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He’s one of the game’s most colorful personalities; a rare diamond in the rough among the cookie-cutter characters that seem to make up today’s Major League Baseball.

Bill “Spaceman” Lee is a southpaw pitcher drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. Known for once pitching in his famous astronaut suit, Lee played nine seasons for the Sox and four with the Montreal Expos. He has a lifetime record 119 wins, 90 loses, a 3.62 earned run average and was a member of the 1973 American League All-Star team. But the one statistic that is “ hardwired in my cerebrum” he said is the 12 times he beat the New York Yankees when pitching for the Sox.

Like most Sox fans, there is no love lost between Lee, the New York Yankees, owner George Steinbrenner, and especially with former Sox manager and Yankees’ third base coach Don Zimmer. Zimmer had no tolerance for Lee’s antics and would often bench him, the most memorable of which was during a critical four-game series in 1978 known as “The Boston Massacre.” The Yankees outslugged the Sox 42-9 in the series.

Most of all, Lee loves the game and considers himself a baseball purist. He despises the designated hitter rule, games played on artificial turf, and polyester uniforms, and started a company that sells wooden baseball bats made from yellow birch.

He is the author of three best-selling books — The Wrong Stuff with Richard Lally, The Little Red (Sox) Book with Jim Prime, and Have Glove Will Travel, also with Lally.

Lee lives in Craftsbury and has called Vermont home for 25 years. Today, he still plays baseball in tournaments around the country, including the Vermont Men’s Senior League, and teaches an annual class at Middlebury College about the Negro Baseball League.
With the 2007 baseball season underway, the Vermont Guardian caught up with Spaceman to talk about the Red Sox, their new pitcher Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka, rising baseball ticket prices, and much more.

Bill Lee talks baseball

VG: So the Red Sox home opener is April 10 against the Seattle Mariners. How do they compare with the 2004 Red Sox that won the coveted World Series? And, do you also think “Dice-K” is the real deal?
Lee: Oh, he’s the real deal from what I’ve seen so far. I mean I’ve only seen him throw three games, but all three of them have been gems. He’s got good command and it forces Curt Schilling to be a better pitcher than he was the other night and if Josh Beckett can stay away from the home run ball and get his act together, you’ve got three great starters right there and if you get Jon Lester back, strong and healthy, that’s four, and then you can throw Tim Wakefield in who can throw a lot of innings, and save your bullpen. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have a great year.

VG: And how do the rest of the players stack up?
Lee: Well, [the other pitchers] Julian Tavarez is starting right now and he threw well at the end of last season and Joel Pinero I thought threw well. His arm looks healthy and gosh darn with the closer they’ve got [in Jonathan Papelbon], he’s unbelievable. So, I’m pretty impressed. I just think they’re going to need one more hitter in that line-up somewhere. I don’t know about shortstop Julio Lugo or their lead-off guy Coco Crisp. Third baseman Mike Lowell should come on and have a pretty good season near the end, but catcher Jason Varitek is your big question mark. I worry about him. He just doesn’t seem to have any bullets in his gun when he’s at the plate.

VG: You’re a baseball purist. A concern is that with ticket prices going up will the average Vermonter be able to attend Major League Baseball games? Can anything be done?
Lee: Well, the New York and Boston common man can’t go to the ballpark anymore either. It’s a day of the past I think. It costs way too much money and it’s supply and demand and a very elitist thing. I mean [look at the opening series with the Texas Rangers]. There were more Red Sox fans then there were Rangers fans. If you go to spring training games, it’s more Red Sox fans selling out all these games. Something about landing the Mayflower on the east coast, everybody seems to have a claim to New England and thereby a lot of Red Sox fans. I think we’re even blowing out New York fans now for some reason.

VG: Do you think Steinbrenner shelling out cash for all these big name ballplayers has anything to do with driving ticket prices up?
Lee: Oh, for sure. You buy your own TV network and now you’re a conglomerate; you own everything and it’s just tough. You can’t get to the games. If people are waiting in line for season’s tickets for people to die, it’s almost like the [Green Bay] Packers. These two teams seem to be that way forever.

VG: I know you live in the Northeast Kingdom but what brought you there and what made you want to stay?
Lee: Oh, I came down from Montreal. I didn’t come up. Most people think you come up to the Northeast Kingdom. I came down into the United States because of the Red Sox fantasy camp. John and Stuart Savage ran it and they were from Vermont, that’s what brought me to Vermont the first time and one of the fantasy campers owned a farm up there and his barn collapsed and forced him to sell part of his property and I bought the 14 acres on top of the ridge and built a house up there and it’s been there ever since. It’s just the neatest little community in the world, Craftsbury.

VG: Now I understand every year Middlebury College invites you to co-teach a class about the Negro Leagues. Do you still do it?
Lee: Yep, still do. It’s Karl Lindholm’s. He brings me in and teaches a course on old-time baseball, the economics of baseball, and the race relations of baseball. I was the player rep and John Milner [of the Mets] said I was only white guy allowed on the back of the bus, so it’s kind of very apropos and he’ll bring me in on May 10 on the final day of class, have a little seminar and discuss the relationship of the past, present, and future of the game. It’s just kind of a little perk for the students. That’s why I think Middlebury is the greatest school on the face of the Earth.

VG: Now in terms of your baseball trips to Cuba, what are some of your favorite memories?
Lee: You could be driving the bus down and park it on the side of the road and have a pick-up game with the locals anytime after four o’clock. Everybody gets out of work and they go out and go out and play baseball on any little field. You can get a game anywhere in Cuba just by stopping the bus and that’s something you can’t do in the United States.

VG: You’ve written three books on baseball so far. Any more on the way?
Lee: Yeah, I have a new one coming out this month called Baseball Eccentrics: The Most Entertaining, Outrageous, and Unforgettable Characters in the Game that’s being published by Triumph Books and should be out any day now and they’re going have me tour it around.

Bill Lee-isms

Bill “Spaceman” Lee is remembered for his often funny and irreverent quotes. Here are some of his classics:

“I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The Earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.”

“I would change policy, bring back natural grass and nickel beer. Baseball is the belly button of our society. Straighten out baseball, and you straighten out the rest of the world.”

“There’s nothing in the world like the fatalism of the Red Sox fans, which has been bred into them for generations by that little green ballpark, and the wall, and by a team that keeps trying to win by hitting everything out of sight and just out-bombarding everyone else in the league. All this makes Boston fans a little crazy and I’m sorry for them.”

“You take a team with twenty-five assholes and I’ll show you a pennant. I’ll show you the New York Yankees.”

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He’s one of the game’s most colorful personalities; a rare diamond in the rough among the cookie-cutter characters that seem to make up today’s Major League Baseball. Bill “Spaceman” Lee is a southpaw pitcher drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. Known for once pitching in his famous astronaut suit, Lee played nine seasons […] Read more

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The Center for Cartoon Studies publishes its first graphic novel: Houdini the Handcuff King

Since its inception in the fall of 2005, The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction, a two-year cartooning school and studio concentrating on the creating and marketing of comics and graphic novels, has grown by leaps and bounds under the direction of co-founders James Sturm and Michelle Ollie.

In a short period of time, CCS has cultivated an impressive advisory board that is a relative “who’s who” of cartoonists and publishers: Steve Bissette, co-creator of Saga of the Swamp Thing; Denis Kitchen, president, Kitchen Sink Press; Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics; and industry giants William Horberg of Wonderland Films, Diana Schutz of Dark Horse Comics, and Will Eisner, the creator of sequential art.

Earlier this month, CCS introduced its first book in a series of graphic novels for young readers, titled Houdini the Handcuff King.

Created by cartoonists Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi (from Seattle and New York respectively), the premise of the book is to present a snapshot moment in the life of Harry Houdini and focus on only one specific incident in an effort to enhance the intrigue that surrounded the talents and accomplishments of a man who, at his peak, was arguably the most famous person in the world.

“I was paid to learn at the knee of one of my favorite cartoonists,” Bertozzi said. “In fact, I show his thumbnails to my students as the Gold Standard for clear cartooning. Working with him was a little intimidating at first.”

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In traditional graphic-novel style, the large panels and bold illustrations reveal Houdini as he prepares and then executes one of his most famous stunts, a death-defying leap off Boston’s Harvard Bridge while handcuffed.

The bold artwork effectively transcends the various emotions; a nervous excitement from the gathering crowd, detailed facial expressions, suspenseful anticipation, and even a hint of anti-Semitism, when it is revealed through the comments of a policeman that Houdini was of Jewish decent.

An introduction into the life of Houdini as well as a collection of panel discussions are also included in this 96-page, hardbound edition, giving the reader a clearer picture of the magician’s personal life including his wife Bess and right-hand man Beatty, and the frenzy surrounding the crowds and newspaper reporters who followed him.

CCS also recently announced a creative partnership with Sunrise Greeting Cards, which will showcase the work of several CCS cartoonists beginning in 2008.

“It is great to be able to give our students the opportunity to earn income while at the same time being introduced to an industry that can help support them while they continue to work on their comics and graphic novel projects,” Ollie said.

The school will host its first commencement ceremony on May 19, with an estimated 20 students participating.

The institution’s first commencement speaker will be cartoonist-icon Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the daily comic strip Mutts. McDowell’s comic strip appears in some 700 newspapers around the world. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz once declared Mutts one of the greatest comic strips all time.

In an increasingly visual and graphic U.S. culture, the art of cartooning and the age of graphic novels is seeing a resurgence through the explosion of imported comics and a global fascination with cartoon animation.

As the only college-level training program of its kind in the United States, CCS hopes to ride the cusp of this ever-growing animation wave of success.  click here to login for more information

The Center for Cartoon Studies publishes its first graphic novel: Houdini the Handcuff King Since its inception in the fall of 2005, The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction, a two-year cartooning school and studio concentrating on the creating and marketing of comics and graphic novels, has grown by leaps and bounds […] Read more

NEWFANE — As patriots go, Dan DeWalt looks the part. With his ponytail and winter beard, a pair of breeches and a musket would put him right into character in 1775.

But it was no act earlier this month when DeWalt fired the opening salvo of his revolution. Only this time, the shot heard ’round the world came not from a rebel in Massachusetts but from a selectman in Vermont. And rather than start a shooting war, it was meant to put a stop to one.

DeWalt, 49, is as mystified as anybody at his international star status as the author of a town meeting resolution, which Newfane voters passed 121-29, calling for the impeachment of Pres. George Bush, in part because he “used falsehoods to lead our nation to war unsupported by international law.”

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NEWFANE — As patriots go, Dan DeWalt looks the part. With his ponytail and winter beard, a pair of breeches and a musket would put him right into character in 1775. But it was no act earlier this month when DeWalt fired the opening salvo of his revolution. Only this time, the shot heard ’round […] Read more

BURLINGTON– Could sophisticated CIA-style “cyber-warfare” have helped George W. Bush change a three percent defeat, as measured by exit polls, into a victory of about the same margin? Yes, at least in theory. But it would require hacking into multiple local computer systems, presumably from a remote location. Best proxy site

There is as yet no solid proof that such a cyber-attack occurred on Nov. 2. But suspicions are mounting that the U.S. presidential election results were manipulated to some extent. Voting analyses of selected precincts in Florida and Ohio have found surprisingly high percentages for Bush, and critics say that spoiled ballots and provisional votes, both disproportionally affecting minorities, made the difference in at least two states.

Into the evening of Election Day, exit polls showed Kerry rolling to a clear victory nationally and carrying most of the battleground states, including Florida and Ohio. Winning either would have ensured his victory in the Electoral College.

Polls also showed Republicans carrying the bulk of the tight Senate races. When the official results were tallied, however, the presidential exit polls proved wrong while the Senate polls were correct.

As suspicions about the integrity of the election grew, Sen. John McCain tried to quell talk of mischief in the Florida and Ohio with a Nov, 4 appearance on the Tonight Show.
Exit polling showed Kerry with a 3 percent lead over Bush in Florida and 4 percent edge in Ohio. He ended up losing Florida by 5.2 percent and 2.5 percent in Ohio. That makes the spread between the Florida poll and results 8.2 percent, more than double the standard error rate. In Ohio, the difference is 6.5 percent, also beyond the usual variation.

In Florida’s Baker County, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3 percent of the Democrats and 24.3 percent of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry, Hartmann reports.

In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5 percent of them Democrats and a mere 15 percent registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeated elsewhere, but only in the smaller counties. On Nov. 5, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann took note of the obvious: all the voting machine irregularities being uncovered seemed to favor Bush. But that was the exception. Most media focused instead on why the exit polling system failed.

Skeptics have dismissed the exit polls as flawed and said that they may have influenced the narrative of election coverage, but couldn’t affect the outcome.

To explain the difference, architects of the exit poll sampling system said Kerry voters were simply more willing to answer the questions. Called the “chattiness thesis,” this answer has been ridiculed as a post-facto excuse.

In an article for Tom Paine.com called “Kerry Won,” journalist Greg Palast claims, “Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded.” But Palast thinks the election was decided not by hackers but by “spoilage,” the small part of the vote that is voided and thrown away.

In Ohio, as in Florida four years ago, most “spoiled” votes were cast on punch cards. Whose cards were they? Palast writes, “Expert statisticians investigating spoilage for the government calculated that 54 percent of the ballots thrown in the dumpster were cast by black folks.”

Other factors that may have affected the outcome include the legal challenges brought by Republicans in several states and a large number of provisional ballots. Taken together, they could bring the full count more into line with the exit poll results. Palast has identified similar voting irregularities in New Mexico.

Writing for Common Dreams. Thom Hartmann reports that Jeff Fisher, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 16th District claimed to have solid evidence that the Florida election was manipulated through information warfare.

Since the mid-1990s, “information warfare” has been a hot topic within the U.S. military. The Pentagon has even produced a 13-page booklet, “Information Warfare for Dummies.”

Indirectly, the booklet acknowledges secret U.S. capabilities in these areas. It also recognized the sensitivity of the topic. “Due to the moral, ethical and legal questions raised by hacking, the military likes to keep a low profile on this issue,” the primer explains.

The booklet says the cyber-war tactics do have advantages over other military operations. “The intrusions can be carried out remotely, transcending the boundaries of time and space,” the manual says. “They also offer the prospect of ‘plausible deniability’ or repudiation.

The CIA has reportedly succeeded in pursuing some aspects of cyber-warfare, including targeting specific bank accounts and shutting down computer systems. But stealing an election is considerably more difficult, requiring the alteration of data in many computers.

According to Robert Parry, writing for Consortium News, ”a preprogrammed ‘kernel of the brain’ would have to be inserted into election computers beforehand, or teams of hackers would be needed to penetrate the lightly protected systems, targeting touch-screen systems without a paper backup for verifying the numbers. unblock sites

BURLINGTON– Could sophisticated CIA-style “cyber-warfare” have helped George W. Bush change a three percent defeat, as measured by exit polls, into a victory of about the same margin? Yes, at least in theory. But it would require hacking into multiple local computer systems, presumably from a remote location. Best proxy site There is as yet […] Read more

WASHINGTON — An effort that began in March culminated Monday when three Vermont communities delivered a message to House Speaker Dennis Hastert: Start the process to impeach Pres. George Bush.

Six Vermont towns passed resolutions on Town Meeting Day calling for Bush’s impeachment. On Monday, Ellen Tenney, a bookstore owner from Rockingham, hand-delivered petitions to Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

Neither Hastert nor his chief of staff was there when the office opened, as many members of Congress are not in Washington on Mondays. Tenney described the meeting with Hastert’s staff members who were in the office as “bland and not very friendly.”

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WASHINGTON — An effort that began in March culminated Monday when three Vermont communities delivered a message to House Speaker Dennis Hastert: Start the process to impeach Pres. George Bush. Six Vermont towns passed resolutions on Town Meeting Day calling for Bush’s impeachment. On Monday, Ellen Tenney, a bookstore owner from Rockingham, hand-delivered petitions to […] Read more

A trio of reports describes Iraq as one of the most psychologically devastated regions on Earth as a result of the US invasion and occupation. The Iraqi media question the importance of working on a new constitution when the country is faced with the risk of the total collapse of basic services like electricity and water.

Meanwhile, an interior ministry source said US troops fired on a crowd of workers in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Alawi mistaking them for insurgents. proxy site

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A trio of reports describes Iraq as one of the most psychologically devastated regions on Earth as a result of the US invasion and occupation. The Iraqi media question the importance of working on a new constitution when the country is faced with the risk of the total collapse of basic services like electricity and […] Read more

That isn’t likely to stop House members from attempting to vote on an identical resolution to the one passed today in the Senate.

Rep. Dave Zuckerman, P-Burlington, will spend today and Tuesday collecting signatures from House members to introduce an identical resolution in the chamber.

“We will take the same language the Senate passed today, collect signatures today and Tuesday, and turn it in Tuesday afternoon, which gives people around the state time to call their representatives and ask them to sign it; we would then have it on the calendar for Wednesday and the speaker will either let it be voted on or have it sent to committee,” said Zuckerman. “In respect to the Senate action, many of us are quite pleased they took the vote, but it’s clear that it only happened because citizens got involved.”

Impeachment backers were thrilled with the move and now turn their attention to the House, where an impeachment resolution has been sitting in the House Judiciary Committee for weeks.

“I think what impressed the legislators [at Tuesday’s meeting] was the critical importance of stepping up to the plate at this moment in history,” said Barry Aleshenick of Guilford, who attended Tuesday’s meeting. “We need the House to follow suit, because the entire nation has its hopes in a state like Vermont to lead the nation in this incredible historical moment and to have the moral imperative to get us out of what we’ve been in. For the Senate to take the first step this morning is just wonderful.”

All eyes are now on the House, where House Speaker Gaye Symington has not been willing to have the resolution taken up because it would distract lawmakers from more important work on education funding, health care, among other issues.

Currently, a resolution with 20 co-sponsors remains in the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. William Lippert, D-Hinesburg, and has yet to receive a hearing despite more than 100 calls in a favor.

At Tuesday’s meeting with impeachment backers, Symington reiterated her steadfast belief that a resolution supporting impeachment was not the solution when asked what could change her mind. “I don’t disagree with your goals, but I don’t believe that this is the way to achieve them,” she said.

Rop Roper, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, was pleased that the GOP contingent in the Senate stood together, but believes the move will only distract legislators from more pressing matters.

“I’m very proud to say that all of our Republican senators held together and did not support the resolution,” said Roper. “Peter Shumlin has caved into a small, vocal minority of the population that is way out of the mainstream. All this is going to do is divide and distract our legislators when they need to be finishing up some very important business at the State House.”

The nation’s eyes have been turning to Vermont since Town Meeting Day when 38 towns passed resolutions calling for Congress to introduce articles of impeachment against Bush and Cheney. Since then, supporters have been urging state lawmakers to pass a similar measure. Recently, the popular comic strip Doonesbury profiled Vermont’s impeachment efforts during a six-day run.

Shumlin has been also facing increased pressure from his county constituents, many of whom have sparked the impeachment movement in Vermont.

At the meeting with impeachment supporters, Shumlin said, “I would welcome anyone to introduce the resolution and I will vote for it.”

That is a different position than Shumlin took earlier this year in public statements, including in statements at a monthly meeting of the state committee of the Vermont Democratic Party. He said earlier that if the resolution made it to the Senate it would receive immediate hearings; however, all of those statements were made before Legislative Counsel said that the resolution did not have to start in the House. In recent weeks, Shumlin has said that there is not enough time remaining in the legislative session to take up the resolution.

“He had to do something because he was facing a lot of pressure in his county,” said Rep. Darryl Pillsbury, I-Brattleboro, and a cosponsor of an impeachment resolution in the House. “I was very surprised by the vote as it came up pretty quickly, and I didn’t even know about it. I’m very happy though.”

Pillsbury and Zuckerman said if the new resolution is sent to the committee again, it is likely that they would ask the House to pull it out and put it to a floor vote.

Impeachment backers hope the Senate resolution, coupled with a measure from the House, would send a message to the nation.

“We’re not standing here as Vermonters and impeaching the president, be we are sending a message and denouncing the actions of this administration,” said Aleshenick. “It’s a matter of getting the ball rolling and that’s what I said on Tuesday and then see where it goes.”

Event information

What: Impeachment rally

When: Saturday, April 21

When: Noon

Where: Burlington City Hall

Details: Supporters of the impeachment resolution will gather to thank senators for their vote today, and to urge people to call House members to support a similar resolution, and to call on U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT, to introduce a bill in Congress that would start impeachment proceedings.

That isn’t likely to stop House members from attempting to vote on an identical resolution to the one passed today in the Senate. Rep. Dave Zuckerman, P-Burlington, will spend today and Tuesday collecting signatures from House members to introduce an identical resolution in the chamber. “We will take the same language the Senate passed today, […] Read more

Editor’s Note: This report first appeared in the Vermont Lawyer and Trial Court Reporter, before Judge Edward Cashman reconsidered the sentence of Mark Hulett. It is reprinted here with permission.

BURLINGTON – It began with an inaccurate local television news report, with the errors repeated by Vermont print and broadcast media.  The story was quickly picked up by Internet bloggers and right-wing talk radio and soon reached at least three sensationalist national cable shows.  Within a week, bloggers were posting ever more extreme comments, calling for vigilante action against a longtime Vermont judge and posting his home address and phone online.

State politicians jumped at the chance to be on national television, repeating the errors and adding to them.  Nationwide, there were calls for boycotts of Vermont if the judge were not removed from the bench.  Both the Republican governor and the Democratic Speaker of the House joined in condemnation of the judge.

As this issue goes to press, the House is planning to vote on a resolution asking the judge to resign.

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Editor’s Note: This report first appeared in the Vermont Lawyer and Trial Court Reporter, before Judge Edward Cashman reconsidered the sentence of Mark Hulett. It is reprinted here with permission. BURLINGTON – It began with an inaccurate local television news report, with the errors repeated by Vermont print and broadcast media.  The story was quickly […] Read more

BURLINGTON — For more than four years, the public has repeatedly been urged to ignore “outrageous” conspiracies theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that set in motion the so-called “war on terrorism.” However, the official explanation that has been provided — and widely embraced — also requires the acceptance of a theory, one involving a massive intelligence failure, 19 Muslim hijackers under the sway of Osama bin Laden, and the inability of the world’s most advanced Air Force to intercept four commercial airplanes.

“A good theory explains most of the relevant facts and is not contradicted,” notes David Ray Griffin, who has been examining the available evidence for the past three years and has so far published two books on the subject. This month, Griffin summarized his findings for more than 1,000 people in four well-attended Vermont talks. The bottom line, he informed a packed house in Burlington on Oct. 12, is that “every aspect of the official story is problematic,” contradicting the available evidence and defying even the laws of physics.

Click here for the full text of this story in our subscriber’s area.

BURLINGTON — For more than four years, the public has repeatedly been urged to ignore “outrageous” conspiracies theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that set in motion the so-called “war on terrorism.” However, the official explanation that has been provided — and widely embraced — also requires the acceptance of a theory, one involving […] Read more

NEW YORK — U.S. female soldiers in Iraq were assaulted or raped by male soldiers in the women’s latrines, and an alarming number committed suicide, Col. Janis Karpinski reportedly testified before an international human rights commission of inquiry last month.

“Because the women were in fear of getting up in the darkness [to go to the latrine], they were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon,” Karpinski testified, according to a report on Truthout.org. “In the 100-degree heat, they were dying of dehydration in their sleep.”

Karpinski’s testimony was reported by Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild who writes a weekly column for the website.

Cohn wrote that she presented Karpinski’s testimony at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration, which convened Jan. 20-22 at Riverside Church.

The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn’t located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom, Karpinski told retired U.S. Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview, Cohn reported. “There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night.” It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers.

Rape fears lead women soldiers

Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition’s joint task force said in a briefing that “women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep.”

“And rather than make everybody aware of that — because that’s shocking, and as a leader if that’s not shocking to you then you’re not much of a leader — what they told the surgeon to do is don’t brief those details anymore. And don’t say specifically that they’re women. You can provide that in a written report but don’t brief it in the open anymore.”

Karpinski said Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, the top deputy to Lt. Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the former senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, saw dehydration listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, Wojdakowski directed that the cause of death no longer be listed. The official explanation for this was to protect the women’s privacy rights, she said.

Sanchez’s attitude was: “The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory,” Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told Cohn that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did, Cohn reported.

“It was out of control,” Karpinski told a group of students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law last October, according to the Truthout report. Although there was a toll-free number women could use to report sexual assaults, no one had a phone, and no one answered the U.S. number when it was called. Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording.

Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait, the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message, Karpinski told Cohn.

Karpinski, a brigadier general, was assigned to Iraq in July 2003 to oversee 17 prison facilities including Abu Ghraib. She was demoted to colonel after news broke of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib when the prison was under her command. Karpinski subsequently resigned from the military, and in October she published a book, One Woman’s Army, the Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story, in which she claims the prisoner abuses were carried out under orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The commission in New York heard testimony from Karpinski and others about indefinite detention, rendition for torture, destruction of the environment, attacks on public health and reproductive rights, and actions and inactions leading up to and following Hurricane Katrina, Cohn wrote.

Harry Belafonte, a participant and keynote speaker, said, “When a government fails to protect justice it is the responsibility of the people to rise up and change the guard, change the regime. Those who fail to answer that call should be charged with patriotic treason.” Best proxy sites

NEW YORK — U.S. female soldiers in Iraq were assaulted or raped by male soldiers in the women’s latrines, and an alarming number committed suicide, Col. Janis Karpinski reportedly testified before an international human rights commission of inquiry last month. “Because the women were in fear of getting up in the darkness [to go to […] Read more

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