Hearing to discuss VA's progress on its 5-year plan to end homelessness among veterans, including the unique needs of homeless women veterans

WHEN: Tomorrow, March 14th, 2012

10:00 AM ET

WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building
Room 418

Washington, D.C.