Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Subic Rape Case - American Military Attitude and Behavior, VFA, etc

Subic Rape Case (updated)

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: To be a poor country --with a people in disunity and possessing a damaged culture and with rulers (not deserving to be called leaders) perennially characterized by mendicant and subservient attitudes and behaviors-- is to only invite abuses, insults and disrespect from foreigners and foreign nations; in our case oftentimes from Innocent America to which we are in awe- with our usual naïve sentimentality and endless "utang na loob".

Our neglect of our history and that of the world consequently led to our deep ignorance. We Filipinos never learn: that international relationships are not personal relationships; that so-called friendships between nations are not personal friendships. We Filipinos do not seem to get it at all: that all self-respecting nations look only and primarily after their own national interests, i.e. its people, which is understandable. In this regard our rulers have not done their part. As for us in general, given our gullibility, we still believe that we have special relations with America. Maybe we do. That is, between Master and Slave - the plantation mentality.

The disrespect for us Filipinos and our homeland by the American military/government was again recently demonstrated by the Subic Rape Case. Even with the post-WW2 American-imposed Bases Agreement not renewed, we still are having the same problems with the US military. This time thanks to the VFA (which includes BIA and SOFA provisions) railroaded by our perennially subservient rulers.

In the previous posting, I predicted --but hoped to be wrong-- that the Subic Rape Case will be a whitewash, as all crimes/offenses by US military personnel ended in the past decades. Now, after our court let go the other American servicemen who were active participants in the crime and has convicted only one, our homeland's rulers in a very anti-Filipino decision, acted to further please the Americans by returning (in the middle of the night) to the US military the convicted American soldier-rapist and thus not serving his sentence in our homeland (only a strong and bully nation can impose on a willing native accomplices/rulers).

All these crimes, all these foreign insults and disrespect to native Filipinos in our own homeland will not stop until we study to learn and understand ourselves, to know the "how, what, when, and why" we have lost our Filipino nationalism, i.e. the roots of our our mendicancy and colonial mentality that has perpetually kept us without national dignity and sovereignty in our own homeland. Our traitorous rulers allow them to occur because majority of us natives are mainly illiterate. It is only by knowing our nationalist history, that is, ourselves can we act to free our caged minds, to strongly demand from (if not depose them) the rulers to fight for and recover our national dignity and sovereignty as a people.

It is long overdue that we learn, realize and remember that our homeland and we the Filipino people do not count in the eyes of the American military/government. Thus in the case of military rape and any other crime committed in our homeland by American servicemen, we will only be continually taken for granted and pressured to remain on our knees, with extended hand begging and being unquestioningly conditioned to be pro-American and anti-Filipino.

In the below article, it is instructive to know how difficult it is for American military women, regardless of military rank, to pursue their rape charges against fellow American military men. What more for a Filipino woman?

It is long overdue that we destroy our Americanized minds with Filipino nationalism for the good of the native Filipino - maybe too late for our generation - but for the sake of the next generations of native Filipinos.

Click to see more postings about US military modus operandi:

“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

"If it is commercialism to want the possession of a strategic point [Philippines] giving the American people an opportunity to maintain a foothold in the markets of that great Eastern country [China], for God's sake let us have commercialism." – U.S. Senator Mark Hanna,(1837-1904)

“There is no literate population in the world that is poor; there is no illiterate population that is anything but poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

"The chief business of America is business" - President Calvin Coolidge, 1925

Rape Nation
By Kari Lydersen, AlterNet

As a new officer in the Air Force who trusted the institution and the men she worked with, Dorothy Mackey didn't think she would ever be sexually assaulted by her fellow servicemen. She was wrong.

When a military ob-gyn did things during an examination that didn't seem right, soon after she joined the service in 1983, she tried to rationalize her disturbing thoughts away. When she had another bad experience with a military ob-gyn in 1986, at the Spangcahlem Air Force Base in Germany where she was stationed, it was harder to look the other way.

"He sodomized me," she said. "I started looking into what happens in a normal ob-gyn examination, and that is definitely not supposed to be part of it." But when she was violated again about a year later, it was clear. Her group was on a training mission in Spain, passing some downtime by playing volleyball. By this time she was a sergeant, in charge of many of the enlisted men there.

"I had had a few drinks, but I know my body really well and I was not drunk," she said. She asked a male friend who was a first sergeant for a drink of water, but after two gulps of it, she realized something was very strange. She demanded to know what was in the drink, but soon she was staggering and losing her balance.

"In college everyone has had their moments, but I never experienced anything like that," she said. "I knew I had been poisoned." She staggered inside and began violently vomiting.

"He was standing at the door laughing," she said of the supposed friend who gave her the drink.
"When I had nothing left to throw up I passed out and he took me to his room. I woke up and there were four men in the room playing cards, I remember them laughing and saying, 'Sergeant I've never seen you like this,' like they were glad I had loosened up and was enjoying myself.

I passed out again and the next time I came to, he was on top of me, penetrating me. I remember telling him no and then passing out again. I woke up again to a loud knock on the door, someone who was concerned about me asking how I was doing. He was hiding behind the door naked with a full erection. I knew if I didn't do something I would be raped again."

Despite feeling like she didn't have the energy to move she pulled herself out of the room and down the hall, she said. Later when she tried to complain to her superiors about the rape, no one wanted to hear it.

Dorothy Mackey is not alone. She and other women veterans recounted their experiences at the National Summit of Women Veterans Issues in Washington, DC June 19th and 20th. As an officer, scores of women had come to Mackey and told her about abuse and rapes they had suffered, by officers, fellow enlisted men and doctors. Many of the attacks involved servicemen intentionally getting women drunk or drugging them and taking them off base.

"When you are a new woman walking onto a military base, you are like a deer and it's deer hunting season, but you don't know it," she said. "You think you can trust these people, you believe in the mission you are on together."

In 1992, Mackey quit the service, mainly because of the repeated incidences of sexual assault and domestic violence and other wrong-doing that she had seen go unpunished on the base. In 1994 she filed a civil lawsuit in a district court in Dayton, Ohio against the specific men who had assaulted her, including the superiors who abused her when she tried to report the previous assaults. The Justice Department decided to represent the defendants, so the case was moved to federal court. The Department of Justice attorney said the case should not be brought to trial on the grounds that it constituted a threat to national security, representing a "disruption of good order, morale and discipline." After making its way through the appeals courts, it ended up in front of the Supreme Court which refused to hear the case in 1998 and again in 2000.

Meanwhile Mackey founded a group called Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel (STAAMP) to fight the rampant rape and sexual abuse in the military and demand justice and reform. She says over 4,300 women have contacted her about being raped or assaulted while in the service, and in the vast majority of cases watching their attackers go scot-free while they are humiliated and threatened for speaking out about the attacks.

At a press conference during the National Summit of Women Veterans Issues, women cited surveys indicating that up to 50 percent of military women have experienced sexual assaults, and 78 percent have experienced sexual harassment. Because of the intimidation and harassment that women face for reporting assaults, the military's own numbers are much lower. But even so, they show a rise in assaults over the past few years. An analysis of Army records and reports published by The Washington Post on June 3 showed that reported sexual assaults increased 19 percent from 1999 to 2002, from 658 to 753, and rapes increased 25 percent, from 356 to 445.

A May 27 report from an Army task force stated that the Army "does not have a clear picture of the sexual assault issue" and lacks an "overarching policy" to deal with the problem. The report was prepared because of complaints by women's groups and lawmakers about apparently increased assaults against servicewomen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the National Summit, women pointed out that far from being an isolated problem, the military nurtures a culture of sexual violence and contempt for women that is linked to the rape and sexual abuse of women in occupied countries or countries where the U.S. has military bases, as well as rapes and assaults of women in U.S. prisons and jails. Rapes and sexual assaults are also often known to be high in U.S. cities and towns with military bases. On June 28, a Nashville T.V. station reported that Fort Campbell soldier Johnathan David Loynes was arrested for violently kidnapping 10- and 13-year-old girls who lived nearby and trying to force them to perform oral sex on him.

"It's all connected," said Phoebe Jones, a member of the group Global Women's Strike, which is joining STAAMP and other women's groups in a campaign to "STAAMP Out Rape by the Military."

"You have prison guards here, like Charles Grainer [implicated in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal], who go to Iraq and abuse people there. Then you have soldiers come back from Iraq or Afghanistan getting jobs as prison guards, and they rape and abuse people. The military could stop it if they want to, but they don't want to. They're socializing men into doing this."

Global Women's Strike has been in contact with women's and human rights advocates in Iraq who say women detainees and civilians are regularly raped and abused there. A press release they put out alleges that as part of the inquiry into abuses in Iraqi prisons, Congressmen have been shown photos of gang rapes and other abuses of women.

"They're suppressing the photos of women being raped because the public would just be outraged," said Jones.

The STAAMP Out Rape Campaign is demanding that:

1) an oversight body independent of the Department of Defense investigate all rapes and assaults by military members;
2) that the Veterans Administration (VA) must provide benefits and care to rape and assault survivors;
3) that women be allowed to choose a female health care provider; that reports of rape be treated seriously; and
4) other measures ensuring that there is accountability and that the problem is taken seriously.

Currently, servicewomen are not allowed to request a female ob-gyn or to deal with a female investigator after reporting an assault. And servicewomen who suffer post traumatic stress disorder or other physical and mental effects from being raped or assaulted report that they are often unable to obtain health care or benefits from the VA, with VA doctors and officials denying that their trauma exists or saying that it isn't service-related.

One of the campaign's demands is an end to the use of the so-called McDowell Checklist to determine whether rape reports are valid. The checklist, developed by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charles McDowell, is made up of 57 questions that are scored with .5 to 5 points for each answer. A score of over 16 points means a woman's rape charge is "probably false," over 36 is "false" and over 76 is "overkill." If a woman is having problems with her husband or boyfriend, she gets three points. Financial problems earn one point. Even "demanding" to be given medical treatment by a female earns her a point.

"There is no way any rape victim can pass this test," said Mackey. Considering the seeming irrelevance and bias of the questions, it is not surprising that the McDowell checklist turns up a 60 percent incidence of "false" rape reports, compared to a national average of about eight percent (according to FBI numbers).

Other statements McDowell has made over the years show his blatant contempt for women. The book "For the Love of Country" by T. S. Nelson quotes a woman who attended a 1992 Air Force Office of Special Investigations seminar given by McDowell, in which he said women who make rape allegations fall into three categories: "narcissists, socio-paths and immature, impulsive, inadequate, types."

His apparent belief that women make rape accusations mainly to get attention is belied in some of the checklist questions, for example does the woman "describe the assault with a sense of relish or enthusiasm."

While women bear the brunt of rape in the military, advocates point out that as seen in Abu Ghraib, both enlisted men and male detainees in foreign countries are also raped and abused, and these attacks are likewise hidden. Speakers at the National Summit said that there is often also a racial element to sexual attacks and harassment.

A male veteran who was sexually abused in the military said that "soldiers are trained to take whatever they want, whether from fellow servicemen or Iraqi detainees, and they know they will be protected."

Mackey sees this culture of arrogance paired with misogyny and resentment toward women in the military. "There are multiple agendas to the attacks," she said. "There are those who don't want women in the military, and who want to rape them out. And there are those who see civilians [in foreign countries] as 'practice' and don't care what happens to them. Rape is one of the greatest tools of war, and our government is essentially saying that rape of human beings is acceptable. We are a rape nation and this is all being done in our name."

Kari Lydersen, a regular contributor to AlterNet, also writes for the Washington Post and is an instructor for the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in Chicago. She can be reached at karilyde@aol.com.

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/story/19134/

1 comment :

Bert M. Drona said...


Our country is once again at a crossroads. We are compelled to choose between rightfully asserting national sovereignty or surrendering it once more in the name of so-called "special relations."

The continuing detention of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith at the US embassy in Manila is clear proof of the grossly unequal character of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA. And despite the Philippine Supreme Court ruling declaring the Romulo-Kenney Agreement illegal and that Smith should be returned to the custody of Philippine authorities, the Arroyo government has not sought to regain custody of Smith. Instead, the Arroyo government continues to insist that Smith should remain in the US embassy until the highest court finally decides on his appeal. There is also every indication that the US will not surrender Smith to Philippine authorities at all.

The Smith case is only the most recent example of how grossly lopsided the VFA is in favor of the US. The VFA also falls short of the Philippine constitutional requirements for a valid treaty. It was ratified by the Philippine Senate but not by the US Senate and was merely recognized as a treaty by the US State Department.

While the Philippine government enforces the VFA in the country, it is not so in the US. With the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Medellin vs. Texas, treaties entered into by the US are deemed unenforceable in the US unless there is an implementing law or if the treaty is self-executory. The RP-US VFA falls short of these requirements set by the US Supreme Court.

With the unequal standards in the ratification and implementation of the agreement, no less than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in his dissenting opinion has called the VFA unconstitutional and a "slur on our sovereignty".

The complimentary agreement VFA 2 further underscores the gross inequality and double-standards applied to US and Filipino troops. Filipino soldiers who are accused or convicted of crimes in the US will not have the same privileges that Daniel Smith enjoys today.VFA 2 highlights the utter absence of mutuality and reciprocity in the agreements.

Apart from being unconstitutional on its face, the VFA is also unconstitutional in its application. It allows the entry of an unlimited number of foreign troops for an indefinite period of time sans any basing treaty. Since 2002, US troops have been stationed in the Philippines under various pretexts and engaged in various questionable military operations.

For being patently unequal, unconstitutional and an affront to our national sovereignty, the VFA must be abrogated. The Executive branch, through President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, should exercise the right to terminate the agreement. With the abrogation of the VFA, the Arroyo government will have no other recourse but to impose Philippine laws and regain custody over Daniel Smith.

Our choice is simple and clear. We must choose sovereignty over supposed benefits from the VFA. We must choose national dignity over so-called "special relations" with the United States. The Philippines must conduct its foreign relations based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and non-intervention in each country’s internal affairs.

Junk the VFA now!

-from YONIP