Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Military Assaults

Sexual assault in military 'jaw-dropping,' lawmaker says

[Rep. Jane Harman, D-California] said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military.

A government report indicates that the numbers could be even higher.
[...]
"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military"
[...]
But when it came time for the military to defend itself, the panel was told that the Pentagon's top official on sexual abuse, Dr. Kaye Whitley, was ordered not to show up despite a subpoena.
[...]
"The Defense Department appears to be willfully and blatantly advising Dr. Whitley not to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena," Tierney said.
Here's more from Colonel Ann Wright:
Rep. Elijah Cummings joined Rep. Waxman in speaking of cover-ups. Cummings raised the cases of military women who had been sexually assaulted before dying in “non-combat incidents.” He spoke specifically about Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, who was found beaten and dead of a gunshot wound at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in a burning tent owned by the contractor KBR. Her parents suspected that Johnson had been murdered and that the homicide was being covered up by the Army, which deemed the death a suicide. Cummings also spoke of Army Pfc. Tina Priest, who was raped at Taji, Iraq, and found dead 10 days later of a gunshot wound. After her family had measurements taken of her arms and of the angle of the bullet and found that she could not have pulled the trigger of her M-16 with her finger, the Army said she had pulled the trigger by using her toe.
[...]
Lt. Gen. Rochelle, the Army chief of personnel, reported the little known statistic that 12 percent of reported rapes in the military are of male military personnel.

[Representative Christopher Shays (R - CT)] said he had no confidence in DoD or the military services and their policies of prevention of sexual assault, and asked how recruiting will fare when young women learn that one in three women is sexually assaulted and when young men find out that one in 10 men is raped while in the military.
Leave it to a republican to be mainly concerned about how rape and sexual assault will affect recruiting.

Of course the rape and sexual assaults are not just confined to the military ... (maybe confined is the wrong term considering the incredibly low rate of prosecutions and even lower rate of jail time)... the American mercenary companies in Iraq have enjoyed complete immunity from any prosecution in Iraq, including rapes of fellow Americans.

They could have been prosecuted, it's American on American crime after all, but the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense refused to do so.

The most notorious and publicized rape by a DoD civilian sub-contractor has been Jamie Leigh Jones who was employed by KBR and was only able to report her rape by a cell phone given to her by a sympathetic KBR guard holding her captive in a shipping container.

And now that KBR thinks the heat has died down what is their reaction?
Iraq contractor bans cell phones for 'safety and security'

[...]
According to an e-mail obtained by CNN, the company issued the order to all KBR employees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait
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In the e-mail, employees are ordered to stop using their cell phones as of 8 a.m. Saturday and turn them in to the company's human resources department.

"Any individual using a personal cell phone will be disciplined," the e-mail says. "Termination is an option of discipline. The cell phone will be confiscated."

[...]
A KBR employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was "not aware of any security breaches involving the use of cell phones" and that employees were not given any reason for the order.
[...]
"KBR has a communication system, but as with any system it does fail and we can only communicate with another installation by use of the cell phones," he said. "We pay for this use with our own funds."
So according to a male KBR employee this policy makes all KBR employees less safe, and they're willing to pay for this safety on their own dime.

I wonder what KBR employees would pay not to be raped? And I really wonder what KBR would earn if their employees can't report being raped. Golly, their shareholders must really be upset that KBR only made $48 million last quarter instead of the $140 million they made in the first quarter.




Cross posted at VidiotSpeak