Monday, May 31, 2010

On this [U.S.] Memorial Day, let's not forget the U.S. Military Women and the Iraqi and Afghan Women who are Sexually Harassed and Raped by U.S. Military Men: the abuse is also called Military Sexual Trauma

This is a cross post from here at NPR.

Military Sexual Trauma: A Little-Known Veteran Issue

May 13, 2010

Rachel Caesar left the Army after serving for 14 

[photograph of Rachel Caesar is from here]

Rachel Caesar left the military after serving for 14 years. She suffered from military sexual trauma, but it took her a long time to admit it. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 48,000 female veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma just in 2008.
Rachel Caesar first tried to join the Army after she saw a recruitment insert in Jet magazine. She filled it out and sent it in. She was 8 years old.

It wasn't long before her mom's phone started ringing. Caesar's mom told the Army recruiter: "Maybe you'll see her in 10 years," according to Caesar today.

Sure enough, after Caesar graduated high school, she joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard. But her experience didn't live up to the dream she'd had of the Army as a kid.

'I Was Sexually Harassed'
In 1996, while on active duty in Korea, Caesar became pregnant. She says that after that, a noncommissioned officer sexually harassed her.

"He told me plain out that I should have been carrying his children, so I should have been having a sexual relationship with him, and I would have gotten promoted," she says.
Years later, during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003, Caesar says she was harassed again. She says she tried to get help from a chaplain, but that went nowhere. Eventually, her health declined — a bad knee, migraines. She didn't want to complain — didn't want to think of herself as a victim.

"Even though I was sexually harassed, I didn't think about it because I wasn't raped," she says. "I was never raped. But I was sexually harassed on many occasions."

So in 2004, Caesar gave up the only job she ever wanted to do. She left the military. At first, she and her two boys lived with her mother — barely functioning, she says.

"I would take the kids down to the bus stop, put them on the bus, get back in the house, lock myself in the house, sleep all day 'cause I was up all night, 'cause I couldn't sleep at night because of the nightmares and everything," she says.

Things got worse. Rachel and her mother weren't getting along. Unable to hold a job, with no money, she and her two boys ended up in a state-run shelter.

That's when Caesar turned to the VA hospital in Boston.

Lauren Devor, a clinical social worker and the coordinator of the women's veterans homeless program at the VA Boston health care system, was one of the people at the VA who helped Rachel.

The first thing she did was to find Caesar subsidized housing.

Special Challenges For The VA
In the past five to six years, Devor says she's seen more and more female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The women are young, and many have kids.

War Veterans In The U.S.

"Now I'm seeing many more women that have actually left their children to go to war and then come back," Devor says. "So you can well imagine a whole new area of work can be done around children feeling abandoned, other people taking on the parent role, then the mother coming back and trying to parent her children."

Children present special challenges for a VA hospital — everything from making sure there are changing tables for babies in the bathrooms to providing shelters for homeless female veterans and their children.

It's hard enough for any soldier to ask for help, but without these services, female veterans like Caesar find it even harder.

"Similar to male veterans, women who have served in the military are quite strong," says Eve Davison, a clinical psychologist at the VA hospital in Boston. She's another person Caesar turned to. "They see themselves as soldiers, and it can be really, really hard to admit that you need support."
Military Sexual Trauma
Davison, who also works with the National Center for PTSD, says she sees women like Caesar all the time.

She says it's not uncommon for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder to have screened positive for something called military sexual trauma. It's a catch-all term, covering everything from sexual assault to sexual harassment.

According to the VA, more than 48,000 female veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma in 2008.

"I think the general public is unaware of these numbers," says Erin Mulhall, a director of research for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group. She adds that the number is probably even higher because many women are afraid to report cases of harassment or assault. At the VA, the burden is not on the veteran to document what happened to them.

"It provides free care to any veteran that walks into VA medical centers that screens positive for military sexual trauma," Mulhall says. "It's bolstered training for its mental health professionals on [military sexual trauma] and also provides disability compensation for those that have developed some major health problems due to their trauma."

Many women vets don't want to talk about sexual trauma. They don't want to admit it. They don't want to report it.

That's what happened to Caesar, who is only now beginning to let people know about what happened to her: "I was coming here for therapy, doing what I had to do, but I was dying inside and nobody here knew," Caesar says.

"I'd like my life back" says BP CEO Tony Hayward: does "BP" stand for Billionaire Prick?

[image of Tony Hayward is from here]

This is on Twitter: "BP CEO Tony Hayward says he wants his life back 6 minutes ago via web".

His greed has allowed him to "poke" the floor of the sea and there's an explosion, human deaths, and a massive (there aren't words...) oil leak, and entire ecosystems and local economies are ruined, people relying on their work at shore to earn their living, and that's it. Their lives have no income, no support. And let's not forget about the animals on land, in the sea, and the birds who are getting poisoned and are dying, which is impacting a breeding area for birds that go far north and far south at other times of the year.

He's done so much that is harmful and HE wants his life back?????? What about the lives of people who, once this oil leak finally ends, will NEVER get their lives back? In this latest "mistake" (CNN is using that term) we begin the body count with those lost to the explosion, now estimated at more like 18 than the originally reported 9--and he wants HIS life back. And the thousands of animals who will die because of this, and the people's lives he's ruined economically, many who are part of already populations--the poor, the working class, people of color, people who survived the GWBush/Katrina disaster and carry trauma from that and now this? But it's really all about how quickly this multi-millionaire (if not multi-billionaire), can get his life to return to normal. Let's be clear: a tiny fraction of the world's human population will never, ever, ever know what his normal life is like. To have everything he needs for every occasion, or the purchase power to get it. All health care anywhere in the world, homes and vacations anywhere in the world, the best education for his family, a will to ensure that his children's children's children will never have to work a day in their lives.

The man whose company earns BILLIONS a quarter--in three months--wants HIS LIFE BACK? Talk about out of touch and self-absorbed!! One wonders which if his homes he can't sleep in due to tossing and turning, and whether the food someone cooks for him is now not sitting well in his anxious stomach. Concern about HIS well-being ought to be last on our collective list of people to show compassion to. Let's show compassion for everyone around the world who is impacted negatively by greedy oil companies and their many disasters we never hear about, and those who are negatively impacted by Western white men's corporate greed, which has caused so many people to lose their homes in the U.S.

I'll put him on the list of people to show concern for just under the financial crooks and thieves on Wall Street.

Let him give the region he's impacted last quarter's earnings from BP. For a start. Then hand over his wealth, then rewrite his will to leave any property and that Swiss bank account to the victims and their families, to animal rescue personnel and environmental activist groups.

Let him get the life of a working class or poor person he's irreparably harmed, for the rest of his life. Let him live out the rest of his life in jail. We'll see how much he values "justice" and "fairness" when the time comes for him to make reparations.

I'll tell you this: whether or not the oil stops spilling out of the pipes, his life is already a lot more comfortable than practically anyone else's on Earth. He doesn't even need to "get back" the life he lived to live without worries about anything. Because it is unlikely the U.S. and UK corporate and legal communities will not insist he lose his extremely privileged quality of life.

Women Against Military Madness, 3rd Annual Walk Against Weapons, on Saturday, June 5, 2010, Minneapolis area, U.S.

[image of WAMM logo is from here]

What follows is from here.


Download a map to Bakers Square - click here

(also includes the walk route)

General overview map of the area - click here
(half hour from anywhere in the Twin Cities - you need this one too)


Learn more about AlliantACTION and ATK - click here

"Oops! We Murdered Again": The Worst Environmental Disaster in U.S. History is NOT the BP Oil Spill of 2010

16 June 2010 ECD UPDATE: Last night U.S. President Obama proclaimed the following, opening his address to the U.S. Empire: "Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.  And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days.  The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years." I say BULLSHIT.

Homeland Security Women - Coyote's Corner
[this awesome poster is from, and is available for sale, here]

[photograph of Margene Bullcreek, Skull Valley Goshute tribal member and environmental activist, is from here. Date: approximately 1998-2000 ECD] 
What follows are excerpts from a report, Environmental Racism, Tribal Sovereignty and Nuclear Waste. Following that is my commentary.

High-Level Atomic Waste Dump Targeted at Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation in Utah

"There is nothing moral about tempting a starving man with money."
– Keith Lewis, of the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario, reflecting on his impoverished community’s 50 years of working in and living near uranium mines & mills, and the health and environmental catastrophe that has resulted.
Both the federal government and the commercial nuclear power industry have targeted Native American reservations for such dumps for many years. In 1987, the U.S. Congress created the Office of the Nuclear Waste Negotiator in an effort to open a federal "monitored retrievable storage site" for high-level nuclear waste. The Negotiator sent letters to every federally recognized tribe in the country, offering hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to tribal council governments for first considering and then ultimately hosting the dump. Out of the hundreds of tribes approached, the Negotiator eventually courted about two dozen tribal councils in particular.
Just 25 tribal members live on the tiny Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians Reservation, an hour’s drive west and south from Salt Lake City in Tooele County, Utah. The remaining 100 Band members live in surrounding towns in Tooele County, in Salt Lake City, and elsewhere. The reservation is already surrounded by toxic industries.

Magnesium Corporation is the nation’s worst air polluter, belching voluminous chlorine gas and hydrochloric acid clouds; hazardous waste landfills and incinerators dot the map; with a name straight out of Orwell’s 1984, Envirocare dumps "low level" nuclear waste in the next valley and is applying to accept atomic trash hundreds of times more radioactive than its present license allows. Dugway Proving Ground has tested VX nerve gas, leading in 1968 to the "accidental" killing of 6,400 sheep grazing in Skull Valley, whose toxic carcasses were then buried on the reservation without the tribe’s knowledge, let alone approval. The U.S. Army stores half its chemical weapon stockpile nearby, and is burning it in an incinerator prone to leaks; jets from Hill Air Force Base drop bombs on Wendover Bombing Range, and fighter crashes and misfired missiles have struck nearby. Tribal members’ health is undoubtedly adversely impacted by this alphabet soup of toxins. Now PFS wants to add high-level nuclear waste to the mix.

[For the rest of this report demonstrating ceaseless resistance by Indigenous North Americans against the tyrannical abuses of the U.S. government, please click here or on the title just above. For updates on this grassroots resistance movement, see here]
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The worse environmental disaster in U.S. history is NOT the BP Oil Spill Disaster of 2010 ECD. 

The U.S. will try and pretend that its history is not comprised of a set of on-going genocidal/ecological/environmental disasters. Because that's what "WE" did, not BP, not one oil tanker called The Exxon Valdez. WE did it. And WE are still doing it. The problem isn't just one corrupt, out-of-touch CEO, it is US, the U.S., the U.R.A.

I do believe of BP's executives should be tossed in an oily jail forever for doing what they've done--along with any former U.S. president who removed regulations protecting the environment. "The environment" necessarily includes the atmosphere, animals, land, water, and people living in those environments. It is the entire petrol/oil drilling industry, overall, must be stopped in its greasy, greedy tracks.

Without question, the biggest disaster on this land was the terroristic and toxic spread of the White Man and his bloody wake of murdered Indigenous North Americans, his tearing down of trees, enslaving animals and also human beings, West Africans, to his plow, plant, and harvest his fields to grow single crops destroying multi-species ecosystems, creating agribusiness including machinery and chemicals that have no moral or ethical business existing on Earth, and developing corporations which are designed to put profits over people, animals, and environment, now with relatively little regulation or accountability.

In what compassionately moral or philosophically ethical universe is any and all of the following acceptable behavior?
  • the destruction of Indigenous people; 
  • the violation and paving over of their sacred ground and cemeteries; 
  • the deforestation, strip-mining, and blowing up of sections of mountain ranges; 
  • the eradication of savannas, prairies, woodlands, and wetlands; 
  • the gross pollution of soil and spring water, lakes and rivers, seas and oceans, air and atmosphere
In what sense is all that not bigger than what is currently going on in the Gulf of Mexico? Who decides which oil spills are reported and which are covered up, kept out of the press? Who decides the time period in which "the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history" happened?

How is poisoning the land with nuclear waste, disproportionately near places where poor not rich people live, near places where Indigenous people and other people of color, not whites, live, not an environmental disaster bigger than this currently active one in the Gulf of Mexico--which is owned not by Mexico, but by the thieving and savage white male dominated U.S.?

The answer is this: the U.S. government and the militarily protected corporations that own it, and the media also owned by those corporations--each and every one of them ecocidally white male supremacist to the core of their doing--will always wish to portray itself as having done either nothing wrong, or as maybe having made a few mistakes in the past. "Oops, we murdered again!" ought to be the U.S.'s motto. Followed by no meaningful apology or attempts at justice-creating reparations and radical reforms.

Environmental disaster, just like human oppression, isn't a mistake. It's part of the white master plan. An oil rig blowing up may not be a willful act by one worker or a CEO (who ought not, in good conscience, ever be called "a worker"), but there were plenty of opportunities to make sure it never happened. And moving forward with technologies that have no soul, that are bounded by no ethical parameters, no moral imperatives, means that we get and will get a series of great disasters. Only the most immoral and callous of minds would conceive of punching holes in the deep sea such that when they leak they don't know what to do about it because their technology didn't plan for that eventuality. Only the most unethical and reckless souls would permit nuclear power to be generated with the only solution to "what to about the waste that will be toxic for thousands of years" is to plant it in the ground near Indian reservations. See here for more and read this:
The waste, sometimes called spent fuel, is dangerously radioactive, and remains so for thousands of years. When it first comes out of the reactor, it is so toxic that if you stood within a few meters of it while it was unshielded, you would receive a lethal radioactive dose within a few seconds and would die of acute radiation sickness [wikipedia] within a few days.
What "ethical" men would wish to produce this? White men. What "great" men would seek genocide as a means of establishing "a moral civilisation"? European and European-descended Christian men. Make no "mistake" about it. Living off of the values and practices of refined white men is as good for humanity, animals, plants, and the Earth as a diet consisting only of refined white sugar.

Support the deportation of illegal, alien, and criminal occupiers, aka "refined white men" from North America.