Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Significant Increase in Misconduct by Military Recruiters" (Feminist Daily Wire)

Susan e-mailed wondering what I was listening to these days? Besides Ani DiFranco and Michael Franti (trying to do reviews for both CDs), I'm actually listening to the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang a lot these days. I really loved it in real time (link goes to my review) but it's really been something I've especially found myself reaching for in the last few weeks. Blame it on C.I. who's heard something in it that I didn't catch myself and now the CD is 'brand new' to me.

Today, I hung around home, listening to music, cleaning, taking care of the day-to-day. The gang had to fly to a speaking event. I don't fear flying, but I do hate it. That's why I said I'd go along if it was in a 90 mile radius. I'm sure they did a wonderful job and was, honestly, surprised C.I. got a snapshot in. Ty didn't go because he's got his intern job. So he's coming over here for dinner and we're planning to pull out some vinyl and dig deep into some old tunes. I expected that Wally's grandfather would be doing that as well but he has had gotten "a real kick" out of seeing Wally and everyone speak. So he did catch the flight. (The thought of my cooking may have helped him decide. I'm joking.)

So it was a day of catch up and trying to get things together, including an art project I'm working on. I am tossing around ideas in my head for those two reviews and hope to have something together by this weekend. I didn't listen to KPFA today. I wasn't in the mood. I'm listening to Flashpoints. And I'll listen to the evening news but I just wasn't in the mood. There is so much going on in Iraq and there's so little coverage of it. I just find it very frustrating. (Not unlike opaque lyrics on a bad album that all the Depends set are rushing in to hail as "genius." The Stones still have it. They rock the hell out on their album. Reading the reviews praising Old Man River's album, just out today, or, rather, seeing things in the lyrics that aren't there and ignoring that the music doesn't make it probably just indicates that they're not up to being musically challenged and just glad that their hearing aids let them hear the lyrics.) The lyrics (I wouldn't call them "songs") are ink blots and all the usual suspects rush over in their walkers to tell you, "He's writing about . . ." He's doing his usual vague, meaningless statements. But at this late date, to admit that he's not a God, would probably destroy their carefully structured worlds.

This is "Significant Increase in Misconduct by Military Recruiters" (Feminist Wire Daily) in full:

In a recent investigative study, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported a significant increase of inappropriate conduct by military recruiters. From 2004 to 2005, incidents of recruiter misconduct increased by 50 percent, and criminal violations -- including sexual harassment -- increased by over 200 percent, Reuters reports.
According to the Associated Press, more than 100 women in the past year received unwanted sexual attention from a military recruiter. Eighty military recruiters have been disciplined in the past year for sexual misconduct, and some victims are coming forward to press charges. Barry Vogel, a lawyer representing a young woman who is suing the Marines, told CBS about his client’s case: "[The recruiter] said to her, outright, if you want to join the Marines, you have to have sex with me… She was a virgin. She was 17 years old."
Allegations range from rape to inappropriate touching to consensual romantic relationships, but many agree that any non-professional relationship between recruiters and recruits is inappropriate. Former Marine Corps recruiter Ethan Walker told CBS: "Any recruiter that would try to claim that, 'Oh, it’s consensual,' they are lying… The recruiter has all the power in these situations."
Media Resources: CBS 8/20/06; Reuters 8/14/06; Associated Press 8/20/06

That's pretty important. I hope you check the wire. I try to. Most of the time, if I'm online, I'm doing this site or working on a review. Today, I did have time to hop around the net for a half-hour and that's something I really wanted to be sure everyone was aware of. It's digusting and it's happening. I guess since we're "at war," anything goes. If this was the 1990s, we'd be up in arms screaming. More likely, now, we'll just cluck. There's no outrage because we're encouraged to look away by the mainstream media and the independent media doesn't give a damn about Iraq anymore for the most part. We saw that with Abeer. They weren't interested in covering here. They weren't interested in covering the hearing.

This didn't happen, with the independent media, during Vietnam. I can't believe it has with Iraq. It's one of the things that saddens me most because when independent media won't cover it, it makes it that much harder for the truth to get out. But, people power, we'll just have to use word of mouth, we'll just have to talk it up in our circles. Or do like C.I. and the gang are doing and take it to people. C.I.'s been on the road speaking out against Iraq since 2003. Jim wanted to do a piece on that for last Sunday's edition but C.I. nixed it. But my God, February 2003 up to today. C.I.'s been in every state except Alaska speaking out against the war. By the summer of 2004, C.I. had been to all 49 at least once and C.I.'s still going back. That's the kind of dedication we need to end this war. Maybe you're like me and you're not wanting to travel all over, you can speak in your community. It may be to a few people, it may be to a lot of people. It may be getting together with your friends. But we really need to be talking about Iraq because if we don't, the war will continue X many more years.

Please check out Cedric's "Noel, who's not in the US military, wants to send them to fight his war" which is his opinion, Betty's and Ty's. My apologies to him that he had to address it. (He said on the phone that "We were all glad too.") I think they did a brilliant job.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

August 29, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq -- and Alberto Gonzales only just got there, the AFP is reporting a peace deal with one militia group, Camp Democracy gears up for the September 5th opening, and, in Australia, Soldier 14 is asked if he shot Jake Kovco.
Starting in Iraq, the
AFP reports that the Madhi Army forces have agreed to some sort of peace deal (that's one out of countless groups) and that "a few hours after a peace deal was reached" 74 were dead from a pipeline explosion. The explosion was not caused by Alberto Gonzales (at least not as far as anyone knows), however he is in Iraq and, CNN reports, he intends to impart the importance of "rule of law" to Iraqis who, hopefully, will turn around and teach him a few things about "rule of law" since his actions as US Attorney General and, earlier, as Bully Boy's "hard-on with a suitcase," would indicate the concept confuses him greatly.
Gangsta' Gonzales should feel right at home in Iraq amidst the chaos and violence.
Reuters notes that five people were wounded by mortar rounds in Baghdad and that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb claimed the life of a police officer and wounded nine people.
Reuters reports that, in Baquba, "[f]ifteen people were gunned down"; a bakery worker was shot to death in Baiji with another one wounded; a civilian was shot in Mosul; and an attack (by "gunmen") an office of Moqtada al-Sadr left two bodyguards dead and five wounded. AP notes that the office was attacked with more than guns ("three mortar shells, two rocket-propelled grenades and a bomb") and that the building was demolished.
Reuters reports 20 corpses ("gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad, a corpse ("gunshot wounds" as well) was discovered in Balad, and four corpses were discovered ("handcuffed and blindfolded") near Baquba. CBS and AP note the 20 corpses in Baghdad rose to 24.
In the United States, Cindy Sheehan remains at
Camp Casey III in Crawford, Texas. On Wednesday, August 30th, she plans to join Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson for a demonstration against the Bully Boy in Salt Lake City. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30th, not Thursday 31st, as noted here before. More information at Utah Voices. The prospects so overjoy the Repubes that they've launched an ad, as John Daley (KSL) points out, that includes: "Now Rocky Anderson has invited her to Utah." Don't make the Repubes do all the work getting the word out.
Sheehan's attendance may depend upon her health (she recently had surgery). Responding to the charge of 'irrelevancy' (by the Waco Tribune),
Sheehan (Truthout) notes: "Peace will never be irrelevant as long as war is used as a diplomatic tool" and discusses her plans for The Camp Casey Peace Institute as "a force for real peace."
Sheehan will be moving Camp Casey to DC for Camp Democracy.
Kevin Zeese (American Chronicle) interviewed David Swanson about the upcoming Camp Democracy which Swanson states "will bring together movements for peace, Katrina recovery, immigrants rights, labor rights, electoral reform, women's rights, environmental sanity, accountability and impeachment. We'll open the camp in Washington D.C., on September 5th and run at least until September 21, the International Day of Peace, when a movement called Declaration of Peace has planned massive civil disobedience."
Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada, Charles Burress (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that Sarah Olson will not assist the military investigation of Watada: "I declined because I don't think that it's right for the Army to be asking me to help them prosecute Lt. Watada" Olson has reported on Watada at Truthout and on Free Speech Radio News (among other outlets). Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. More information can be found at Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco continues. Today Soldier 14 took the stand.
On Monday, Michelle Franco (forensic expert with the NSW Department of Health's Analytical Laboratories) refuted Soldier 14's previous claims that his DNA ended up on the slide of Jake Kovco's gun as a result of their shared use of a radio, megaphone, etc., from when they were both on duty the day of Kovco's death. Noting the concentration of Soldier 14's DNA on the pistol's slide and the fact that, were DNA transferred by such means, "after 30 minutes it would be virturally all gone." When asked point blank if she was saying that the Soldier 14 would have had to handle Jake Kovco's pistol to have left the DNA that was found on the slide, Franco testified, "It is consistent with that."
Soldier 14 had previous testified
August 25th, August 21st and as he did on August 18th that he did not touch Jake Kovco's gun. Soldier 14 has been in Australia and complained that he wanted to return to Baghdad (also testified that 'many people' told him Shelley Kovco, widow of Jake Kovco and mother of their two children, was out to get him). Michael Edwards reported on PM that in testimony on Tuesday, Soldier 14 stated: "We've had discussions on a numerous occassions trying to work out what happened." He's speaking of Soldiers 17 and 19 who were Jake Kovco's roommates.
Attorneys for Judy and Martin Kovco (Jake Kovco's parents) and Shelley Kovco may want the Soldiers 17 and 19 to testify (by video-link or in person).
Soldier 17 testified to hearsay on August 2nd, floating the rumor that Jake Kovco was a 'cowboy' with guns." At that time, he based that 'testimony' on what "others" had told him but he wouldn't name the others (and shot off a whiny "I don't have to if I don't want to" type of remark). Frank Holles (Judy and Martin Kovco's attorney) responded then: "I put it to you when it suits you, you will not provide information." No he won't. As Conor Duffy reported that day to Eleanor Hall of Soldier 17's claims, "He said he never saw this . . . He said that he didn't see it . . ." "It" was Soldier's 17's vivid testimony of how Kovco would allegedly play with his gun: "Like quick draw and you spin it around all that sort of s[**t]." His testimony to something he did not see, something he was told of by "others" whom he wouldn't name. Now Soldier 14 has admitted that he and Soldiers 17 and 19 discussed the case prior to their testimony. Soldier 17 should be forced to name the "others" and to testify as to his version of what the three of them discussed.
The "cowboy" claim made all the papers that day (in Australia) based on Soldier 17's vivid testimony . . . based on, admittedly, hearsay. And today Soldier 14 admits that they (he, Soldiers 17 and 19) attempted to 'sort it out'.
On July 24th, Detective Sergeant Phillip Elliott took the stand and noted that the clothes were destroyed, the roomates had showered, Jake Kovco's body had been washed all before he could begin his investigation. Elliott also noted that Soldiers 17 and 19 (Jake Kovco's roommates, in the room when he died) differed on where Soldier 17 was located in the room, on where Jake Kovco "lay after he fell" and that Jake Kovco's body had been turned over after he fell.
Belinda Tasker (The Courier-Mail) reports that Soldier 14 continues to insist that he never touched Jake Kovco's pistol. Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Soldier 14 told the inquiry "he wished his friend [Jake Kovco] was still alive to explain how his [Soldier 14's] DNA came to be on the gun." What a buddy, what a pal, what a mate. He wishes the late Jake Kovco were alive, why? To explain how his [Soldier 14] DNA was found on Jake Kovco's gun. What a selfish (and stupid) remark. Presuming Soldier 14's telling the truth about not touching Jake Kovco's gun, what makes him think Jake Kovco could explain it when (the living) Soldier 14 can't?
As previously noted, Jake Kovco and his two roommates were listening to music before Jake Kovco died (Cranberries) and Soldier 14 has tetified before about being bothered by the volume.
AAP reports that Frank Holles asked him if he "had stormed into Pte Kovco's room because he was angry about the loud music he and his two roommates were playing." Michael Edwards reported it to Eleanor Hall (The World Today) like this: "Basically what the lawyer for the Kovco family, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Holles, said was that Private Kovco had been playing loud music in his room, which is adjoining that of Soldier 14 in the barracks in Baghdad, and that Soldier 14 went into Private Kovco's room, took hold of his . . . of Private Kovco's 9mm pistol and then shot him in the head."
Soldier 14 denied that he shot Jake Kovco; however, as
Eleanor Hall pointed out, "But Soldier 14 has not denied being in the room, or the possibility that he may have been in the room when Private Kovco was shot?" To which Michael Edwards replied, "What he did today, he didn't deny being in the room. He said . . . it was put to him that hypothetically it wouldn't have taken him long to reach the room. And he agreed that hypothetically, yes, he said his room was adjoining Private Kovco's." It's interesting that it would hypothetically take two seconds for Soldier 14 to get to the room. Soldier Two (the platoon sergeant) testified on July 25th that he heard the shot and went to Kovco's room where he found Soldiers 17 and 19 beside Jake Kovco's body. Where was Soldier 14? Two seconds to get to the room, the platoon sergeant has made it to the room, where was Solider 14?
In other news of the Kovco trial, the
AAP reports: "Meanwhile, the chief of staff at joint task force headquarters in Iraq, codenamed Soldier 39, has rejected as 'utter bulls**t" claims by military police that he ignored advice to keep Pte Kovco's body in Baghdad until investigators arrived to examine it." On the subject of the body, Jake Kovco was supposed to arrive in Australia's April 26th. He did not. Juso Sinanovic, a Bosnian carpenter, arrived instead. The company handling the transportation of Jake Kovco and Juso Sinanovic's bodies was Kenyon International. As Brooke Shelby Biggs (CorpWatch) has noted: "Kenyon International Emergency Services is a wholly owned subsidary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a funer services firm based in Texas. SCI is helmed by Robert Waltrip, a close family friend of the Bush clan and a major donor to George W. Bush's gubenatorial and presidential campaigns. SCI has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals in recent years, including one in which a subsidiary was discovered to be recycling crypts and dumping bodies in a wooded area behind a Jewish cemetery in Florida."