OH, LOOK AT THE UNEDUCATED IDIOTS OF THE PRESS. FOR EXAMPLE, LITTLE RYNE NELSON CALLS IT A "CHARITY EXHIBITION GAME." NO, YOU STUPID IDIOT, YOU MIGHT HAVE TRIED GETTING AN EDUCATION THAT MIGHT HAVE HELPED YOU. A "CHARITY EXHIBITION GAME" IS WHEN PLAYERS PLAY TO BENEFIT A HOSPITAL OR THE SEARCH FOR A CURE OR AN ORPHAN'S HOME OR SOMETHING SIMILAR.
RAISING MONEY FOR A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IS NOT "CHARITY." POOR LITTLE RYNE, EXPLAINING EVERY DAY JUST HOW USELESS THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA IS.
THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IS, OF COURSE, BARRY O'S. THE CELEBRITY IN CHIEF WAS JUST DECLARING THAT THE "TOP PRIORITY" FOR THE U.S. RIGHT NOW IS "ASIA-PACIFIC." BUT A GIRL'S GOT TO RAISE SOME SCRATCH IF SHE WANTS TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION.
ESPECIALLY AFTER CALLING AMERICANS "LAZY."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with breaking news out of Iraq, Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports a mixture of White House officials and US military officials arrived in Baghdad Friday for a three day visit to discuss a number of issues including to "provide immunity to American trainers." The delegation will meet with President Jalal Talabani and Iraq's two vice presidents, with the prime minister, and with the head of the political blocs. In addition, it will visit the Krudistan Regional Government. Al Mada reports that Rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr wasted no time in announcing that, should immunity be granted, his bloc would immediately withdraw from the National Alliance coalition. An MP with the Sadr bloc is quoted declaring that it is not the right of Nouri al-Maliki to provide the Americans with immunity
Bombs went off throughout Iraq today. Press TV counts 9 dead from bombings alone. Reuters provides the breakdown: a police officer's Saqlawiya home was bombed claiming the lives of his wife and their 4 kids [CNN states the dead were police officer Najah Abdullah's mother-in-law, the man's five-year-old son and two daughters with two more relatives injured and notes that his home was attacked in 2008 as well]; a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers and left four people injured (this was near a mosque in the Abu Ghraib section of Baghdad), a second Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left five people injured, 1 police officer was injured in a Hawija shooting, and, dropping back to Thursday, a Mahmudiya car bombing claimed 2 lives and left seven people injured (increase in deaths by 1 and injured by 2 since yesterday's report by Mohammed Tawfeeq of CNN), a Baghdad attack in which one police officer was injured, a Mosl car bombing claimed 1 life, a Mosul grenade attack which left a police officer injured, a Mosul roadside bombing left one Iraqi soldier injured, a Mosul roadside bombing left an Iraqi police officer injured and 1 man was shot dead outside their Mosul home. The Abu Ghraib mosque bombing, Bushra Juhi (AP) reports it was "bombs" plural, near mosques (plural) and that 4 people died with eighteen more injured.
Staying with violence, earlier this week it was announced another US soldier had died in Iraq. DoD has identified the fallen:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.
Spc. David E. Hickman, 23, of Greensboro, N.C., died Nov. 14, in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered after encountering an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Bragg public affairs office at 910-432-0661 or at email@example.com .
Today at the US State Dept, Deputy Dept Spokesperson Mark C. Toner gave the press briefing. Iraq came up at the end in an exchange with AFP's Lachlan Carmichael.
Lachlan Carmichael: Can I have one more here?
Mark C. Toner: Oh, I'm sorry, Lach. Sure. I'm sorry, guys.
Lachlan Carmichael: No, just -- in --
Mark C. Toner: It's just Friday. We're so close here.
Lachlan Carmichael: Yeah. In Brussels, the head of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Iraq raised concerns about the fate of Camp Ashraf refugees. He said that Iraq has served a virtual death warrant on the residents, and he pointed to an embassy note from the Iraqi Government saying that they're committed to close the camp by the end of 2011.
Mark C. Toner: That's correct, yeah.
Lachlan Carmichael: And it says that dissidents there are terrorists, and the Iraqis deny they have refugee status, and therefore the Europeans are fearing that the UNHCR will not be able to interview them as refugees.
Mark C. Toner: Well, we are working -- look, I don't have a detailed response to those accusations. I do know that we are working with international organizations, including UNHCR, to find a suitable outcome and a suitable destination for these individuals, and we recognize the urgency.
While this was going on at the US State Dept, AFP reports that the European Parliament's MEP Struan Stevenson declared that a "death warrant" had been signed today on the residents of Camp Ashraf when the government sent the European Parliament which refers to the residents as "terrorists" and asserts that they are not protected under the Geneva Convention nor do they have refugee status.
Camp Ashraf houses a group of Iranian dissidents (approximately 3,500 people). 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 8th of this year 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." Nouri al-Maliki is seen as close to the government in Tehran. They have made it clear that they want the dissidents out of Iraq and returned to Iran -- where they would face trial at best, torture most likely. Nouri has announced he will be closing Camp Ashraf at the end of this year. UK MP Brian Binley (Huffington Post) writes, "As things are evolving and if Maliki gets away with his plan to impose the deadline, just as the Christmas and New Year holidays are in full swing, the prospect is that the world will sit and watch while men and women are killed in cold blood or mutilated, crushed by US-supplied armoured personal carriers."
Tuesday the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing addressed many Iraq issues. In yesterday's snapshot, we noted the remarks on the residents of Camp Ashraf. We're going to go over most of those again today in light of the comments that a "death warrant" has been signed and what appears to be a refusal of the Iraqi government to honor the agreement that was made with the US government with regards to the residents of Camp Ashraf. Senator Carl Levin is the 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.
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.
[. . .]
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.
The concerns have been expressed, a supposed understanding was reached, yet reports today indicate that the understanding meant nothing to the government of Nouri al-Maliki.
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