Friday, August 17, 2012

Parades, suicides, arrests and a War Criminal

Reminder, the US, the Colorado State Fair starts August 24th and concludes September 3rd.  They will honor Iraq War veterans with a parade Saturday, August 25th at 10 in the morning entitled Colorado: Colors of Courage. Peter Roper (Pueblo Chieftain) reports, ""Colorado: Colors of Courage" is the theme for the parade, which will be anchored by active-duty, Fort Carson Army veterans and the 4th Infantry Division's marching band."

Yesterday the Pentagon announced, "The Army released suicide data today for the month of July.  During July, among active-duty soldiers, there were 26 potential suicides:  one has been confirmed as suicide and 25 remain under investigation.  For June, the Army reported 11 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers; since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 12 cases:  two have been confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation.  For 2012, there have been 116 potential active-duty suicides:  66 have been confirmed as suicides and 50 remain under investigation.  Active-duty suicide number for 2011:  165 confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.  During July, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 12 potential suicides (nine Army National Guard and three Army Reserve):  one has been confirmed as suicide and 11 remain under investigation.  For June, among that same group, the Army reported 12 potential suicides (nine Army National Guard and three Army Reserve):  seven have been confirmed as suicides and five remain under investigation.  The Army previously reported 10 Army National Guard and two Army Reserve cases for June."

David Martin (CBS Evening News -- link is video and text) reported on the findings and highlighted remarks made at the end of June during the annual DoD and VA suicide conference.  Jamie Crawford (CNN) quote the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen Lloyd Austin,  "Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. And it's an enemy that's killing not just Soldiers, but tens of thousands of Americans every year.  That said, I do believe suicide is preventable. To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills."  Mark Thompson (Time magazine) adds, "The Army has been fighting suicides when they were occurring at the rate of nearly one a day -- in fact, that was the cover line on a Time story last month into the vexing problem of soldiers killing themselves after a decade of war. But July’s 38 likely suicides spread over the month’s 31 days works out to almost 1.25 suicides a day."

Meanwhile, in England, an Iraq War veteran Ricardo McKenzie is behind bars.   Alexandra Rucki (Surrey Comet) reports the 35-year-old soldier received a 17-year sentence for "a cache of deadly weapons he smuggled back from Iraq" and you may be thinking, "Gee, Blackwater didn't get any time." 

Remember Joseph Neff and Jay Price (McClatchy Newspapers)'s report, from ten days ago?  It opened, "The military contractor formerly known as Blackwater ended a long-running criminal investigation Tuesday by admitting to lawbreaking that ranged from possessing illegal machine guns at its Camden County, N.C., training grounds to attempting to land $15 billion in oil and defense contracts in southern Sudan while U.S. companies were barred from doing business there."  In the US and around the world, Blackwater's actions were criminal.  But no one went to jail and all they got was a laughable little fine.  Maybe McKenzie should be behind bars, maybe he shouldn't.  I don't have an opinon on that.  But it is strange that if he had "Inc" under his name, there's a good chance he would have walked with no prison time.

On the topic of people who belong behind bars in UK, War Criminal Tony Blair.  Fatima Asmal-Motala (Mail & Guardian) reports that people are gearing up to ensure Tony Blair gets the sort of welcome a War Criminal deserves when he visits South Africa to 'earn' another big check at a seminar (I wasn't aware War Hakws needed motivational seminars).  From the report:

"Various Muslim organisations are in talks about possible actions that will be carried out should Tony Blair visit South Africa," said Mustafa Darsot, a member of the South African Muslim Network executive committee. "This includes protest marches outside the summit venue, possible sit-ins and legal action against Mr Blair. We have also asked various legal professionals to look at the feasibility of having a warrant of arrest issued against him."
Blair will join several big names, including Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chess master Garry Kasparov and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at the annual event, which will take place in Sandton on August 30.
Darsot said the network and several other organisations had written to Discovery Group founder and chief executive officer Adrian Gore urging him to withdraw the invitation to Blair. They did not believe he was "fit to lecture on leadership" because of his key role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The following community sites -- plus The World Can't Wait, Jody Watley, PRI, the Guardian, KPFK, the Pacifica Evening News,, Adam Kokesh, Susan's On the Edge and The Diane Rehm Show -- updated last night and this morning:

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