February 2010

Congress Told That DOD Data on Sexual Assault and Rape in Military Is ‘Lacking in Accuracy, Reliability and Validity’


Ann Wright
February 15, 2010

A Department of Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military told a Congressional committee on February 3, 2010 that “DoD’s procedures for collecting and documenting data about military sexual assault incidents are lacking in accuracy, reliability, and validity.”

In what many see as the reality of the military institution investigating itself on the criminal acts of sexual assault and rape committed by its own personnel, the naming of Task Force members and the work of the Task Force was delayed for three years. Following a congressional request, in October, 2005, Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense authorized the DOD Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military, but DOD took three years to name the Task Force and for the Task Force to have its initial meeting in August, 2008.

To read Ann Wright’s full story at CommonDreams.org, click here.

The Case Against the Colonel: ‘Lingerie Break-Ins’ and a ‘Treasure Trove’ of Photo Evidence


Christie Blatchford
The Globe and Mail
February 11, 2010

Colonel Russell Williams has given police a lengthy and wide-ranging statement about four dozen so-called “lingerie break-ins,” two home invasions that turned into bizarre sexual assaults last September, and the murders of two young women, one a military steward with whom he may have flown.

To read the full story in The Globe and Mail, click here.

Mullen Deserves Medal for Senate Testimony
Backing Open Military Service by Gays


Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
February 3, 2010

Mike Mullen’s 42 years in the military earned him a chest full of ribbons, but never did he do something braver than what he did on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

In a packed committee room, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff looked hostile Republican senators in the eye and told them unwelcome news: He thinks gays should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces he commands.

“Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” the nation’s top military officer told the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

To read the full story in The Washington Post, click here.

Franken Amendment on Rape Included in FY-11 Budget


Derek Wallbank
February 1, 2010

The White House has included Sen. Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment, which would prohibit Defense contracts of more than $1 million (a vast majority of them) from going to firms that required their employees to accept binding arbitration for claims of sexual or any other kind of harassment.

The Franken Amendment, as it has become known, was successfully attached to the Fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations bill.

via MinnPost – D.C. Dispatches: Franken amendment on rape included in FY-11 budget and H-Minerva.

Dispute Over Marine Base Sours
U.S. Ties With Japan


Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press (Chicago Tribune)
January 6, 2010

When the U.S. took over a Japanese airfield here in the closing days of World War II, it was surrounded by sugar cane fields and the smoldering battlegrounds of Okinawa. It is now the focus of a deepening dispute that is testing Japan’s security alliance with the United States and dividing its new government in Tokyo.

A large city has grown up around the base, and helicopters and cargo planes from the U.S. Marine Corps facility buzz so low over Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, whose playground fence borders the facility, that the windows rattle and teachers stop class until the aircraft are on the ground.

To read the full story in the Chicago Tribune, click here.