T Nation

Is the US Like Iran ? ? ?


We sometimes hear stories about women in Iran or Pakistan, raped, and on top of that accused of indecent behaviour.

Well, sink your teeth in this one.


Female Airman Charged After Refusing to Testify in Her Rape Case
The Associated Press

Tuesday 07 August 2007 

Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina - A court-martial is scheduled next month for a female airman who said she was charged after refusing to testify against three male airmen she accused of rape. 

The woman is charged with one count of committing indecent acts and one count of consuming alcohol as a minor, said base spokesman Ed Drohan. The men received nonjudicial punishments and were granted immunity for their testimony in the woman's trial, according to documents provided by the woman's military defense attorneys. 

"The whole thing is a system failure," said Capt. Christopher A. Eason, one of the woman's lawyers. "This is unprecedented." 

The military declined to identify the men or confirm whether they were ever charged because the case is pending, Drohan said. He said military rules prohibit further discussion of the case but said "the Air Force is not attempting to cover up any wrongdoing." 

The Associated Press generally does not identify possible victims of sexual assault. 

In letters dated June 7 to the congressional delegations and governors of North Carolina and Texas, her native state, the woman said she decided not to testify against the three men because she was "under enormous stress." 

She said she was attacked in another airman's barracks room the night of May 12, 2006, and was partially clothed when she fled the room. She said she reported the incident and received a medical examination. 

In her letter, she also said the three male airmen were charged with rape but the charges were dropped after she refused to testify. The woman said she was questioned by the men's defense lawyer without her victim's advocate present, which her lawyers said was a violation of military justice policy. 

"The pressure of the judicial process was too much for me, and I felt like no one was looking out for my interests," the woman wrote. 

The charges allege she performed an indecent act on one man while the other two were witnesses, defense lawyers said. 

A court-martial has been scheduled for Sept. 24 at the air base adjacent to Fort Bragg, Drohan said, and it will be open to the public. 

If convicted on both counts, the woman could face up to a year in jail, reduction in rank, a cut in pay in allowances, a possible bad conduct discharge and be required to register as a sex offender, her defense lawyers said. 

Drohan said he didn't know the maximum sentence. 

"This is the wrong message to send to women in the military," said Capt. Omar S. Ashmawy, one of her military defense attorneys.

Sorta looks like Bush turned the US in a fundamentalistic state, doesn't it?


Is the US like Iran? No. System failure as Capt. Eason said? Definitely.

It still is pale in comparison of the following case.

[i]"In less than three weeks Kenneth Foster, an African American man sentenced to death in 1997 for the murder of Michael LaHood, is scheduled to be executed in Texas.

LaHood's actual killer, Mauriceo Brown, was executed in 2006. Foster, who was in a car about 100 yards from the crime when it was committed, was convicted under the controversial Texas state "law of parties", under which the distinction between principal actor and accomplice in a crime is abolished.

The law can impose the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occurred. In Foster's case he was driving a car with three passengers, one of whom, Brown, left the car, got into an altercation and shot LaHood dead. Texas is the only state that applies this statute in capital cases, making it the only place in the United States where a person can be factually innocent of murder and still face the death penalty.

Foster maintains that he did not know that Brown would either rob or kill LaHood. According to an Amnesty International investigation, there is evidence not heard at trial that the murder was an unplanned act committed by Brown, as the latter himself claimed before his execution.

In 2005, a federal district judge found a "fundamental constitutional defect in Foster's sentence" and ruled that Foster's jury had not been asked to determine if he had any intent to kill LaHood, and that this failure represented a misapplication of the law. However, the state of Texas appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned the decision.

The crazy thing about this case is that no one argues that Foster killed the victim. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's award-winning columnist Bob Ray Sanders wrote, the case "is further proof of how cruel, capricious, unjust and utterly insane our death penalty laws have become....

Because of this tainted system, whether you believe in capital punishment or not, a man who did not plan or commit a murder will die August 30 unless somebody -- a judge, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and/or the governor-- has the heart and the guts to stop it."

You can help these folks get up the guts at freekenneth.com. Find updates on the case and urge members of the Texas legislature to stay Foster's execution and ask for a re-trial based on new evidence."[/i]



The muffin man returns!!!


How is the war against the caterpillars going?

I'm rooting for the bugs.



I know you are, you're always rooting for the wrong side. But I think it is a war we might just win. :wink:
Our chances are actually better than yours in Iraq or Afghanistan.

You'll be surprised to hear that I actually took part in the campaign. Me and my dad that is. He noticed some of these caterpillars in his trees and I held the ladder while he torched them. It doesn't seem much, between you, HH and myself, that makes me the war veteran. Pretty sad eh?


I can't agree with you that this is an accidental system failure. Actually pressing charges, actually going to court, that's not a slip up by a single person, or a group of people. It would require a complete failure of ethics at every level in the chain. Ok, that's what we see at the top level in the US government, but it appears to be spreading like cancer.

There's a trend of sexually abuse in the US army, there's a trend of dismissing the women complaining about it, there's a trend of punishing them for their audacity to press charges. They've reached a new level here though.

I don't think it's a coincidence they're reacting the exact same way they're muslim soul brothers do. After all, aren't all fundamentalists, muslim or christian, similar?


I'm not the best person to comment on that, but it seemed to me that a few years back, sexual harassment (and of course abuse) was taken very very seriously. I have never heard of a trend dismissing women complaining of sexual abuse. On the contrary.

That said, per capita, there is are a lot more acts of sexual abuse in the US than in Muslim fundamentalist countries. The reasons are self-evident.

Even if that were true, the Americans would still be centuries ahead of the Muslim fundamentalists. For one, America is a democratic country, and despite the fact that they don't get much choice, it's still better than the God-appointed kings they have in the Gulf. My belief is that the US learns from its mistakes and their system has auto-correction. With the exception of Iran, that's something none of the Islamist fundamentalist regimes can dream to have in a hundred years.

There are a lot of "wackos of God" in the US, but to suggest that it's a reaction is not thinking hard enough. Lots of fundamentalist movements have been very active long before there was Islamic fundamentalists around. Prohibition anyone? Worse, the Puritans and Calvinists viewed themselves as favored by God and that black folks were cursed and condemned by God to serve white people.


I'm not saying the US is like Iran, but it certainly is moving in that direction.

Also, I'm not impressed by the quality of the US democracy. It's not enough to hold an election now and then to make a democracy. Several conditions have to be met:

o the politicians should be held in their place by a legal system willing to punish those who play not by the rules. This is not the situation in the US, where the legal system folded and was to eager to please the white house.
o the press doesn't have the courage to ask the tough questions. They should be willing to inform the people. Again, this condition is not met.
o the population has to be fairly intelligent and educated. They should be willing to be informed by a free and independent press. Just look around at this forum.

What happens if we get a few terrorist attacks before the elections? Do you think the US democracy can withstand another term of abuse?


American democracy is certainly not perfect.

First, there's the two-party system which gives very little choice. Then, there's the issue of the media which Republicans (the hard right) labels "liberal" while the lefties raise the question of their loyalty to the corporate world. Finally, the presidents are never grassroots folks serving the people. They're almost always looking out for the interests of their fellows in the filthy-rich-club.

Those are the main failures of American democracy in my opinion.

I am mystified by the ability of the system to make people feel like they have a say though. It's not yet Orwellian-scale yet, but it's well on it's way. Terrorist attacks will of course precipitate the whole thing.


If only your people had applied such zeal against the Nazis, instead of playing 'Whose got the soap?'.

And you made your old man climb the ladder while you held it? What a pussy!!!


A 2 party system evolved because Americans see things in good/bad terms. The rest of the world is in a gray fog.

If you look at our candidates, you'll see a very broad spectrum of views, from Hillary to Ron Paul. Just because each one doesn't have their own party is meaningless.


Well, since you're stuck with a 2 party system, it's better in my opinion to give all the candidates a weight. You know, like the Ausies. It's not perfect either I know, but at least Bush would have not got into into office in 2000 with that, and Paul would actually have a good shot at '08.


Having a 2 party system means the candidates usually have to NOT be extremists. Given the history of what extremists do, I think that's a good thing.

It does, however, make it easier for powerful elites to run/influence politics, and that IS a bad thing.


He insisted on that.

And since it was
o his ladder
o his tree
o his caterpillars
o his torch
I didn't have much leverage.


I don't know. I think it means that whatever "mood" grips the populace will dictate the type of candidate that will prevail.

For example, Americans have been concerned with "security" for a while now, and people who are willing to beat down those dangerous liberties along with those dangerous terrorists are getting some play.

Of course, the powerful elite will jump behind the ones that are also pliable. So, you get panderers who are owned by people with financial motives.

Okay, okay, I don't really think it is all that bleak, but seriously, reforms are needed to avoid going further towards the dark side. Is the US ultimately going to play the role of Luke or Anakin?