View Full Version : Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention Chief Arrested For... Sexual Assault

Keith Millea
05-07-2013, 02:56 PM
Here's your daily dose of rightious hypocrisy...

05.06.13 - 10:43 PM

Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention Chief Arrested For... Sexual Assault

by Abby Zimet

How bad is the epidemic of sexual assault in the military? This bad: Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was arrested (http://www.arlnow.com/2013/05/06/air-force-officer-accused-of-sexual-battery/)Sunday and charged with sexual battery after drunkenly accosting a woman in a suburban Arlington parking lot. Until that happened, Krusinski was chief (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/05/air-force-sexual-assault/) of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, which “reinforces the Air Force’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault." His arrest comes about a week after a report (http://e-ring.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/24/air_force_fights_sexual_assault_with_lip_balm_hand _sanitizer_breath_mints) that the military has been handing out breath mints, lip balm and other freebies in hopes they would promote good behavior among the military's evidently many sexual predators and “spread the message of respect" to their victims. It also comes a day before the Pentagon releases its annual report on the epidemic (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/0119/Pentagon-report-Sexual-assault-in-the-military-up-dramatically) of sexual assault in the military that Krusinski was supposed to be combatting, but, it seems, wasn't.

“How many more reasons do we need to take cases of rape and sexual assault out of the chain of command?” - Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)

Jan Klimkowski
05-07-2013, 05:27 PM
Internal Affairs.

There to get rid of anyone with an iota of morality and independence of spirit.

And cover up the crimes and abuse of the sycophants.

Plus the old canard that powerful men often think their status give them the right to be abusive, and the necessary degree of protection.

I wonder if he would have been arrested if he hadn't - allegedly - sexually assaulted a complete stranger in a car park, and that stranger had not had the nous and courage to flag down a random street cop.

The chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention (http://www.arlnow.com/2013/05/06/air-force-officer-accused-of-sexual-battery/) and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force was arrested and charged with sexual battery in Arlington over the weekend.

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski is accused of fondling a woman in a Crystal City parking lot early Sunday morning.

“A drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks,” according to a Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police.”

“Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with sexual battery,” police said. “He was held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.”

An Air Force spokeswoman confirmed Krusinski’s rank, job title and the fact that he works at the Pentagon to ARLnow.com, but had no further comment.

The victim did not know Krusinski, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police were unable to say how Krusinski sustained cuts on his face that appeared in his booking photo. He did not require medical treatment.

Peter Lemkin
05-07-2013, 06:53 PM
He obviously was a great choice for the job.....just got a bit too involved in the 'work'. I wonder if before his recorded transgression [even recorded on his face], he did much at all to fulfill his job description...one sort of doubts it. The bigger question, as Jan alludes to, is: will this cause anything to change in the Military [or anywhere else, for that matter] on this issue.....I have my doubts. 'Boys will be boys' is how the military sees it, I fear. The rest is all just PR - as his office and title seem to have been.

Magda Hassan
05-07-2013, 09:34 PM
Men. Power. Privilege. Opportunity. There's a lot of it about.

Göran Lindberg and Sweden's dark side

The Sweden of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson - all shadowy rightwing conspiracies and prostitution rings – might not be so far from the truth

Andrew Anthony (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/andrewanthony)
The Observer (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/), Sunday 1 August 2010

Retired Swedish police chief Göran Lindberg, who was jailed last week for rape and assault. Photograph: Rolf Hamilton/Scanpix/Press Association Images

If there was ever a real-life policeman who came close in progressive Swedish affections to Kurt Wallander, the bestselling creation of Henning Mankell (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/henning-mankell), it would probably be Göran Lindberg, chief of police of Uppsala, the city north of Stockholm that is home to Sweden (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/sweden)'s most prestigious university. Although he lacked Wallander's humility and reticence, Lindberg was concerned, like Wallander, with the marginalised and neglected in Swedish society. He was the sponsor of a sanctuary for abused juveniles, for example, and was at the forefront of the campaign to institute a more sympathetic response to rape victims.
In particular Lindberg was a staunch enemy of sexism in the police force. He argued with colleagues, made speeches and built up a reputation as a tireless proponent of women's rights. So vocal was Lindberg that he ruffled the epaulettes of fellow policemen. "His colleagues," says PJ Anders Linder, political editor-in-chief of the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, "were obviously not quite as obsessed with the issue as he was. He seemed to be like a civil servant who had decided that this was how he was going to make his mark."
And he did. From early in his career, Lindberg was seen by the authorities as a policing role model and was duly made the national spokesperson on sex equality in the police force. Pretty soon he established a reputation as Sweden's leading progressive policeman. So renowned was Lindberg for his political correctness and sensitivity towards women's issues that he was nicknamed "Captain Skirt". In spite of the jokes, he was rapidly promoted, becoming the dean of the police training college and eventually the police chief of Uppsala.
In January this year, following a six-month investigation, Lindberg was arrested. At the time of his apprehension he was allegedly on his way to meet a 14-year-old girl in a hotel encounter that was also due to feature a number of other men. It was said that in his car was a bag containing leather whips, handcuffs and a blindfold.
What had originally alerted the police to Lindberg's predilections was an incident in July last year in which a multimillionaire 60-year-old man was found dead beneath a balcony in a salubrious Stockholm suburb. According to police, the man had been running an illicit sex network delivering women to groups of men. Apparently on the day of his death he had been expecting the arrival at his home of an 18-year-old girl. Instead a gang of men turned up and issued a vicious beating. Shortly afterwards the man either jumped, fell or was pushed from the balcony. On the dead man's desk, investigating police found the phone number of the police chief, Lindberg.
It all reads like a plotline from Stieg Larsson (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/stieg-larsson)'s Millennium trilogyor a Wallander novel, with the striking exception that in this case it was a Wallander-style policeman who was the architect and not the detective of the crime. "The villains in Mankell's stories are all of a piece," says Lars Linder, chief cultural critic on the daily paper Dagens Nyheter. "They are scoundrels and usually connected to very wealthy or fascist networks. Whereas the thing about Lindberg is that he's so absolutely politically correct on the outside and kinky on the inside."
Last week Lindberg was jailed for six and a half years on charges of rape, pimping and procuring. He accepted that he bought sex, which is illegal in Sweden, but had denied the other charges. After Lindberg's arrest, a woman, calling herself Linda, was quoted in Swedish newspapers. She claimed to have been sexually abused by several men. "The police chief called me 'Daddy's girl'," she said. "I was told that he was important and that he would frame me if I told anyone." Again, she sounds as if she emerged, fully formed, from the pages of Mankell's fiction.
Lindberg was found guilty of aggravated rape, rape, assault, 28 counts of purchasing sex, and one of being an accessory to procurement. He was cleared of the attempted rape of a minor. As well as jailing him, the Södertörn District Court ordered Lindberg to pay 300,000 kronor (about £26,000) in compensation to three victims.
The news of Lindberg's secret life rocked Sweden. While a certain scepticism about the police is common enough in intellectual circles, the notion that the foremost advocate of women's rights in the police was in reality a serial user, and abuser, of prostitutes was enough to stun even the most grizzled cynic.
Lindberg's colleagues, and particularly his female supporters, were dumbfounded. Beatrice Ask, the justice minister, spoke of the "devastating and distressing" effect of the news. While Cecilia Malmström, who is Sweden's EU commissioner and was a member of Uppsala police board when Lindberg was police chief, said: "I have no words. I am extremely shocked. This is a man who has dedicated his career to fight for women's rights. I feel physically sick when I think about this."
In late July Stockholm was a postcard of relaxed health and vigorous prosperity. Along the spotless avenues and in the city's many green spaces, the kind of people who look as if they have escaped from a yoghurt advert took the opportunity to laze in the sunshine. The southern archipelago lightly baked under cloudless skies. Surrounded by inlets of deep blue water, the Swedish capital seemed to sparkle with a crystalline sense of benevolent purpose.
Here is the image of Sweden with which we've grown familiar, an image of which the Swedes themselves are understandably proud. It's the utopian vision of the Folkhemmet or "people's home" that, in one way or another, the Swedes have been conscientiously cultivating and exporting for almost a century.
But in recent years a darker, more disturbing picture of a failed utopia has also made its way around the world. In the 1980s Sweden began to pull back from the enormous state intervention and social reform that had guided the country for the previous half-century. And early in that transformation, on 28 February 1986, the prime minister, Olof Palme was shot and killed in the street by an assassin who has never been found.
Ever since that period, talk of a sinister underbelly, the nasty truth lurking beneath Sweden's shiny surface, has afflicted the national conversation, particularly in the cultural realm. In the novels of writers such as Mankell and Larsson, as well as the films of Lukas Moodysson, corruption, vice and despair run rampant.
All three artists (Larsson died in 2004 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/21/stieg-larsson-eva-gabrielsson)) are avowedly leftwing and in their different ways they tell the tale of a dream betrayed, and an outcome in which the most vulnerable citizens are abandoned to a ruthless system. It's also notable that all three employ the archetype of the abused prostitute as the prime symbol of capitalist exploitation.
Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2003/apr/13/features.review), made in 2002, was an unremittingly bleak account, based on a true story, of a 16-year-old girl from a former Soviet republic who is tricked into travelling to Sweden, where she is raped, held against her will and prostituted, before she commits suicide. Similar helpless victims appear in the fiction of Mankell and Larsson, where they are explicitly shown to be at the mercy of hidden, well connected and malevolent forces within Swedish society itself.
Of course, Mankell and Larsson are thriller writers, with the necessary artistic licence the genre demands, but both have made it clear that their political motivations shape their creative intentions. Mankell has said he began writing his Wallander novels, in which a world-weary detective battles with entrenched powers, as a response to the "xenophobia and racism" he saw in Sweden in the late 1980s. "The issues," he's said, "were always more important than Wallander himself."
And one of those issues was sexism. In this regard, it's not as if Mankell was a lone voice, ploughing the remote field of fiction. Even without Mankell's huge domestic and international success, the debate on these issues would have dominated Swedish cultural politics during the 1990s. And consequently, in 2000, a commercial sex act was passed that was seen at the time as a victory for radical feminism. It was made legal to sell sex, but illegal to buy it. In other words, criminality shifted from the prostitute to the punter, which in most cases meant from the woman to the man.
At the time, it was heralded as a major defeat for street prostitution and sex trafficking, and many countries, including Britain, have looked at copying the new Swedish model. In the wake of the law, the police had to refocus their attentions and also re-examine many of their attitudes in relation not just to prostitutes but to women in general. The most active and outspoken policeman in the battle for a less patriarchal perspective was, of course, Lindberg.
Many Swedes I spoke to suggested that Lindberg embodied a widespread cultural disconnection between official rhetoric and individual behaviour. As one well-placed observer of the Stockholm scene put it to me: "Some of the most outspoken male politicians on gender equality are also renowned as the most active pursuers of women."
But Gunnar Pettersson, a Swedish writer and commentator who lives in London, had a different take on the problem Lindberg represents. "Sweden has two elites," he told me. "The political elite is internationalist and neutralist in outlook, whereas the other elite, the military-industrial, is essentially nationalist and west-supporting. The two have left each other alone very largely, especially throughout the 20th century when the Swedish model was built up. The thing about Lindberg is that he adopted the rhetoric of the political elite but he belonged by nature and biology to the military-industrial elite, where these things are just horseshit. You just say it to get on in your career."
Whether Lindberg is a split personality or simply a flagrant opportunist is perhaps a question for psychiatrists to settle. What's arguably more significant is the hole his case exposes in the logic of political correctness. The theory behind the PC view of the world is that if you change the language, you change what the language describes, because perception alters reality: non-sexist expressions, for example, help to foster non-sexist thoughts. But what if the prescribed opinion is a false consensus? What if language is a disguise, a means of conformity that serves to conceal the underlying and more disturbing truth?
That would involve a novel variation on the longstanding Swedish preoccupation with deep-lying corruption. But not one that you'll find in the novels of Mankell or Larsson. Subtlety has never been either writer's strong suit, and some Swedes find their Manichean vision of Sweden rather limiting.
"I have always been suspicious and critical about people like Mankell and Larsson," says Lars Linder, "because I'm not a fan of this conspiracy theory. I'm an old leftist too, but I don't like when they pick out the old social democratic Sweden as paradise, and now the bad guys have taken over with all their hidden connections. It's simplistic and nostalgic. The kind of power abuse you see with Lindberg is much more interesting."
Mankell insists that The Troubled Man, published in Swedish last year and due to be published in English next year, is definitely his last Wallander novel. The plot once again features rightwing extremists as the antagonists. Sweden is renowned for its comprehensive social welfare, progressive liberalism and egalitarian spirit, and it's also consistently ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. So it seems perverse that when the country holds a mirror up to itself it so often sees female abuse, rightwing conspiracies and systemic corruption. Yet they remain emotive issues in Swedish culture.
A few days after Lindberg appeared in court, the employment minister, Sven Otto Littorin, tendered his resignation when he learned that a newspaper was about to run a story claiming he paid for sex with a prostitute four years ago. His unnamed accuser said she was inspired by the Lindberg case to try to prevent the powerful from escaping the consequences of their actions. He denies ever having paid for sex and the paper, Aftonbladet, offered no evidence, other than that the woman had seen Littorin on television and recognised him. And subsequently several observers have cast doubt on the woman's account, which is said to be filled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies.
But nonetheless Littorin resigned, citing press intrusion into his personal life. For the first time in decades Sweden found itself with a political sex scandal, something which the Swedes believed was a strange preserve of the British. In fact many observers find the Littorin saga more representative than the Lindberg case of the social changes under way in Sweden. For Petra Ostergren it marks a pronounced shift in Swedish public morals and illustrates how a narrow consensus has been effectively imposed. A feminist who is an outspoken critic of the commercial sex laws, Ostergren has been ostracised by many of her onetime allies in the women's movement.
"Fifty years ago Littorin would have had to resign if he was gay. Now we have not only criminalised the buying of sex but we've also stigmatised it to such an extent, he has to resign just because of the mere suspicion. Just as the gay man has been normalised, so the heterosexual buyer has been pathologised. To satisfy society's need for normality, you need something that is not normal. Now that is the sex buyer."
Naturally, that is not how many other feminists would see the situation. For them it is a matter of inequality and coercion. The sex worker, according to conventional intellectual wisdom, is in a weak position, socially and financially, and lacks power in any transaction with the consumer. Therefore she can't be said to be acting of her own free will, particularly, of course, if she has been trafficked and effectively held prisoner.
Ostergren counters that the vast majority of sex workers don't correspond to that description, and in any case forced and elective prostitution are entirely separate propositions. "We can distinguish between consensual and non-consensual or forced marriages," she says. "Why can't we make that distinction with prostitution?"
In answer to her own question, Ostergren outlines the questionable morality that informs some strategic social and political initiatives in Sweden. Fundamentally, she believes, what many Swedes dislike about prostitution is its transgressive, unhygienic, uncontrolled nature. She cites the substantial sterilisation programme overseen by the Social Democrats right up until the 1970s as evidence of an impulse among progressives to clean up and forcefully remove undesirable aspects of society.
"It's all part of the long project towards perfection and being modern," she says. "There is no room for drug addicts, prostitution or men who buy sex. It's an undercurrent of wanting to be a superior nation. We enjoy exporting that image. We love being on moral high ground."
The keys to Sweden, Kjell Nordström told me, are equality, modernity and consensus. A tall, bald professor of economics, Nordström is a kind of business guru who runs a consultancy on "funky capitalism". I visited him at his large apartment, worthy of a Wallpaper* magazine spread, on the leafy island of Djurgården that sits in the middle of Stockholm. It's a magnificent location whose panoramic views, it must be said, do not include the dark underbelly of fictional repute.
Nordström is another critic of the commercial sex law, on the practical basis that it doesn't work. According to some statistics, prostitution is almost back up to the level it was at when the law was introduced. But Nordström was also interested in a practical means of Swedes finding agreement on the issue.
"Conflict," he noted amiably, "is just not possible here. We've had 202 years of peace, and peace makes you a little bit weird." The inequality of prostitution, and therefore its backwardness, was what offended Swedes, he explained. To reach agreement on the issue, therefore, "You need to treat commercial sex in a very gender-neutral way."
I tried to imagine what that might involve, but I was defeated by the old-fashioned gender division of male and female. So Nordström spelt it out: "You have to have a whore house with men and women working alongside one another. You have to show that you've changed the concept to gain acceptance. People are not against sex here. It's a society where you can really talk about sex, it's easy to have sex with people. But you can't have exploitative sex because by definition you have used your power to buy another person. You owe an explanation on how it's not exploitative."
Unlike many Swedes, especially among the intellectual elite, Nordström does not believe that the Swedish project is floundering. He ran through a potted history of the economic miracle that powered the progressive reforms of the 20th century. In the 19th century Sweden was very poor and one in three of the population was an alcoholic. "We were a mini-Russia." In the 1920s a cradle-to-grave idea of social democracy was born in which an alliance between industrialists, unions and the state would produce universal social welfare. This was when the idea of the "people's home", a social democracy in which industrial wealth was redistributed for the communal good, first began to gain currency.
After the war, in which Sweden remained neutral, unoccupied and unbombed, it was one of the few countries in Europe (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/europe-news) with its manufacturing industry in full working order. Exporting everything from ball bearings to telephone exchanges, it rapidly embarked on a prolonged rise to prosperity. By the 1970s it was ranked as one of the three wealthiest nations in the world. As the money poured in, it was directed to building perhaps the world's most ambitious welfare system, with generous childcare, healthcare and pensions. In 1973, coinciding with a period of prohibitively high taxation, the oil crisis hit the economy. Three decades of growth ground to a halt and by the 1980s the government began to loosen its tight control on markets.
Rejuvenated, the economy expanded again but a disenchantment had entered the Swedish psyche, especially among the utopian left. The disparate doubts and grievances seemed to cohere with the killing of Olof Palme, which remains the defining event of postwar Swedish history. Its impact was bigger, relatively speaking, than the Kennedy assassination. Mankell once wrote a Wallander short story, entitled "The Pyramid", which examined the anxieties unleashed by Palme's murder, and Palme also turns up in The Troubled Man. Later this year, Mankell is also staging in Stockholm a play he has written about Palme, entitledPolitik.
Palme was a curious figure. Born into an upper-class family, he assumed the clothes of modesty and frugality, yet at the same time retained a patrician sense of entitlement – he famously demanded that a ferry should return to port when he missed the last one on a trip to his holiday home. He was an internationalist who was fierce in his defence of Sweden's interests, and a neutralist who wooed the Soviet Union while discreetly favouring the west. He stood at the intersection of two different, and often contrary, strands of liberalism – the dual thrusts towards benign state intervention and increased personal liberty.
Walking home one night with his wife along Sveavägen – Stockholm's equivalent of, say, Piccadilly – Palme was killed by a mysterious gunman who vanished into the night. In the absence of a suspect, and incubated by a disastrous police investigation, a mass of conspiracy theories was hatched – some encouraged by the police – which fingered everyone from Kurdish gangsters to Saddam Hussein and the CIA.
Matters were not helped by the fact that the main witness – Palme's widow, Lisbet – refused to co-operate fully with the court, for reasons she has never explained. Her testimony led to the conviction of a violent street thug and alcoholic called Christer Pettersson. Pettersson had a previous conviction for murder for which, in a typically liberal piece of Swedish criminal justice, he had been sentenced to just six months in prison. He was sentenced to life, but was soon released when the judgment was overturned by the court of appeal.
The failure to apprehend the real culprit meant that Sweden's wound, or "national trauma" as it's often called, remained open for many years afterwards. Even now the scar tissue – the stubborn conspiracist paranoia – continues to impinge on various bones of political contention.
The most symbolic of these is the ongoing controversy over submarine incursions into Swedish waters during the 1980s. The provenance of the submarines that were known to hide off the coast of Sweden has been a subject of lengthy dispute. Much of the media believed they were Soviet vessels, while others suspected they belonged to Nato. Once again the troubling image recurs of something untoward lying beneath the smooth surface. Mankell is not alone in his opinion that these incursions, to which he refers in both The Troubled Man and Politik, amounted to a major national scandal. But if so then it may be Palme, the great hero of the left, who was at the centre of the embarrassment. There is growing evidence that some, if not all, of the incursions were Nato submarines, and persistent rumours in diplomatic circles that Palme knew of and agreed to their presence, as a means of affording protection from the Soviet Union.
Certainly Palme was a flexible politician when he needed to be, not least in the realm of sexual politics. Back in the 1970s news leaked out that his minister of justice, Lennart Geijer, was a major user of prostitutes. Although the information was accurate, as Palme knew, the prime minister strenuously denied the facts and the paper that published the story was forced to print an apology. Significantly, one of the villains in Mankell's novel Sidetracked is a minister of justice from the 1970s who is part of a sex ring that sexually and physically abuses women – much like Lindberg is accused of being. The character, who bears a resemblance to Geijer, is blamed for killing the idealism in Swedish politics. It will be interesting, therefore, to see Mankell's judgment of Geijer's boss, Palme, in his new play.
Kjell Nordström maintains that the nostalgia for the Palme era is a yearning to return to a simpler Sweden of greater state control. "There are people who miss the good old times when you could have a meeting, negotiate and then implement the decision. But we're no longer a small homogeneous country. We had to find other ways."
He also suspects that this harking back to a mythical golden age of integrity is partly a function of a Swedish male identity crisis. "Men are losing their position. Women have taken massive steps forward in the last 40 years. There are a number of areas today where it's difficult to be a man, where once there was a male language and now there are strong, powerful women, backed by law."
Lindberg's boss was a woman, he points out, and he was surrounded by women at work. "But," says Nordström, pouring me another glass of chilled wine, "he was not trained by the police university to exist and manage under these conditions."
That, in a nutshell, is the Swedish analysis that ultimately wins out over the conspiracist angst and liberal hand-wringing: here is a problem, let's establish better training and solve it. In many, perhaps most, ways it's an admirable attitude. After all, it bespeaks a progressive belief in the improvement, if not the perfectibility, of humanity. But such a pragmatic approach to problem-solving can also focus on the solution without really addressing the nature of the problem.
In this respect the Swedes who worry about the subterranean darkness might actually be on to something. It's just that they're looking in the wrong place. It's not necessarily in the system, or the state, or the police, or under the sea. It may just be in themselves. Whatever the reason Chief Lindberg may have been driving along with whips and handcuffs on his way to meet a teenage girl, the one certainty is that it was not because he lacked the appropriate training.

Peter Lemkin
05-08-2013, 05:40 PM
Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day

A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. "The numbers are outrageous, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point," Bhagwati says. "The American public is furious."

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimated there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported.
The Pentagon study was published just two days after the head of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was arrested for sexual assault for allegedly groping a woman in a Virginia parking lot on Sunday. The Air Force has removed Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski from his post.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York questioned Air Force Secretary Michael Donley about sexual assault in the military.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: Fiscal year 2011 had 19,000 cases of sexual assault and rape, 3,192 reported, 190 convictions. The fiscal year 2012 report has come up with higher numbers: 26,000 cases and barely more reported, 3,374. Obviously, this is not good order and discipline. So are you saying that every commander in the chain of command is failing in our military today?

MICHAEL DONLEY: No, I’m not. And I would say that the—that the changes in the numbers that we’re seeing is a matter of some debate, and we’re not really sure whether the numbers of increasing reporting reflect a higher incidence or they reflect more confidence in the system, so we’re getting more reporting of incidents that had already been taking place in this—

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: Secretary Donley, take the lower number. Let’s not even take the supposed cases of 19,000. Let’s just stick with the 3,000 reported cases. If that’s too high for you, let’s stick with the 190 convictions from last year.

MICHAEL DONLEY: The numbers are too high. We agree with you on that. The issue is—that you’ve asked about, is whether or not commanders ought to be involved in this work. And I guess, in my judgment—and I’ll, you know, defer to the chief to chime in here—commanders need to be part of the good order and discipline for their units.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.
In a moment, we’ll be joined by Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network, or SWAN. A former captain and company commander, she served as a Marine officer from 1999 to 2004. But first we’re going to play part of Anu Bhagwati’s powerful testimony in March at the first Senate hearing on military sexual violence in nearly 10 years.

ANURADHA BHAGWATI: Military sexual violence is a very personal issue for me. During my five years as a Marine officer, I experienced daily discrimination and sexual harassment. I was exposed to a culture rife with sexism, rape jokes, pornography and widespread commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls, both in the United States and overseas.

My experiences came to a head while I was stationed at the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from 2002 to 2004, where I witnessed reports of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment swept under the rug by a handful of field-grade officers. Perpetrators were promoted or transferred to other units without punishment, while victims were accused of lying or exaggerating their claims in order to ruin men’s reputations.

As a company commander at the School of Infantry, I ultimately chose to sacrifice my own career to file an equal opportunity investigation against an offending officer. I was given a gag order by my commanding officer, got a military protection order against the officer in question, lived in fear of retaliation and violence from both the offender and my own chain of command, and then watched in horror as the offender was not only promoted but also given command of my company.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Anu Bhagwati testifying earlier this year at a Senate hearing on sexual violence in the military, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network, joining us now.
Anu Bhagwati, welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you back. Talk about the significance of this Pentagon finding. Seventy assaults every day in the military?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: The numbers are outrageous, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point, finally, where we can no longer say this is an issue of zero tolerance, that the military cares, the military has time to figure it out. The American public is furious. Congressmembers are finally furious and really, really showing their outrage at military leadership. Twenty-six thousand, I mean, it’s an increase of almost 40 percent. And the significance of that number is that those were not officially reported sexual assaults. That was conducted in a gender relations survey, which was anonymous, and therefore there’s a certain degree of perceived safety in actually revealing that you were sexually assaulted. But the actual reports, the official reports, that are marked by a separate report altogether, are far fewer. And so, we can still tell that there’s a sense of fear of retaliation, of intimidation, that occurs when people actually come forward. And victims see that those few cases that are tried oftentimes don’t end in a conviction or a significant sentence. And so there’s, throughout the process—
AMY GOODMAN: How many convictions are we talking about?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: We’ve just gotten the report, and so we’re working through a couple thousand pages right now, so...
NERMEEN SHAIKH: What do you think accounts for the rise, almost 40 percent, you said? Is it because more were reported or more occurred, or a combination?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: I think, honestly, it has to do with this groundswell of support from the outside, from outside of the military, from congressional leadership over the last year or two, the groundswell of media attention on this issue. The military can’t hide this issue anymore, and therefore victims inside the military feel a little bit safer that there’s a community out there that is going to support them and that finally believes them. I mean, this has been happening for decades. But finally there’s a sense that, "OK, I’m not alone. People believe me. They say I’m a liar, but I’m not. People believe me out there."
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Tuesday’s Senate hearing, particularly the comments of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh. He dismissed senators who suggested sexual assault cases should be handled by trained prosecutors rather than by commanders, who have overturned verdicts in the past.

GEN. MARK WELSH III: In the last three years, there has been one sexual contact case, one case out of 2,511 court cases, where a commander decided not to prefer it to court, when a lawyer, well trained, educated in the law, said he shouldn’t. One case. We do not have commanders routinely overturning sexual assault convictions. There are two in the Department of Defense in the last five years that we can find. This does not happen all the time. The facts are critical as we try and figure out how we move forward to solve the problem.
AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Anu Bhagwati?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: There’s really been this obsession with the few cases in which commanding officers have overturned sexual assault convictions or convictions. And that’s important, but really there’s a front-end bias, as well, where the majority of that bias happens, where commanding officers—they’re called convening authorities—they have authority from beginning to end of a trial. They determine whether or not a case even goes forward, whether or not the accused even sees the inside of a court-martial. That’s where a lot of the intimidation happens. That’s where a lot of victims feel the fear. They’re not supported. They don’t follow through with their cases. And, you know, even before that, in terms of the investigation, your commanding officers oversee that, as well. And so, it’s front end, it’s the trial process itself, and it’s the back-end bias. And so, commanding officers don’t need to be part of any part of that. In the civilian world, it’s attorneys and judges making those decisions, not your boss.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it’s an amazing story, this—at the general level, overturning. Looking at a piece (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/12/sexual-assault-military-general-craig-franklin) in The Guardian: "Lawmakers and victims’ advocates have expressed anger at an attempt by a US air force general to justify overturning the sexual assault conviction of a star fighter pilot. ... Lt General Craig Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, describes accusations [that] he did not take sex crimes seriously as 'complete and utter nonsense.'" But he overturned a jury verdict. I believe the jury is chosen by the general, but even still, when they come up with a guilty verdict, the general overturns. And at this very moment, in the piece in The Washington Post, Claire McCaskill is holding—blocking the nomination of Lieutenant General Susan Helms, who was a crew member of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, poised to make another ascent in her career, nominated to become vice commander of Air Force’s Space Command, but Senator McCaskill wants to examine her previously unpublicized decision to overturn the conviction on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: And finally congressmembers are paying attention to the promotion process. There’s a sense of careerism that, certainly on the enlisted side, servicemembers see it every day, that officers are promoted without much thought at all to whether or not they’re taking care of their troops. And really, promotion standards should include whether or not sex crimes are prosecuted, whether or not victims are supported when they report sexual assault. And that’s not part of the process yet. And so I applaud Senator McCaskill for taking action. And every—every member of Congress, every military leader should take that into account when considering an officer for his or her next promotion.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Anu Bhagwati, you’ve also pointed out that members of the military do not have access to the civilian justice system. What are the implications of that? And is that something that your group is calling for?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: Absolutely. Access to civil remedies is a key component of justice in any institution. If you’re a civilian victim in a civilian workplace, you have access to sue your employer, to sue your sexual predator. And workplace discrimination—you know, the cultural deterrent against workplace discrimination is found in civil courts, where a victim of sexual harassment, of bias in the workplace, can hold that perpetrator or employer accountable, and then the employer is often held liable for what happens in his or her workforce. That doesn’t exist in the military. Servicemembers have no access to these courts, and therefore you have a culture which is literally decades behind in the military than it is outside the military.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you testified at the Senate hearing in March. What was your sense of how it went, the people who testified, and what your expectations are coming out of that?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: I mean, it was historic in the sense that you had a panel of veterans speaking about their personal experiences and a real sense by the senators that they were welcomed and that it was about time that these voices were heard. The flipside is that military leadership still does not understand this issue of command bias. There’s a sense of ego that you regularly see, that, you know, as an officer, you should have full power and control over everything that happens in your unit. Well, that’s a perfect world. I mean, we’re talking about human beings who happen to wear the military uniform, and we have to assume that some of those human beings coming into the military are just the same as they were before they came into the military, that they are sexual predators. There’s a pipeline into the military right now. We have to stop it with serious criminal justice reform.
AMY GOODMAN: During Tuesday’s hearing, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York pressed military leaders to explain why unit commanders should have the power to handle the prosecution and investigation of sexual assault cases. Let’s go to an exchange between Gillibrand and the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: Because it’s in the chain of command, because this is what our witnesses have told us, people aren’t reporting. They don’t feel that there is a atmosphere by which they can report safely. They’re afraid of retaliation. They’re afraid of being treated poorly by their commanders, being treated poorly by their colleagues. There isn’t a climate by which they can receive justice in this system. And that is why I want the decision not to be part of the chain of command, but be done entirely by trained professionals who may not have a bias or may not have a lens that is untrained.

GEN. MARK WELSH III: We did a survey recently in the Third Air Force in Europe. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said that they would report sexual assault if it occurred to them. That ends up not being true once they become victims. We find that 16 percent of our victims report. So what changes when you become a victim? I think we all know. The things that cause people to not report are—primarily, are really not chain of command. It’s: "I don’t want my family to know. I don’t want my spouse to know, or my boyfriend or girlfriend to know. I’m embarrassed that I’m in this situation." It’s the self-blame that comes with the crime that is overridingly, on surveys over the years, the reasons that most victims don’t report. I don’t think it’s any different in the military.
AMY GOODMAN: Anu Bhagwati, your response?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: Yeah, I would—I respectfully disagree with General Welsh. I don’t think he understands the mindset of victims at all. There is a huge sense of intimidation and fear of the people in your chain of command. The entire system is hierarchical. From day one, when you are a private in basic training, you learn to obey the orders of your seniors, period. And for a four-star general to not understand that is not surprising, but, you know, at this point, we have to deal with the power dynamics in the system, that is entirely different in the military than it is in the civilian world.
AMY GOODMAN: During yesterday’s Senate hearing, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri questioned U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, again, about Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Krusinski, the Air Force officer who led the branch’s sexual assault prevention unit, who was arrested Sunday for committing sexual assault. McCaskill also asked Welsh who would choose Krusinski’s successor.

SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL: Did you look at his file for any kind of problems related—I mean, clearly, the accusation is, is that he was drunk and sexually attacked a complete stranger in a parking lot. It is hard for me to believe that someone would be accused of that behavior by a complete stranger and not have anything in their file that would indicate a problem in that regard. Have you looked at his file and determined that his file was absolutely pristine?

GEN. MARK WELSH III: Senator, I looked at his officer record of performance, which is all I could access last night. I talked to his current supervisor. I haven’t talked to people who knew him or supervised him in the past. There is no indication in his professional record or performance or in his current workplace that there’s any type of a problem like this.

SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL: And who selected him? Will those two people be responsible for selecting his replacement?

GEN. MARK WELSH III: Yes, ma’am, they probably will be.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri questioning U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh. And I do want to point out, seven of the 26 members—unprecedented number—of the Armed Services Committee are women, for the first time. They were the fiercest questioners yesterday. Anu?
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: Absolutely. Women in politics matter. I mean, if it were not for women on the Senate Armed Services Committee, we wouldn’t even be having these discussions—there’s no question. But, you know, again, there’s this focus on training, on the lieutenant colonel being part of the training cadre for the Air Force. The military cannot train its way out of this crisis. You cannot train your way out of sexual assault. Criminal justice reform is much more important than any element of training. Training is just one tiny piece of the puzzle. But we’re dealing with sex crimes. You can’t reform all criminals, right? And so, behavior change, in large part, is also due to the way criminals are treated and victims are cared for. And there’s very little attention being paid to that.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Anu Bhagwati, just very quickly, before we conclude, one of the prejudices against trying military rape or sexual assault, as you’ve pointed out, has to do with the fact that it’s considered a women’s issue. But you’ve pointed out, in fact, that the majority of cases reported, at least, are of—from men, male victims.
ANURADHA BHAGWATI: That’s right. Just over half the cases in the last report were male victims. And so, there’s a sense that, well, because you’re a woman, you’ll be sexually assaulted; because women are in the military, inevitably they’ll be sexually assaulted—which is completely false. And that rape mythology has to be addressed head-on, because still the vast majority of servicemembers are men. You know, men don’t perceive themselves as victims. Women are a little more acclimated. But we’ve got culture change in the military. If we have to—if we want to transform that, we have to address the ideas of gender and what it means to actually be a sexual predator, that these are crimes based on power and control, and that’s it. So, conversations have to get a very real within the military. The training and education is—it’s mandatory. It’s boring. It doesn’t get personal. And these are personal matters.

Magda Hassan
05-08-2013, 09:47 PM
And the 26,000 are just the ones that are reported.

Peter Lemkin
05-09-2013, 04:36 AM
And the 26,000 are just the ones that are reported. No one knows the factor this should be multiplied by...but likely the higher end between 5 and 10! There are MANY reasons women fear reporting these incidents!!!! The military makes SURE of that!

David Guyatt
05-09-2013, 12:26 PM
You couldn't make this stuff up could you. People wouldn't believe it if were a plot in a novel.

Jan Klimkowski
05-09-2013, 08:10 PM
“I am a rapist and a sadistic pig,' if you get that tattoo removed I will carve it into your forehead, do you understand?”
― Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Keith Millea
05-17-2013, 04:19 PM

05.17.13 - 12:08 PM

And Another One

by Abby Zimet

As debate rages about the sexual assault crisis (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/16/us-usa-obama-sexassault-idUSBRE94F0LM20130516) in the military, (http://nation.time.com/2013/05/17/the-roots-of-sexual-abuse-in-the-military/) an officer in charge of sexual assault prevention has for the third (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57584993/obama-military-call-for-swift-reform-after-third-military-sex-assault-prevention-chief-faces-misbehavior-charges/)time in two weeks been arrested for doing the things he's supposed to be preventing. Lt. Col. Darin Haas was charged (http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130516/NEWS/305160031/Fort-Campbell-sex-assault-response-program-manager-arrested) with stalking and sending his wife threatening texts in violation of a court order. Haas was the manager of the sexual harassment and assault response program at Fort Campbell, Ky. This is getting surreal.


Peter Lemkin
05-18-2013, 04:36 AM
:loco: There seems to be a pattern in the USA that 'ain't pretty': those in the military empowered with preventing and prosecuting cases of sexual abuse are committing them; police and FBI et al. who are empowered to prevent and investigate crimes are actually often committing them - or leading others to do so in the name of a false 'War of Terror' - never really investigating the 'crimes'; bankers and financial bigwigs are stealing the money they gathered [or bilked] from others - and then get bailed out by the very persons who they stole from - and face NO charges. And one could go on with Congress, the Courts, Government Agencies, Military and the Executive; and lets not leave out the large corporations either. What is going on in the Alice-In-Wonderland, Funny-Mirror-House Labyrinth, Mad Hatters Tea-party that is America today?!?!?! The Cheshire Cat's grin is laughing at it all....but it is not at all funny. "Toto, I think we're not in Kansas any longer." None of this kind of thing is really 'new'....but it seems to be more noticeable - yet nothing is being done about it. Talk about a dysfunctional society, where up is down, and 'truths' are lies......etc. S.N.A.F.U