Connect with us

National

Palmer has serious concerns about abandoning our Kurdish allies

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Friday, Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, went on talk radio in Birmingham and expressed concerns about President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to pull U.S. forces from Northern Syria, allowing Turkey to cross into Syria and attack Kurdish forces there while the U.S. stood by and did and nothing.

“This morning, I joined the Rick & Bubba Show to discuss President Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria,” Palmer said on social media. “I think it unwise to pull back from an area the U.S. has taken control of in the past, and I have serious concerns about abandoning our Kurdish allies.”

The Kurds were our allies against Saddam Hussein, against Al Qaeda in Iraq, against sectarian militias in Iraq, and against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Kurdish forces have fought alongside and under the direction of U.S. armed forces for over 25 years,

Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussie host the “Rick & Bubba Show” in Birmingham that is carried across much of Alabama and beyond.

“I would advise the President to rethink this and walk it back,” Palmer told Burgess. “I think it is a mistake to pull our troops out of Syria and to particularly to separate ourselves from the Kurds.”

“I understand the President’s sentiment here,” Palmer said. “I have heard him talk about writing letters to the family members of soldiers who have been killed in the line of duty. I understand the emotional toll. Well I can’t fully understand the emotional toll, from a strategic perspective you should never give up ground you have taken. You should never have to retake ground that you have already held and You should never Abandon allies. I am very concerned about our ability to get people to fight along side us by the example that we are setting right now.”

Burgess asked Palmer about the origins of the dispute between the Kurds and the Turks.

Public Service Announcement

“It goes back to World War I actually, and Europe is very much at fault here,” Palmer explained. “There was not a nation per se of Iraq until the Balfour Commission. When they drew up the boundary lines of the Middle East what used to be called Mesopotamia. They left the Kurds with no homeland. There are Kurds in Turkey, there are Kurds in Syria, there are Kurds in Northern Iraq and they have been attacked from all sides ever since. You may recall and this, it occurred after Desert Storm. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds in Northern Iraq. They have wanted their own homeland. I don’t think it is our place to go in and start dividing up territory, but those people came along beside us to help fight Isis and in regard to Turkey. I don’t trust Erdoğan. He is a dictator. He has cozied up to Russia and a lot of that is the fault of the previous administration, I think if we step aside and turn our backs he will go in and wipe them out.”

Burgess said that the Turks say that the Kurds are terrorists and that they are killing people in Turkey.

“I haven’t seen any intelligence to that effect,” Palmer said. Burgess asked if we should have just given the Kurds Northern Iraq.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The second time, that might have been doable,” Palmer said. “It probably would have helped us prevent the rise of ISIS, but that is hindsight.”

“I don’t think allowing one country to carry out a genocide against another is a solution,” Palmer said.

“I would make a call to Erdoğan and tell him to call off this attack,” Palmer said.

Many members of Congress, from both parties, have been critical of Trump’s policy on Northern Syria this past week,

U.S. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) sent a joint letter to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders requesting a Senators-only briefing from the Departments of Defense and State, and the intelligence community on the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.

“The President’s decision will have severe consequences for our strategic national interests and reduce American influence in the region while strengthening Turkey, Russia, and Iran,” wrote the senators. “The decision also dramatically increases the threat to our Kurdish allies, who helped destroy ISIS’s territorial caliphate, and will impair our ability to build strategic alliances in the future.”

Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

Elections

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Tuberville

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville.

The Alabama Forestry Association announced Wednesday that the group is endorsing Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville in the upcoming general election.

“We are proud to endorse Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate race,” said AFA Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson. “He is a conservative with an impressive list of accomplishments, and we know that he will continue that record in his role as U.S. Senator. Tommy knows that decisions made in Washington impact families and businesses and will be an effective voice for the people of Alabama.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association,” Tuberville said. “The AFA is an excellent organization that stands for pro-business policies. Protecting Alabama industry is a key to our state’s success.”

Tuberville recently won the Republican nomination after a primary season that was extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuberville is a native of Arkansas and a graduate of Southern Arkansas University. He held a number of assistant coaching positions, including defensive coordinator at Texas A&M and the University of Miami where he won a national championship.

Tuberville has been a head coach at Mississippi, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. In his nine years at Auburn University, the team appeared in eight consecutive bowl games. His 2004 team won the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl.

Tuberville coached that team to a perfect 13 to 0 season.

Public Service Announcement

Tuberville has been married to his wife Suzanne since 1991. They have two sons and live in Auburn.

Tuberville is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election.

Continue Reading

National

Public asked to help find missing mother of three en route to Alabama

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Marilane Carter is a 36-year-old white female. She was driving a 2011 dark grey GMC Acadia with a Kansas tag: 194LFY.

Marilane Carter, age 36, left Kansas City, Kansas, late Saturday night Aug. 1 heading to Birmingham seeking help for her mental health. She was seeking help possibly at Grandview or UAB.

Her last known phone contact was near Memphis, Tennessee, around Sunday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. near I-55.

According to the family, there has been no contact and no vehicle sighting since that time. Her phone is dead and there have been no credit card charges on her account.

“We are concerned for her safety,” the family said in a statement.

Marilane is married to Adam Carter, and together they have three young children.

The family is asking the public to keep an eye out for Marilane, and keep her and her family in your prayers.

Carter is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has long brown hair, green eyes and was last seen wearing a green T-shirt and black yoga pants.

Public Service Announcement

“The biggest thing: pray that God orchestrates this in such a way that brings Marilane to safety — as well as glory to Him,” the family wrote. “We covet your prayers and help to find Marilane. #findmarilane.”

Marilane is a 36-year-old white female. She was driving a 2011 dark grey GMC Acadia with a Kansas tag: 194LFY. She has family in Kansas City, Birmingham and Fairhope. If found or you have any information, call 911 and ask for the police.

Continue Reading

Elections

Jones campaign says Tuberville is not taking the pandemic seriously

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Republican challenger Tommy Tubberville, right.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’ re-election campaign released a statement critical of Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville, suggesting that he is not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously enough.

“The Washington Post reported today that the stock market plummeted after jobless claims climbed last week by 1.4 million and the economy shrank by 9.5 percent — the biggest decline in most of our lifetimes,” the Jones campaign wrote. “While economists are worried about the permanent damage COVID-19 will do to the economy, and public health experts are pleading for people to abide by state and local mask orders, Tommy Tuberville ‘snickers’ in response to questions about flouting public health orders while in DC to raise campaign cash. The people of Alabama need to know that Tuberville is not taking the pandemic seriously, raising serious questions about how he would handle this crisis if elected.”

The Washington Post reported that “Tuberville is fundraising and holding ­in-person meetings in Washington this week, defying orders from D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) that visitors from Alabama and other coronavirus hot spots quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.”

“Tuberville spent at least some of his time at the Trump International Hotel, according to a photo posted to Facebook by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) showing the two men in the hotel lobby on Tuesday night,” the media reports stated. “Neither man was masked.”

Tuberville told AL.com that he has been called “everything in the world” so the last week is nothing new.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday the former Auburn coach broke Washington D.C. policy requiring “non-essential” visitors from states with high coronavirus case counts to self-quarantine for 14 days when he attended fundraising meetings in the city this week. In addition, a photo of Tuberville with Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington showed neither man wearing a face covering.

Tuberville addressed the controversy in comments to the Alabama Republican Executive Committee on Saturday. Tuberville said that he followed all the rules and wore his mask everywhere he went. When he was at events he would take his mask off to dine and people would come over to his table to shake his hand and get their picture taken. The press has seized on those moments to attack him, he claimed.

Public Service Announcement

The COVID-19 global pandemic has killed 707,158 people worldwide including 160,833 Americans since it first was discovered in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late 2019. Absent an effective treatment or a vaccine, social distancing and masks are the only tools that we have to slow the spread of the virus.

The Tuberville-Jones race for U.S. Senate is going to have an important role in whether or not Republicans are able to hold on to their narrow Senate majority.

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He is best known for his tenure as Auburn University’s head football coach, which includes an undefeated and untied team that won the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl. He also coached at Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Mississippi.

ADVERTISEMENT

The general election is Nov. 3. Tuberville has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Continue Reading

National

Attorneys ask court to intervene over numerous Alabama inmate suicides

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Charles Braggs died by suicide in an Alabama prison after being kept in solitary confinement for more than two years. His suicide and a rash of others in Alabama prisons prompted attorneys for the plaintiffs in a case against the Alabama Department of Corrections to ask the court Wednesday to intervene. 

Braggs, 28, died at St. Clair Correctional Facility on July 17 after having been housed in segregation for 796 days, according to the court filing by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and attorneys with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.

“Mr. Braggs was the seventh person — and the sixth Black person — to die by suicide in ADOC custody since this Court issued its Remedial Opinion and Judgment on Immediate Relief for Suicide Prevention (the ‘Suicide Prevention Opinion’) in May 2019, in which the Court found ‘substantial and pervasive deficiencies’ in ADOC’s suicide prevention program,” attorneys wrote to the court. 

Bragg’s suicide was the fifth in Alabama prisons in the last four months, the plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote in the fling, in which they call for “swift implementation and robust monitoring of the Parties’ various remedial agreements” and for the state to address the use of segregation and “segregation-like” cells, which disproportionately hold Black people.

Alabama prisons kept 1,001 people locked alone in segregation on July 28, according to the court filing. 

“Of those 1,001, ADOC’s public database lists 705 people as Black and 273 white—that is, approximately 70 percent of the people in segregation are Black,” the filing states, going on to note that Black people make up approximately 52 percent of Alabama’s inmate population and about 27 percent of the population of the state. 

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in his May 4, 2019 opinion wrote that ADOC argues the department cannot prevent all suicides in prisons.

Public Service Announcement

“It is true that, as in the free world, not all suicides can be prevented. But this reality in no way excuses ADOC’s substantial and pervasive suicide-prevention inadequacies. Unless and until ADOC lives up to its Eighth Amendment obligations, avoidable tragedies will continue,” the judge wrote.

That 2019 opinion came after the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked the court for immediate suicide-prevention relief following 15 inmate suicides over 15 months. Thompson agreed in his opinion to make permanent most of the provisions of a previous agreement between the plaintiffs and ADOC.

Thompson’s separate judgment, filed the same day as his opinion, establishes minimum guidelines for how the state assesses and treats incarcerated people who may be at risk of suicide.

ADVERTISEMENT

Among the prison suicides noted in the court filing was Marco Tolbert, 32, who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication, but on June 20, 2019, three months before his death, his mental health code — used by ADOC to determine care — was reduced, some of his medication was discontinued and he was moved out of Donaldson prison’s residential treatment unit and into the general population and “was not provided any follow-up mental health care,” according to the filing.

He died by suicide on Sept. 26, 2019, according to court records. 

Marquell Underwood, 22, was placed into segregation at Easterling Correctional Facility on Feb. 23 and died by suicide that same day, according to court records. 

“Mr. Underwood previously reported a history of Bipolar Disorder, was referred to mental health nine times in relation to segregation placements, self-referred once to mental health, and was placed on acute suicide watch twice during the six months before his death,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote to the court. “Despite all of this, he was never placed on the mental health caseload, never received a psychiatric evaluation, and never received any mental health treatment.”

Laramie Avery, 32, died by suicide in his segregation cell at Bullock prison on April 14 and was placed in segregation for “disciplinary” reasons after being stabbed at least eight times in the head and chest, according to the filing. 

“Mr. Avery was referred for a mental health evaluation three days before his suicide, but there is no evidence that the evaluation ever occurred. He was not on the mental health caseload,” the court filing states. 

The plaintiffs’ attorneys also note the death of Darnell McMillian on June 22 at Donaldson prison. McMillian died while on suicide watch and after having been placed into a cell with another inmate also on suicide watch. 

“After an altercation between Mr. McMillian and his cellmate, correctional officers allegedly deployed pepper spray, which caused Mr. McMillian to become unconscious and may have led to his death. It is unclear what policies ADOC has instituted, if any, to ensure the safety of those on suicide watch who are double-celled,” attorneys wrote to the court. 

An ADOC worker told APR in July that correctional officers used an excessive amount of pepper spray in the cell where McMillian and another inmate were housed. The cause of his death is pending an autopsy.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement