Friday, May 18, 2012

5 reported dead, over 40 injured

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports Baghdad was slammed with three bombings today leaving at least 5 people dead and another thirty-one injured.  The Voice of Russia adds, "According to the Iraqi law enforcement agencies, three bombs went off in a busy marketplace, in a Shiite quarter of the city."  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) notes that the bombs all went off close to the same time.  Dar Addustour counts 5 dead and forty-seven injured.  Iraq Body Count notes that 5 people died in Baghdad violence yesterday ("Baghdad: 4 by IED, 1 by AED") and that 111 have died violent deaths so far this month.  Iraq Body Count counted 290 violent deaths in Iraq for the month of April.


 Dropping back to earlier violence,  Christine Show (Daily Mail) reports, "The wife of a U.S. Army captain who was killed while deployed in Iraq is stunned that the person named responsible for his death will be freed.  Charlotte Freeman of Temecula, California expressed her dismay when she learned on Wednesday night that Ali Mussa Daqduq was cleared of all charges in the 2007 attack that killed Brian Freeman, 31, and four other U.S. soldiers."

On May 7th, Suadad-al Salhy, Patrick Markey and Andrew Heavens (Reuters) reported that Iraq's 'justice' system has cleared Ali Mussa Daqdug of all charges related to the "2007 kidnapping attack that killed five U.S. troops."  This was actually the second time that those said to be responsible for the five deaths.  Ali Mussa Daqduq is alleged to have been working with the League of Righteous (once known as "the Special Groups network") and the US had the leader and high ranking members in a US prison in Iraq.  Had.  Though right now there are many complaints regarding the decision to set Ali Mussa Daqdug free (he remains behind bars currently while the decision is appealed), the White House ordered the release of the leader of the League of Righteous, his brother and other high ranking LoR members.  That's in the summer of 2009.  Barack Obama is president.

Why did they do it?  The White House set them free in order to help England with their outstanding issues.  The White House made the call that 5 British citizens were more important than 5 US ones and they entered into negotiations with the League of Righteous.  All but one of the five Brits were already dead.   One of the dead wouldn't be released until a few months ago.  The League of Righteous would announce Barack went back on his promises to them so they weren't releasing all five.  After the bulk of US troops left Iraq in December 2011, the League of Righteous finally released the fifth corpse.

If you're late to the story, refer to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

Having made the decision to release those five in 2009, the Obama administration had no qualms about handing Ali Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqi legal system despite the fact that it was considered a good guess that he'd walk. December 16, 2011, Liz Sly and Peter Finn (Washington Post) reported on the US handing Ali Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqis:

He was transferred to Iraqi custody after the Obama administration "sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes," according to Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council in Washington.

Kitabat reported  in May that Nouri caved to pressure from Tehran and that's why he was released.   It was also noted that a number of US Senators were asking the White House not to turn Daqduq over to Iraq but to move him to Guantanamo or another facility. 

 Today Mike Jaccarino (Fox News -- link is text and video) quotes Charlotte Freeman stating, "It was like a pit (opening) inside of me. I briefly read it and couldn't read on.  I couldn't go there.  It wasn't like he was dying again.  It was more shock that these people get away with what they do.  There's no justice. It's amazing and shocking to me that someone who did what he did could go free."

Shocking seems to be the theme the current White House was decorated in. US House Rep Walter Jones is asking why the White House negotiated a treaty with Afghanistan without the input of Congress?  And if that question sounds familiar, it's one that Barack Obama asked throughout his 2008 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  How dare Bully Boy Bush ram through a treaty with Iraq -- one that their Parliament had to sign off on -- while violating the US Constitution's mandate that treaties need Senate approval.  We're referring to the Status Of Forces Agreement with Iraq.

Bush was wrong. And the Senate Foreign  Relations Committee was united on that in 2008 -- that's Democrats and Republicans.  Before Barack grabbed the issue, then-Senator Russ Feingold had been among the prominent leaders on it.  But Barack played glory hog and took the issue as his own.  He then continued the cry throughout his 2008 general election campaign.  The day after the election he vanished the issue from his campaign site.  That's the sort of 'change' that has characterized his presidential term:  He campaigned on one set of goals and standards and then he 'changed' once he was elected.  That's Barack's only change you can believe in.

Pete Kasperwoicz (The Hill) reports that Jones has introduced a bill:

In 2007, the Clinton-Obama bill read, "Congress is a co-equal branch of government and as such the extension of long-term United States security commitments to Iraq that obligates or requires the appropriation of United States funds requires the full participation and consent of Congress."

Jones's bill, like the Clinton-Obama bill, requires that within 60 days of passage, the State Department submit a report to Congress that justifies the administration's decision to conclude the agreement without consulting Congress. It would require the administration to include a legal analysis on this decision.

The following community sites -- plus Chocolate City, On The Wilder Side, Adam Kokesh, Susan's On The Edge, CSPAN, and  The Pacifica Evening News -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office notes:

Thursday, May 17, 2012
CONTACT: Murray 202-224-2834
                 Burr 202-228-1616
VETERANS: Murray, Burr Introduce Bill to Ensure Dignified Burials
Comes after veteran's remains were discovered to have been buried in cardboard box

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member, introduced legislation to help ensure every veteran receives a dignified burial. The Dignified Burial of Veterans Act of 2012 would authorize the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to furnish a casket or urn to a deceased veteran when VA is unable to identify the veteran's next-of-kin and determines that sufficient resources are not otherwise available to furnish a casket or urn for burial in a national cemetery. This bill would further require that VA report back to Congress on the industry standard for urns and caskets and whether burials at VA's national cemeteries are meeting that standard. Under current law, VA is not authorized to purchase a casket or urn for veterans who do not have a next-of-kin to provide one, or the resources to be buried in an appropriate manner.
Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr, joined by U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), introduced this legislation after a veteran, with no known next-of-kin, was buried in a cardboard container at a VA National Cemetery in Florida. The exposed remains were discovered during a raise and realign project at the cemetery. The veteran's remains were later placed in a bag and reburied with what was left of the cardboard box.
"When America's heroes make a commitment to serve their country, we make a promise to care for them," said Chairman Murray. "That includes helping to provide them with a burial honoring their service. I was deeply disturbed when I heard this news. There is no reason why the remains of a veteran should ever be treated with this lack of dignity. I am pleased we are taking the appropriate steps to right this indescribable wrong."
"Those who have served our country in uniform deserve our honor, appreciation, and respect, and that responsibility does not end when they pass away," said Senator Burr. "My heart goes out to those affected by the problems at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. We must ensure that the remains of veterans and servicemembers are treated with dignity and respect and that the families of those who have passed away have no doubts as to the quality of the final resting place of their loved ones."
"All veterans deserve a dignified final resting place," said Senator Nelson. "A cardboard box certainly isn't one. That's why we've got to make sure this doesn't happen again."
"Those who serve our nation in uniform deserve our respect and support, from the moment they commit to serve through their deaths and even beyond as we honor their legacies," said Senator Rubio. "Providing dignified burials for veterans is a solemn pledge we must uphold. Cases like this are outrageous and need to be corrected so that no deceased veteran is ever dishonored in this way again."
Meghan Roh
Deputy Press Secretary | Social Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

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