Tag Archive 'us soldiers'

Jul 16 2010

20 year old iraqi woman raped and tortured by US-Soldiers

Published by under Personal Stories

I was here, on the stairs by the door when a car pulled up with four men. My daughter was on the upper floor, I was on the ground floor. The four men got out of the car and approached me. They were armed, they put guns to my head and said come with us. I screamed and said take the pistol away. My daughter started to scream. They pulled my hair and pushed me in the car and they started shooting at the house, more than fifty shots. My daughter was screaming the whole time. Many neighbors started to shoot too, but they couldn’t catch them.

In the car they made me put my head down between my legs, and put a pistol to my head. They said that if I moved my head I’d be killed, so I don’t know where they took me…. [Then they took me into a building where] they were hitting me on the head and arms, and I still can’t stretch out because my whole body hurts. They used hot water on my head, my eyes still burn from that and my arms. They raped me, in many, many ways. They kept me until the next day, I begged them, I said I have a young child, I said she might die if I leave her alone. And so then they left me alone. When I came home my appearance was so bad, my hair was a mess, my mouth was bloody and my legs too. They burned my legs with cigarettes. They bit me, on my shoulders and arms. All of them raped me, there were five or six more than the four who kidnapped me, there were ten of them total and I was raped by all ten of them.

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Jun 18 2010

Sex In The US Army (video)

Published by under Iraq

Statistics show that nearly one in three female soldiers are sexually assaulted whilst serving their country. For some the consequences are tragic. One victim’s family is determined to find the truth.
Just 5 weeks into LaVena Lynn Johnson’s Iraq tour, the 19-year-old was found dead in a contractor’s tent. It was concluded to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But LaVenas family believes she was raped and murdered by another soldier and that the army is trying to cover it up.

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Jun 17 2010

US Practicing Systematic Rape, Torture, Sadism Against Women in Iraqi Prison Camps

Published by under Iraq

The General Secretary of the Union of Political Prisoners and Detainees in Iraq, Muhammad Adham al-Hamd declared that the US occupation administration in Iraq relies on systematic rape, torture, and sadistic treatment of Iraqi women prisoners in its prison camps in the country. Al-Hamd said that the enormous crimes being committed against women in the prison camps in occupied Iraq have the support and blessings of the US military, for whom the practices serve as a means to bring psychological pressure on men engaged in the Resistance, in an attempt to break their spirit and fighting will.

Muhammad Adham al-Hamd made the comments in a statement regarding reports that confirmed the presence of large numbers of women in the American-run prison camps – women who are detained solely to be raped and abused in order to bring pressure upon their husbands, brothers, sons or fathers.

Al-Hamd declared that the women prisoners are subjected to strip searchs, torture, rape, and psychological and physical humiliation by the police and prison administrators. Their clothing is removed and they are deprived of food and water for days in order to break their will.

Al-Hamd said that teams from the International Red Cross and groups operating under the umbrella of the United Nations have been prevented from visiting the detention centers and learning about what goes on there. Rarely do these organizations demand to visit prisons and detention centers because of the lack of security and the fact that the sectarian militias control the facilities.

International bodies and reports of the puppet “Human Rights Ministry” under the US-installed regime warn of an enormous human disaster that is likely to happen as the currently circulating epidemics of cholera and AIDS spread within many of the prison camps.

But the American practices of imprisoning and savagely treating women is, in fact, backfiring, al-Hamd said, pointing to a study done in central and western Iraq that showed that the arrest of just one Iraqi woman would drive 1,000 men to take up arms and attack US troops and their puppet regime allies in defense of the woman’s honor and dignity.

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Jun 17 2010

Nine year old iraqi girl raped by american soldiers

Published by under Iraq,Personal Stories

A nine-year-old girl was abducted from the stairs of the building where she lived, taken to an abandoned building nearby, and raped. A family friend who saw the young girl immediately following the rape informed international human rights groups.

The report quotes the family friend, “She was sitting on the stairs, here, at 4:00 p.m. It seems to me that probably they hit her on the back of the head with a gun and then took her to [a neighboring] building. She came back fifteen minutes later, bleeding [from the vaginal area]. [She was still bleeding two days later, so] we took her to the hospital.”

A human rights group saw a copy of the medical report by the U.S. military doctor who treated the baby girl six days later. The report documented bruising in the vaginal area, a posterior vaginal tear, and a broken hymen. Lieutenant Monica Casmaer, a physician’s assistant attached to a U.S. military unit, examined the nine year old girl. with the pediatrician. She described the injuries as fairly severe, especially given the time that had elapsed before she was examined.

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Jun 17 2010

Why US Soldiers rape

Published by under Other

Features » August 13, 2008

Why Soldiers Rape

Culture of misogyny, illegal occupation, fuel sexual violence in military

By Helen Benedict

Army Capt. Jennifer Machmer testifies before a congressional caucus that she was assaulted in 2003 in Kuwait by another U.S. soldier.

An alarming number of women soldiers are being sexually abused by their comrades-in-arms, both at war and at home. This fact has received a fair amount of attention lately from researchers and the press — and deservedly so. But the attention always focuses on the women: where they were when assaulted, their relations with the assailant, the effects on their mental health and careers, whether they are being adequately helped, and so on. That discussion, as valuable as it is, misses a fundamental point. To understand military sexual assault, let alone know how to stop it, we must focus on the perpetrators. We need to ask: Why do soldiers rape?

Rape in civilian life is already unacceptably common. One in six women is raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice, a number so high it should be considered an epidemic. In the military, however, the situation is even worse. Rape is almost twice as frequent as it is among civilians, especially in wartime. Soldiers are taught to regard one another as family, so military rape resembles incest. And most of the soldiers who rape are older and of higher rank than their victims, so are taking advantage of their authority to attack the very people they are supposed to protect.

Department of Defense reports show that nearly 90 percent of rape victims in the Army are junior-ranking women, whose average age is 21, while most of the assailants are non-commissioned officers or junior men, whose average age is 28. This sexual violence persists in spite of strict laws against rape in the military and a concerted Pentagon effort in 2005 to reform procedures for reporting the crime. Unfortunately, neither the press nor the many teams of psychologists and sociologists who study veterans ever seem to ask why.

The answer appears to lie in a confluence of military culture, the psychology of the assailants and the nature of war. Two seminal studies have examined military culture and its attitudes toward women: one by Duke University Law Professor Madeline Morris in 1996, which was presented in the paper “By Force of Arms: Rape, War, and Military Culture” and published in Duke Law Journal; and the other by University of California professor and folklorist Carol Burke in 2004 and explained in her book, Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane and the High-And-Tight: Gender, Folklore and Changing Military Culture (Beacon Press). Both authors found that military culture is more misogynistic than even many critics of the military would suspect. Sometimes this misogyny stems from competition and sometimes from resentment, but it lies at the root of why soldiers rape.

One recent Iraq War veteran reflected this misogyny when he described his Marine Corp training for a collection of soldiers’ works called Warrior Writers, published by Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2008: The [Drill Instructor’s] nightly homiletic speeches, full of an unabashed hatred of women, were part of the second phase of boot camp: the process of rebuilding recruits into Marines.

Morris and Burke both show that military language reveals this “unabashed hatred of women” all the time. Even with a force that is now 14 percent female, and with rules that prohibit drill instructors from using racial epithets and curses, those same instructors still routinely denigrate recruits by calling them “pussy,” “girl,” “bitch,” “lady” and “dyke.” The everyday speech of soldiers is still riddled with sexist insults.

Soldiers still openly peruse pornography that humiliates women. (Pornography is officially banned in the military, but is easily available to soldiers through the mail and from civilian sources, and there is a significant correlation between pornography circulation and rape rates, according to Duke’s Morris. And military men still sing the misogynist rhymes that have been around for decades. For example, Burke’s book cites this Naval Academy chant:

Who can take a chainsaw
Cut the bitch in two
Fuck the bottom half
And give the upper half to you…

The message in all these insults is that women have no business trying to be soldiers. In 2007, Sgt. Sarah Scully of the Army’s 8th Military Police Brigade wrote to me in an e-mail from Kuwait, where she was serving: “In the Army, any sign that you are a woman means you are automatically ridiculed and treated as inferior.” Army Spc. Mickiela Montoya, who was in Iraq for 11 months from 2005-2006, put it another way: “There are only three things the guys let you be if you’re a girl in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke. One guy told me he thinks the military sends women over to give the guys eye candy to keep them sane. He told me in Vietnam they had prostitutes, but they don’t have those in Iraq, so they have women soldiers instead.”

The view of women as sexual prey has always been present in military culture. Indeed, civilian women have been seen as sexual booty for conquering soldiers since the beginning of human history. So, it should come as no surprise that the sexual persecution of female soldiers has been going on in the armed forces for decades.

• A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all wars since, conducted by psychotherapist Maureen Murdoch and published in the journal Military Medicine, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving

• In 2003, a survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War by psychologist Anne Sadler and her colleagues, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military.

• And a 1995 study of female veterans of the Gulf and earlier wars, also conducted by Murdoch and published in Archives of Family Medicine, reported that 90 percent had been sexually harassed, which means anything from being pressured for sex to being relentlessly teased and stared at.

• A 2007 survey by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that homelessness among female veterans is rapidly increasing as women soldiers come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Forty percent of these homeless female veterans say they were sexually abused while in the service.

Defense Department numbers are much lower. In Fiscal Year 2007, the Pentagon reported 2,085 sexual assaults among military women, which given that there are about 200,000 active-duty women in the armed forces, is a mere fraction of what the veterans studies indicate. The discrepancy can be explained by the fact that the Pentagon counts only those rapes that soldiers have officially reported.

Having the courage to report a rape is hard enough for civilians, where unsympathetic police, victim-blaming myths, and the fear of reprisal prevent some 60 percent of rapes from being brought to light, according to a 2005 Department of Justice study. But within the military, reporting is much riskier. Platoons are enclosed, hierarchical societies, riddled with gossip, so any woman who reports a sexual assault has little chance of remaining anonymous. She will probably have to face her assailant day after day and put up with resentment and blame from other soldiers who see her as a snitch. She risks being persecuted by her assailant if he is her superior, and punished by any commanders who consider her a troublemaker. And because military culture demands that all soldiers keep their pain and distress to themselves, reporting an assault will make her look weak and cowardly.

For all these reasons, some 80 percent of military rapes are never reported, as the Pentagon itself acknowledges. This widespread misogyny in the military actively encourages a rape culture. It sends the message to men that, no matter how they feel about women, they won’t fit in as soldiers unless they prove themselves a “brother” by demeaning and persecuting women at every opportunity. So even though most soldiers are not rapists, and most men do not hate women, in the military even the nicest guys succumb to the pressure to act as if they do.

Of the 40 or so female veterans I have interviewed over the past two years, all but two said they were constantly sexually harassed by their comrades while they were serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and many told me that the men were worse in groups than they were individually. Air Force Sgt. Marti Ribeiro, for example, told me that she was relentlessly harassed for all eight years of her service, both in training and during her deployments in 2003 and 2006:

I ended up waging my own war against an enemy dressed in the same uniform as mine. I had a senior non-commissioned officer harass me on a regular basis. He would constantly quiz me about my sex life, show up at the barracks at odd hours of the night and ask personal questions that no supervisor has a right to ask. I had a colonel sexually harass me in ways I’m too embarrassed to explain. Once my sergeant sat with me at lunch in the chow hall, and he said, ‘I feel like I’m in a fish bowl, the way all the men’s eyes are boring into your back.’ I told him, ‘That’s what my life is like.’

Misogyny has always been at the root of sexual violence in the military, but two other factors contribute to it, as well: the type of man who chooses to enter the all-volunteer force and the nature of the Iraq War. The economic reasons behind enlistment are well understood. The military is the primary path out of poverty and dead-end jobs for many of the poor in America. What is less discussed is that many soldiers enlist as teenagers to escape troubled or violent homes.

Two studies of Army and Marine recruits, one conducted in 1996 by psychologists L.N. Rosen and L. Martin, and the other in 2005 by Jessica Wolfe and her colleagues of the Boston Veterans Affairs Health Center, both of which were published in the journal Military Medicine, found that half the male enlistees had been physically abused in childhood, one-sixth had been sexually abused, and 11 percent had experienced both. This is significant because, as psychologists have long known, childhood abuse often turns men into abusers.

In the ’70s, when the women’s movement brought general awareness of rape to a peak, three men — criminologist Menachim Amir and psychologists Nicholas Groth and Gene Abel — conducted separate but groundbreaking studies of imprisoned rapists. They found that rapists are not motivated by out-of-control lust, as is widely thought, but by a mix of anger, sexual sadism and the need to dominate — urges that are usually formed in childhood. Therefore, the best way to understand a rapist is to think of him as a torturer who uses sex as a weapon to degrade and destroy his victims. This is just as true of a soldier rapist as it is of a civilian who rapes.

Nobody has yet proven that abusive men like this seek out the military — attracted by its violent culture — but several scholars suspect that this is so, including the aforementioned Morris and Rutgers University law professor Elizabeth L. Hillman, author of a forthcoming paper on sexual violence in the military. Hillman writes, “There is … the possibility that the demographics of the all-volunteer force draw more rape-prone men into uniform as compared to civil society.”

Worse, according to the Defense Department’s own reports, the military has been exacerbating the problem by granting an increasing number of “moral waivers” to its recruits since 9/11, which means enlisting men with records of domestic and sexual violence. Furthermore, the military has an abysmal record when it comes to catching, prosecuting and punishing its rapists. The Pentagon’s 2007 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military found that 47 percent of the reported sexual assaults in 2007 were dismissed as unworthy of investigation, and only about 8 percent of the cases went to court-martial, reflecting the difficulty female soldiers have in making themselves heard or believed when they report sexual assault within the military. The majority of assailants were given what the Pentagon calls “nonjudicial punishments, administrative actions and discharges.” By contrast, in civilian life, 40 percent of those accused of sex crimes are prosecuted.

Which brings us to the question: Do the reasons soldiers rape have anything to do with the nature of the wars we are waging today, particularly in Iraq? Robert Jay Lifton, a professor of psychiatry who studies war crimes, theorizes that soldiers are particularly prone to commit atrocities in a war of brutal occupation, where the enemy is civilian resistance, the command sanctions torture, and the war is justified by distorted reasoning and obvious lies. Thus, many American troops in Iraq have deliberately shot children, raped civilian women and teenagers, tortured prisoners of war, and abused their own comrades because they see no moral justification for the war, and are reduced to nothing but self-loathing, anger, fear and hatred.

Although these explanations for why soldiers rape are dispiriting, they do at least suggest that the military could institute the following reforms:
• Promote and honor more women soldiers. The more respect women are shown by the command, the less abuse they will get from their comrades.
• Teach officers and enlistees that rape is torture and a war crime.
• Expel men from the military who attack their female comrades.
• Ban the consumption of pornography.
• Prohibit the use of sexist language by drill instructors.
• Educate officers to insist that women be treated with respect.
• Train military counselors to help male and female soldiers not only with war trauma, but also with childhood abuse and sexual assault.
• Cease admitting soldiers with backgrounds of domestic or sexual violence.

And last — but far from least — end the war in Iraq.

[Editor’s note: This article is adapted from The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, to be published by Beacon Press in April 2009.]

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Jun 17 2010

My Lai – American massacre in Vietnam

Published by under Asia

My Lai

What drove a company of American soldiers — ordinary young men from around the country — to commit the worst atrocity in American military history? Were they “just following orders” as some later declared? Or, did they break under the pressure of a vicious war in which the line between enemy soldier and civilian had been intentionally blurred? AMERICAN EXPERIENCE focuses on the 1968 My Lai massacre, its subsequent cover-up, and the heroic efforts of the soldiers who broke ranks to try to halt the atrocities, and then bring them to light.

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Jun 17 2010

16 year old Iraqi girl raped in prison

Published by under Iraq,Personal Stories

“I was visiting one of my relatives, and suddenly the American forces attacked the home and started to inspect it. They found some light weapons. So, they arrested all people in the home including me. I tried to explain to the interpreter, who was accompanying the American patrol, that I am just a visitor. However, my trials failed. I cried, begged them, and I lost consciousness from fear when they took me to Abu Ghraib prison. Nadia continues “they put me alone in a dark and dirty prison cell. I expected that I will be released soon, especially when the investigation proved that I hadn’t committed a crime”

Nadia elaborated while tears poured down her cheek, a telling sign of just how much she has suffered. “The first day was so burdensome. The cell was malodorous, humid and dark, and this condition increased the fear inside me more and more. The laughs of the soldier outside the cell made me even more scared. I was afraid of what would happen to me. For the first time I felt that I was in a difficult gridlock and that I had entered an unknown world that I would not get out of.

In the middle of these different feelings, I heard a voice for an American soldier woman who was speaking in an Arabic language. She said to me: “I didn’t imagine that the weapons’ traders in Iraq are women.” When I started to explain to her the circumstances of the situation, she beat me cruelly. I cried and shouted “By Allah! I am oppressed, By Allah! I am oppressed”

The soldier showered me with insults in a way that I have never thought possible or that I would ever be subjected to under any circumstances. Then, she started to deride me saying that she was monitoring me all the day via the satellite, and that they can track their enemies even inside their own bedrooms by American technology.

Then she laughed and said: “I was watching you when you were making love with your husband.” I replied in a confused voice “But I am not married”. She beat me for more than one an hour and she forced me to drink a glass of water, and I knew later that they put a drug in it. I regained my consciousness after two days to find myself naked. I knew immediately that I have lost something that all the laws in the earth will not be able to return it to me once again. I had been raped. A hysterical fit attacked me and I started to hit my head violently against the walls till more than five American soldiers head by that soldier women entered the cell and started to beat me, and they raped me alternately while they laughing and listening to a loud music.

Day by day the scenario of raping me was repeated. And every day they invent new ways that are crueler than the prior ways.”

She went on describing the horrible acts of the American criminals: “After about one month, a Negro soldier entered my cell and threw me two pieces of American military clothes. He said in weak Arabic language to wear them. After he put a black bag on my head, he led me to a public toilet where there are pipes for cold and hot water and he asked me to bathe. He then closed the door and left.

I was so exhausted and feeling pain, and despite the tremendous number of the bruises in my body, I poured out some water on my body. Before I finish my bath, the Negro soldier came in. I frightened, and I hit him in the face with the water bowl. His reaction was so tough. He raped me cruelly and spit on my face, then he left and returned with two soldiers who returned me to the cell.

The treatment continued that way, to the extent that sometimes I was raped ten times in a day, the matter which affected my health negatively.”

Nadia continued in revealing the American horrible actions made against the Iraqi women, saying: “After more than 4 months, a woman soldier woman came, and I concluded from her conversation with other soldiers that her name is Mary. She said to me “now you have a golden opportunity, since an officer who has a high position will visit us today, if you deal with him positively, you would be released, especially because we are sure you are innocent.”

I replied, “If you are sure of I am innocent, why you don’t release me?” She screamed in nervousness, “The only way that guarantees your releasing is to be positive with them.”

She took me to the public toilets, and she supervised my bath while she was holding a thick stick, hitting me by it if I didn’t perform her orders. Then, she gave me makeup, and warned me not to cry and ruin my makeup. Then she took me to an empty small room where there was nothing but a cover on the floor, and after one an hour she came accompanied with four soldiers who was holding cameras. She took off her clothes and she harassed me as if she was a man. The soldiers were laughing and listening to a noisy music, and taking photographs to me in all poses, and they were emphasizing on my face. The woman asked me to smile otherwise she is going to kill me, and she took a gun from one of her colleagues and fired four bullets near my head, and swore that the fifth bullet will be fired in my head.

After that, the four soldiers raped me alternately the matter which made me lose my consciousness. When I regained the consciousness I found myself in the cell and the traces of their teeth, nails and cigarettes are in everywhere in my body.”

Nadia stopped narrating her tragedy to wipe her tears, then she continued: “After one day Mary came and told me that I was cooperative, and I will be released but after I watch the film that they have shot. I was in pain when I saw the film, and she (Mary) said: “you have been created for the sole purpose for us to enjoy”. At the moment I became very anger and I attacked her although I was afraid of her reaction, and I would kill her except for the interfering of the soldiers. When the soldiers released me she showered me with hitting, then they left me.

After this incident, nobody harassed me for more then one month; I spent that period in the praying and invocation to Allah, the All-Mighty who has all power, to help me.

Mary came with some soldiers who gave me the clothes that I was wearing when they arrested me and took me to an American car. Then they threw me on the highway road after giving me 10,000 Iraqi Dinars.

I went to a home that was near the place where I have been thrown out and since I know the reaction of my family, I preferred to visit one of my relatives to let them know what happened after my absence. I knew that my brother had held a consolation board for me for more than 4 months, and they considered me as a dead person.

I understand the knife of shame is waiting for me. So, I went to Baghdad where I found a good family who lodged me, and I worked with this family as a maid and governess for their children.

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Jun 15 2010

Children raped by American soldiers in front of their mothers – Pentagon has tapes

Published by under Iraq

Seymour Hersh

From Daily Kos’ partial transcript of a video of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. He says the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

” Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

There’s also a piece worth reading in this week’s Newsweek about new allegations of rape and sexual torture at Abu Ghraib. Feature includes details on the identities of the Iraqi prisoners shown in those widely-circulated photographs — including Satar Jabar (charged with carjacking, not terrorism), whose iconic hooded figure with wires attached is derisively described by many Iraqis as the “Statue of Liberty.”

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