Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Friday, August 29, 2008

The OBAMA – MACCAIN Chess Match

BREAKING NEWS for Associated Press

DENVER – John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate on Friday in a startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention.


The biggest celebrity in the world is not Barack Obama, but Michael Jackson, who turned 50, today. Why would they say Barack Obama is a celebrity in the same class, when one is a politician and the other an entertainer?

Come on, folks!

AP correspondent Walter R. Means published his “ON DEADLINE: Obama's famous, but so's McCain”.

Republicans are trying to make fame a liability for the Democratic presidential nominee and they're having some success at it. But John McCain is a celebrity too, writes Means.

The anti-celebrity ploy is a useful one for the Republicans. It makes Obama's strengths into GOP targets. In the GOP version, the fact that he draws vast crowds shows that he is just a celebrity, not a man of substance, and his skill as an orator is cover for the lack of a real message.


What is this disdain McCain has for popular celebrities? Is “rock star” status a bad thing? Or, is there an assumption that rock stars cannot be good leaders”. (What Behind Obama’s Rock Star Status? by Eddie Griffin, published Thursday, August 28, 2008).

In the above article, I wrote:

What is this business about Sen. Barack Obama having “rock star” status? When Sen. John McCain makes this reference, it has to be a mental association based up a supremacist psychosis.

I describe, in detail, the psychosis as a supremacist jealousy and hatred for the rising in popularity and status of someone whom he feels ought to be inferior. It's a social disease of the older white generation.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Behind Obama’s Rock Star Status?

The ideations of John McCain

by Eddie Griffin (BASG), AfroSpear

What is this business about Sen. Barack Obama having “rock star” status? When Sen. John McCain makes this reference, it has to be a mental association based up a supremacist psychosis.

First, popularity in attracting large crowds signifies “rock star” status. What is this disdain McCain has for popular celebrities? Is “rock star” status a bad thing? Or, is there an assumption that rock stars cannot be good leaders.

Second, if the man on stage is a black man, he must be a “rock star” to draw such a crowd. After all, black men especially have had a long history in entertainment and sports, for the pleasure of the elite box seat crowd. From Mr. Bojangles tap dancing for coins tossed at his feet to hip-hop Kanye West, Barack Obama must be some new form of cheap political entertainment, like other black men on stage.

The “rock star status” label is supposed to cheapen the candidate in the eyes of the public. After all, you cannot take a rock star seriously.

What is wrong with John McCain’s eyesight? What does a true world leader look like?

(Duh! I don’t know… never been there… never done that… looks like rock star status to me.)

When was the last time the world cheered an American politician, let alone when was the last time they flocked to see an American leader, with great such great masses, with enthusiasm, passion, and adoration?

(Well Duh! I can’t turn out crowds like that. I still can’t figure out why half the world hates us and our friends forsake us… I’m going to make the world respect me… I’m going to make the world come back over to my side… I’m going to make the world align with my missions and goals… I’m going to make you love me more than you love Barack Obama... This is John McCain and I approve this jealous message.)


Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949

At the age of six, he began dancing for a living appearing as a "hoofer" or song-and-dance man in local beer gardens. At seven, Bill dropped out of school to pursue dancing. He invented a type of dancing called stair dancing in 1884. He gained great success as a nightclub and musical comedy performer, and during the next 25 years became one of the toasts of Broadway. Not until he was 50 did he dance for white audiences, having devoted his early career exclusively to appearances on the black theater circuit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Worse Nightmare: Gremlins & Dream Killers

HAT TIP to Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

From: Eddie Griffin

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bud Kennedy reports:

The other half of the presidential campaign arrived loudly at the Democratic convention Tuesday, bringing a flashy slogan and a team of protesters to make noise for Republican John McCain. (Kennedy: Republicans arrive in Denver ready to pounce, Star-Telegram, Wednesday, August 27, 2008)

These are the Republican operatives, political hit men, disrupters sent to the Democratic National Convention in Denver on a not-to-secret clandestine mission to sabotage the celebration. This is our worst nightmare.. dream killers... gremlins.

They got their marching orders from John McCain to execute the “Not Ready ‘08” strategy to embarrass the Obama campaign, according to the report.

I cannot help but think of the many African-American male leaders who have been clowned by these same types of antics from “dream killers”. First, they say a black man is not qualified. Then, they say he is not ready.

(How many times have I heard that in my 62 years?)

Among the dream killers come character assassins Mitt Romney. “Rudy Giuliani is coming,” reports Kennedy.

Electing Obama would “make America a weaker nation,” Romney told a news conference.

YEAH. Riiiiight!

“Martin Luther King, Jr. is the most dangerous man in America,” said FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. He is a communist, they claimed.

Now the character assassins want to say, “Oops, we were mistaken about his patriotism and fortitude.”

(Isn’t it a little late? And, what good is a 100-year overdue apology about evil of slavery?)

... Four Republicans on a “ready response team” sat in a dark room, watching four TV news networks at once and scouring blogs to turn any Democratic blunder in favor of McCain.

“If we catch a Democrat saying something inaccurate or embarrassing, we’re on top of it,” said Tom Kise, the Colorado-based regional spokesman for the McCain campaign.


In the heydays of J. Edgar Hoover, they did more than wait and watch for embarrassment to befall Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They actually instigated it. And, I expect the same of McCain’s “Ready Response Team”. They have already arrived in Denver with their maps, signs, chants, and itinerary.

Later, at the Not Ready ’08 headquarters, the McCain campaign spokesman showed a Texas guest the volunteer center, including the white boards listing which Democratic events to crash and the markers and posterboard to make signs, observed Bud Kennedy.

Republican volunteers in McCain shirts interrupted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an energy policy press conference.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm in Denver at the Democratic Convention --- Adrianne George

AfroSpear Adrianne George Reports from DNC:
Call in to Zhana’s Success Strategies Show tomorrow and talk to her.

Report: By Eddie Griffin
8/25/2008 11:36:58 AM

Check out the "Success Strategies" show with Zhana Tuesdays 8 p.m. GMT. (3:00 p.m. Central)

(Click on this link to see what time it will be for you locally.)

Each week, we will look at different aspects of success, motivation and healing for people of African heritage.

To phone in to the show, ring 001 (347) 838-8079

UK Callers, to call at local rate, first ring 08452 441 441, then the above number.

The 26th August Show Lineup

Zhana interviews Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, author of Race, Law and American Society. Use of prisoners as cheap labour, a modern-day practice that has direct links to slavery.

Plus a report direct from the floor of the Democratic National Convention from Adrianne George of Black Women in Europe.

The 26th August Zana’s Success Strategy Show will include a report direct from the floor of the Democratic National Convention from AfroSpear Blogger, Adrianne George of Black Women in Europe.

FROM: Adrianne George
"Adrianne George"

TIME: Monday, August 25, 2008 9:31 AM

RE: I'm in Denver at the Democratic Convention 25-29 August


I will be blogging live from the Democratic Convention in Denver 25-29 August.

While I'll have access to email I may not be able to respond promptly.

Kind regards,

Adrianne George

Send me to Denver to blog about Obama in August:

Friday, August 15, 2008

August 28, 1963


OBAMA WATCH: August 28, 2008


Friday, August 15, 2008

Congratulations to all my colleagues who are going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, August 25-August 28.

I hope to be watching Senator Barack Obama make his acceptance speech from the White House in Fort Worth, Texas.


Good morning, I would like to invite you to our Grand Opening of the Obama East Tarrant County Headquarters. This location will provide the East Tarrant County area of information on Events/Voters Registers/ Phone Banking and other information about the upcoming Presidential Election.

We are reaching out to the communities to inform them to register to vote. A lot of people are not aware that they can vote if they have been in prison (laws have changed). We are here to get the word and. And we would like your support in letting the people know this information. You are in a position that where you can help us get the word out.

Our headquarters will be open Mon-Friday 10am- 6 pm. The location is 2917 S Cravens Road (known as The White House), Fort Worth Texas 76119, and 817.446.7714.

Come out and join us at the Obama East Tarrant County Headquarters our White House in Fort Worth....If you have any questions please give us a call at the office or my cell phone.

Come out to Support our Urban Areas we need your help, could you reply back to let us know if you will support.

Thank you,

MeLinda Hamilton
Executive Director
(817) 938.8892


Time: Thursday, August 28 at 6:00 PM - 2 hours
Fort Worth, TX 76119

You can view the details of this event at any time by going to:

You can update your signup and view other events you're attending at:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

McCain Threatens Russia over Georgia

McCain ‘s chief foreign policy adviser paid $$$ by Georgian government

By Eddie Griffin

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Would Senator John McCain instigate hostilities with Russia over the Republic of Georgia?

Recently, McCain issued a statement condemning Russian military action against Georgia as “totally, absolutely unacceptable”.

If elected President of the United States of America today, John McCain’s words and attitude would ratchet the Doom’s Day clock up to its last second. The man seems to gloat on persuing a foreign policy course of managing international hostilities. But can he manage a crisis of his own creation. And, why does his foreign policy mirror the Bush policies?

Is this crisis scenario being staged the same as the Iranian hostage crisis, which was staged on ther brink of the 1980 US elections and caused the defeat of Jimmy Carter in his bid for re-election. Sure, looks fishy to me.

We must beware of “staged international crisis”. The Georgia-Russia War may be one.

Consider these facts:

John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. (“McCain adviser got money from Georgia” by Associated Press Writer Pete Yost).

The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann's personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters,

For some time we have been grappling with the problem of social reintegration of ex-offenders. I have been involved with the Tarrant County Reentry Initiative since its inception to try and help pave the way for those released from prison.

Nationally, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions. This encompasses 13% of the African-American male population.

As a Previously Incarcerated Person (PIP), Eddie Griffin understands how important it is for a PIP to become vested in society, considering that most offenders feel alienated from society. By participating in the democratic process, a PIP gains a new perception of society, a new sense of social and human worth, and a sense of self-empowerment. Most of all, it gives him or her voice in the governing of our society. On the other hand, a disenfranchised PIP is a recidivist waiting to happen.

The national campaign to help ex-offenders reenter society and regain their lives, dignity, and the right to vote has been spreading in recent years. From the Whitehouse, to the Congress, to the State Legislature, to the County Commission, everyone concurs that the best way to reduce crime and build safer communities we must put build a mechanism for ex-offenders to reintegrate into society. The rate of recidivism is around 60%.

But the movement to enfranchise the disenfranchised has been so in going.

In 2005 Iowa’s governor issued an executive order restoring voting rights to all persons who had completed a felony sentence, and the Nebraska legislature adopted a measure that replaced a lifetime voting ban with a two-year post-sentence waiting period for people with felony convictions. In 2006, Connecticut, Florida, and Tennessee changed their rights restoration procedures to promote registration by eligible voters with felony convictions. (Source: Sentencing Project).

Florida's ban was written into the state constitution after the Civil War, and regaining the right was nearly impossible for decades. Hundreds of thousands of clemency applicants were rejected, leaving nearly 1 million Floridians unable to vote in the 2004 presidential election, according to the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group.

Since the law was changed, the ACLU and People for the American Way have been reaching out to ex-offenders through Web sites that help people figure out whether the state has acted on their cases. (“For Those Once Behind Bars, A Nudge to the Voting Booth”, Krissah Williams Thompson, Washington Post)

Previously, I reported "Over 100,000 Ex-Offenders Restored Voter Rights in Florida", based upon an article entitled "New Florida Rules Return More Than 115,000 Ex-Offenders to Voting Rolls" by Damien Cave and Christine Jordan Sexton, The New York Times.

The challenge now facing us in this campaign is getting these ex-offenders registered to vote. I received this email asking my help.

Hello Mr. Griffin,

My name is Rachael Scandarion. I am a Florida volunteer building a grassroots effort that identifies and engages both disenfranchised and RCR ex-offenders statewide in Registering to Vote.

I have obtained a database list of ex-offenders from the Florida Parole Commission that has 345,000 names of RCR Clemencies granted through 7.25.08.

While this database does not contain phone or address contacts for the listings, it does have name, DOB, Executive Order #'s, and date clemency granted.

I need help in expeditiously identifying a means by which to cross-reference the names on this list with other databases of contact info: phone numbers, street addresses, whatever means are possible to contact those on the database.

I have a substantial base of volunteers who are ready to help make contact with the intent of holding ceremonies, where these citizens of our country are re-engaged throughout Florida in a day of statewide events that will celebrate their restoration of rights as citizens with dignity and respect and to provide them with the opportunity to Register to Vote - much like naturalization ceremonies for those becoming citizens.

For obvious reasons, time is of the essence in this matter in order to ensure that they are all registered in time to be a part of this most critical general election. Could you please contact me at your soonest convenience and advise me if you can assist me or if you know of another organization or individual who can help me.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter. I remain,
Very Truly Yours,
Rachael Scandarion

"We Must Be The Change We Wish To See In The World."
~ M. Gandhi

Rachael Scandarion
954.963.5405 PH
954.963.0547 FAX
954.560.6307 cell


I would like to call upon you for your help in this campaign. Please email me at or

From Freedmen Bureau Archives: A list of African-American prisoners in the Texas State Penitentiary, 1867. See the petty and fabricated crimes penned against ex-slaves during the Reconstruction Era. This is how the Texas penal system began.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chinese People: 1 - Chinese Government: 0

China’s opening ceremonies to the 2008 Olympics was simply awesome. I was captivated by the People Republic’s mind-boggling display of technology, engineering, and architectural wonders... well-performed, well-choreographed masteries in artistic splendor... eloquence, grace, pride, and sportsmanship. The people of China were so marvelously grand that it leaves the rest of us in the Stone Ages.

I came close to boycotting these Olympics altogether, and actually would have had it not been for the “Lost Boy of Sudan” carrying the American flag into the arena. At first, I just wanted to see him, nothing else. I just wanted to hear the sports commentators mention Darfur and the atrocities being carried out there. In an odd contradictory way, I was proud of the American athletes. It was they who voted to let Lopez Lomong lead his Olympic teammates into the arena. And, in a quiet and subtle way, TEAM DARFUR had made a significant statement on human rights.

[Continue Round 2]

Friday, August 8, 2008


Let the Games Begin

A Perception by Eddie Griffin

Today, I will filter my focus on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. What will I find? I don’t know, exactly, because I know not what the day may hold. But I will be looking for Darfur in China, during the Olympics.

President George W. Bush mildly criticized China on its human rights policies and practices. The Chinese politely retorted that Bush mind his own business and leave China alone. Within the past few days, there have been protests going up around the country over China’s relationship with the Sudan government, its oil interest in the country, its arms trade, and the brutal suppression and genocide in the region of Darfur.

On July 31, 2007, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1769 authorizing a UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur. While passage of the resolution provided hope to millions of Darfuri civilians, ensuring the full deployment of more than 26,000 peacekeepers requires our vigilant action. The Government of Sudan has a long record of signing international agreements then obstructing their implementation – and with only some 10,000 peacekeepers on the ground more than nine months after deployment began, it is clear that more pressure is needed. Key actors – both economic and political – must take a stand to help ensure Khartoum moves forward and UNAMID is fully deployed as quickly as possible.

These actors include the four oil companies that have come to dominate Sudan’s oil industry: the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Chemical and Petroleum Corporation (Sinopec Corp.), Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India-Videsh (OVL).

Ultimately, the Government of Sudan is responsible for ending human rights abuses in Darfur. But companies operating in Sudan cannot ignore the Darfur crisis or pretend they have no influence.

Over 20 U.S. states, nine cities, 50 colleges and universities, numerous private institutional investors, and countless individuals have adopted Sudan investment policies regarding these companies. Recently, financial industry leaders like Morgan Stanley and T. Rowe Price have joined their ranks. These investors, with hundreds of billions of assets under management, have recognized their unique shareholder risk and responsibility associated with the Darfur crisis. I hope that you will seriously considering doing the same.

Wayne Hicks
Mason, OH 45040-7916

UPDATES FROM: Eddie Griffin at BASG

Human Rights Activists Trumpet ICC Actions on Darfur

Human rights activists say Sudan's allies and trading partners, such as China, are obligated to re-evaluate and adjust their dealings with Khartoum, now that the International Criminal Court has given notice of possible genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

Last month, the ICC took steps to indict Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes. The court's chief prosecutor accused Mr. Bashir of masterminding a campaign of rape and murder targeting people in Sudan's violence-wracked Darfur region, and requested a warrant for the Sudanese leader's arrest.

Human rights activists say the ICC actions amount to a finding of likely genocide in Darfur, and that such a finding triggers clear obligations for the international community, particularly nations that deal closely with Sudan.

Betsy Apple specializes in crimes against humanity for the New York-based group Human Rights First.

"Every country in the world is on notice that there is a serious risk of genocide occurring in Darfur. Under the [United Nations] Genocide Treaty, states are obligated to take every conceivable action they can to prevent genocide," said Apple. "And the treaty does not require that states know for certain that genocide is happening. Rather, it is enough that states know that there is a serious risk of genocide occurring in order for this obligation to prevent genocide to kick in."

Apple was speaking in a conference call with the news media.

Also appearing on the conference call was international law expert Jerry Fowler, who heads the Save Darfur Coalition. Fowler says no nation has more extensive ties to Khartoum than China. Therefore, under the U.N. Genocide Treaty, Chinese officials bear the greatest responsibility to take immediate, decisive action to end bloodshed in Darfur.

"They have been a key protector of the government of Sudan in the United Nations Security Council. In effect, they have been the 'heat shield' of Khartoum in the Security Council. Secondly, they are a major arms supplier of the government of Sudan. A U.N. database indicates that 90 percent of arms transfers to Sudan come from China," said Fowler. "The third thing is their intimate and expanding economic relationship [with Sudan]."

Whether or not the international community takes note of ICC pronouncements, President Bashir has said his country will not cooperate with the court. At the same time, the African Union has expressed concern that ICC actions could complicate efforts to bring peace to Darfur. Sudan maintains that reports of 200,000 deaths in Darfur are exaggerated, and the genocide label is inaccurate.

Olympics: Activists Barred From Games By Chinese Government

The Chinese government on Tuesday revoked the visa of 2006 Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek, effectively barring the speedskating champion and social activist from attending the 2008 Beijing Games.

Cheek is co-founder of Team Darfur, an organization composed of athletes attempting to draw attention to human rights violations in Darfur. China is a major customer of the oil produced in the war-torn region of Sudan.

Cheek said that Team Darfur's co-founder, former UCLA water polo player Brad Greiner, had received a similar call about 10 minutes earlier. The two had planned to attend the Games, which officially open on Friday, to support more than 70 Olympians from around the world who have signed on to support Team Darfur.
(“Olympics: Activists Barred From Games By Chinese Government”, Washington Post, 08.06.08).

Lopez Lomong: Star of the East
Essay by Eddie Griffin

The Star of the East is over Beijing, China. The 2008 Olympics is supposed to bring humanity together in the spirit of competitive sports. But the old communist ways are still the same, to present China as the perfect socialist country... which means hiding dirty laundry, sweeping its brutal repressions under the rugs, and overshadow human rights with commericalism and modernism to the nth degree.

This is not political, they say. But some say otherwise.

China may be able to dodge criticism over its handling of Tibet. But its complicity with the Sudanese government and the atrocities in Darfur cannot be hidden by thick gray smog. The little star of hope for Darfur will shine through and take center stage at the Beijing Olympics.

One of the Lost Boys of Sudan, from the region of Darfur, ran and ran and ran, across the harsh terrains of Africa all the way to the United States, continued running in schools and colleges in America, to win a spot of the Olympics Team. It was the Star of the East always before the eyes of Lopez Lomong.

Leading the way for the Star to shine on Darfur is a cadre of about 70 US athletes who opposes China relationship with Sudan and its brutal repression of Darfur. These Olympic athletes call themselves Team Darfur. They are led by Olympic gold medalist speed-skater, Joey Cheek, whose visa to Beijing was suddenly revoked.

But Olympic teammates selected the Lost Boy of Darfur, Sudan, Lopez Lomong, to carry the US flag and lead the team onto the field. What an honor! As the flag enters the stadium, all the eyes of the world will turn to this boy from Darfur, who ran his way into history. For once, the eyes of the world will be open to the plight of the people in Darfur.

Thanks to the Olympic athletes who chose to make a statement in a different way, one which will surely have an impact.

"It's more than a dream," Lomong said in an interview with The Associated Press moments after he got the news. "I keep saying, I'm not sure if this is true or not true. I'm making the team and now I'm the first guy coming to the stadium and the whole world will be watching me carry the flag. There are no words to describe it."


A record 204 delegations were set to parade their athletes through the stadium — superstars such as basketball idols Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming, as well as plucky underdogs from Iraq, Afghanistan and other embattled lands. The nations were marching not in the traditional alphabetical order but in a sequence based on the number of strokes it takes to write their names in Chinese. The exceptions were Greece, birthplace of the Olympics, which was given its traditional place at the start, and the 639-member Chinese team, which lined up last.

The American flag-bearer was 1500-meter runner Lopez Lomong, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who spent a decade of his youth in a refugee camp in Kenya. He's a member of the Team Darfur coalition, representing athletes opposed to China's support for Sudan. On Friday he avoided any criticism and said the Chinese "have been great putting all these things together."


I found an interesting dialogue over at Slant Truth.

Kai on August 7th, 2008 3:44 am

I’ve lived in China, was born in the US, but refuse to pay homage to the US as the ultimate arbiter of justice, It seems to me that US citizens may want to first turn their attention to, say, stopping their nation from bombing and occupying faraway lands at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives before getting into moralistic international brow-beating. And if you’re unable to get that done, you might consider being humble enough to ease up on the self-righteous stick-waving which just looks stupid when your money is dropping bombs on folks.

Kevin on August 7th, 2008 4:03 am

Just gotta say that I wholeheartedly think Kai’s comment is something that we all need to pay attention to.

I agree with Kai that we, United States Citizens, definitely are not in the position to go around calling the kettle black unless we are also taking our own gov’t to task for their crimes and misdeeds. In fact, we need to be doing that first and foremost.

I hope that my post doesn’t come off as giving the US a pass on these matters because I’m not even trying to go there.

Kai on August 7th, 2008 12:03 pm

Hi Kevin, hehe no I don’t think you’re trying to go there. I’m just generally pissy at the moment at the manner in which China and Chinese people are discussed (and not discussed) in US media, and this annoyance spills over into these discussions on the matter. Sorry about that.

I guess there’s a philosophical question in the background here regarding the moral platform from which judgments and condemnations are launched. I would argue that none of us can claim universal stature as equal arbiters on all nations. Others might claim that they do indeed harbor a universal perspective. But I contend that we are soaked in the lens of our particular surroundings and that this lens colors everything we see and think about another country.

When it comes to China, the lens is deep and complicated, as are the interests pushing various angles.

In any case, I should stop derailing threads with my annoyance. The truth remains that the dealings between certain Chinese businesses and Darfur are incredibly dirty. I wish we could just say that without context and without worry, but you know how it is: such probings always spill over into more complex terrain.

Thanks for listening, bro.

[Excerpted from:]

Eddie Griffin Response:

We are all not necessary blinded by the beam in our own eye. One of my objectives in criticizing China on its human rights practices was for the purpose of China pointing back at the United States human rights violations.

Specially, the United States is guilty of violating the Right of the Child Soldier by incarcerating children from the age of 10 to 16 years of age, in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secondly, the Chinese have the right to point out that the United States torture its captives, which is less harsh than the handling of Tibetan monk dissidents.

No, we have not forgotten about the human rights violations of female soldiers in the US military who have been raped and murdered like Pfc. LaVena Johnson.

Shining the light on human rights violations in one part of the world shines the light on travesties in other parts of the world.

Today, it is China. Not that China is the most brutal or inhumane regime, but because the spotlight is on China. In fact, the country begged for the 2008 Olympic global limelight. But, through its relationship with Sudan, China’s hands are bloody in Darfur.

We will not let oil companies like China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China Chemical and Petroleum Corporation (Sinopec Corp.) go unnoticed in its commercial dealing with the government of Sudan.

China buys Sudan’s oil from Gen. Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup, and is held in power only by the weapons he buys from China to suppress dissidence and rebellion. The International Criminal Court gave notice of possible genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. The ICC took steps to indict Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes. The court's chief prosecutor accused Mr. Bashir of masterminding a campaign of rape and murder targeting people in Sudan's violence-wracked Darfur region.

Murder, rape, and pillage are being systematically carried out by Janjaweed militia, which has left over 300,000 Durfurians dead and 2,000,000 dislocated and homeless. A recent BBC report states that in a recent Janjaweed attack upon a convoy left six people dead and 28 wounded. So, we know that the atrocities continue.

The Christian Science Monitor makes the argument that Omar al-Bashir is actually stealing the oil from the people of Sudan, like a thug dictator who plunders his country’s treasury, and that China’s willful complicity is that of knowingly buying stolen and plundered goods. The Sudanese president has since defied the Big Eight and bullied the African Union into silence.

Today (8/8/08), the onus is on China.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DoD Bar Testimony to Congress from its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

Why we cannot get answers about the mysterious death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson

Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?

Friday 01 August 2008

by Col. Ann Wright, Truthdig

There was quite a struggle in Congress this week. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to testify in Thursday's hearing on sexual assault in the military.

Rep. John Tierney, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, angrily dismissed Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michael Dominguez from the hearing when Dominguez said that he, the DoD chief of legislative affairs and the chief of public affairs, had ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley, chief of SAPRO, to refuse to honor the subpoena issued by the subcommittee for her appearance.

Full committee Chairman Henry Waxman called the DoD's decision to prevent Whitley from testifying "ridiculous and indicating DoD is covering something up." It could also place Whitley in contempt of Congress. Rep. Christopher Shays said the DoD's decision was "foolish."

One of the questions that would have been put to Whitley was why DoD had taken three years to name a 15-person civilian task force to look into allegations of sexual assault of military personnel. The panel was finally named early in 2008 but has yet to meet. She would have also been queried on the SAPRO program's failure to require key information from the military in order to evaluate the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and response programs.

I spoke with Dr. Whitley in April 2007 and had asked for an appointment to bring to her office four military women who had been sexually assaulted and wanted to tell her in what ways the DoD programs to prevent sexual assault were not working. Whitley declined, saying she worked at the policy level, and steered me to the chief of the Army sexual assault program.

I called the Army program's chief, who initially said she would talk to our group. However, when I mentioned that the mother of Army Spc. Suzanne Swift, who had been raped in Iraq, would be with us, she said she could not meet with anyone involved with an ongoing case. I replied that Swift's case was closed as far as the Army was concerned. Her rapist had not been prosecuted, and Swift ended up with a court-martial and 30 days of jail time because she had gone AWOL for her own protection when the Army would not move her out of the unit to which both she and her rapist were still assigned. In view of the fact that the Army chief of prevention of sexual assault refused to meet with any of the four women who had suggestions on how to improve prevention and reporting of sexual assault and rape, I'm not surprised that the DoD snubbed Congress over the same issue.

Rep. Elijah Cummings joined Rep. Waxman in speaking of cover-ups. Cummings raised the cases of military women who had been sexually assaulted before dying in "non-combat incidents." He spoke specifically about Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, who was found beaten and dead of a gunshot wound at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in a burning tent owned by the contractor KBR. Her parents suspected that Johnson had been murdered and that the homicide was being covered up by the Army, which deemed the death a suicide. Cummings also spoke of Army Pfc. Tina Priest, who was raped at Taji, Iraq, and found dead 10 days later of a gunshot wound. After her family had measurements taken of her arms and of the angle of the bullet and found that she could not have pulled the trigger of her M-16 with her finger, the Army said she had pulled the trigger by using her toe. Cummings asked Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, chief of U.S. Army personnel, for assistance in getting all the documents the Army had on Johnson's death. Additionally, four House members have asked for congressional hearings on the deaths of military personnel who have been classified as suicides, among them LaVena Johnson.

The fireworks with DoD followed the dramatic testimony of Mary Lauterbach, the mother of murdered pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who had been raped in May 2007 at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Accused in the case is Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. After the rape, several protective orders were issued to keep Laurean away from his victim. The burned body of Lauterbach and her unborn baby were found in a shallow grave in the backyard of Laurean's home in January 2008. Laurean fled to Mexico, where he was subsequently apprehended, and he now is awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial. Lauterbach's mother explained in great detail the warning signs that Laurean was a danger to her daughter and claimed that all these signs were ignored by the Marine Corps.

Two other military women have been murdered near military bases in North Carolina in the past two months.

Red Cross employee Ingrid Torres told the subcommittee of being raped at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea by an Air Force flight doctor. She spoke of the difficulty she had obtaining medical and emotional treatment from the facility where the doctor still worked, and later from military facilities in other parts of the world where she was assigned.

Rep. Jane Harman cited Veterans Administration statistics that one in three women in the military has been sexually assaulted. She said the prosecution rate of those accused of raping fellow military service members is abysmally low. Of the 2,212 reported rapes in the military in 2007, only 8 percent of the cases ended in court-martial of the perpetrator, while the rate of prosecution in civilian courts is 40 percent.

Lt. Gen. Rochelle, the Army chief of personnel, reported the little known statistic that 12 percent of reported rapes in the military are of male military personnel.

Rep. Shays said he had no confidence in DoD or the military services and their policies of prevention of sexual assault, and asked how recruiting will fare when young women learn that one in three women is sexually assaulted and when young men find out that one in 10 men is raped while in the military.

Brenda Farrell, director of the Government Accountability Office, said that getting data on rape from the military services is difficult because there are no common definitions of terms for the services to use in such cases.

Farrell said the GAO believes rates of sexual assault currently used by DoD are low because many military personnel do not want to report what happened and suffer the gossip, harassment and stigma prevalent in units when confidential reporting is compromised. In a survey of 3,757 persons on 14 military installations, 103 said they had been sexually assaulted in the past year and had reported it, while 52 others said they did not report the sexual assault.

Sexual violence against both female and male military personnel must stop. Let Congress know of your concern about sexual assault in our military. Call or e-mail members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees and members of the Oversight and Government Reform committees.

About the Author: Ann Wright is a retired Army Reserve colonel and a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. She was also a diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the Department of State on March 19, 2003, in opposition to the Iraq war. She is the co-author of "Dissent: Voices of Conscience" (

Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who reported being raped in May 2007, was found dead, along with her unborn child, in January 2008 in the backyard of the suspect in the case, Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman.

(See also Eddie Griffin (BASG) LaVena Johnson Files)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


If you are 18 years or older, an American citizen, and registered, you can vote, from anywhere in the world. It's easy. It's fun. Start charting the course of your own future by voting for the candidate who best represents your needs and the needs of the country. Make no mistake about the importance of this 2008 election season.

From Eddie Griffin