Last updated: May 7, 2004
Iraqi Prisoners Sexually Abused
May 7, 2004 -- Opinion by John Riley
The recent photos demonstrating beyond all doubt the homophobic sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US service men and women, is something we in the LGBT community can not ignore.
These acts were committed by homophobic, sadistic personnel trained in and by a homophobic, homohating command structure that goes right up to the president of the United States. The homophobia of the "Don't Ask-Don't tell policy sets a climate of abuse of within the military of its own personnel, how could better treatment be received by those perceived to be the enemy. What worse insult could their be than to pose the enemy in what they consider to be "depraived acts."
The recent photos of Private Lynndie R. England demonstrates that homophobic violence is not the exclusive domain of men and shows the limits of some of the politics promoted within the women's community. While women need to be a part of every part of US society that alone will not make a better world. It is true that women are in general less likely to commit violence they are not immune. It is extremely important that we progressives within the LGBT community organize against this deadly immoral war , speak out against sexual abuse within the military and work to stop the US empire builders from succeeding in their morally depraived plan to seize the riches of the world by military force.
We need to build a multi-issue progressive LGBT movement to fight a criminal system of exploitation based on racism, sexism and homophobia. We need to organize, demonstrate and challenge the system and the values the system holds in alliance with other communities facing different oppressions.
Making our voices heard as LGBT people speaking out against this abuse will help to minimize homophobic reactions within Muslim and Arab communities.
I have provided a link to a site where pictures of the abuse of these prisoners is posted. I encourage people who haven't seen these images to take a deep breath, and look at these pictures to inform yourself of what the US is doing in Iraq. Despite what the minimizers at the NY Post and other corporate media say, this abuse is not isolated to a few "bad apples" indeed we can find this type of abuse in US prisons. While the abuse rarely has this level of documentation, it does occur throughout the country. One of the guards accused of misconduct is a prison guard at a Pennsylvania prison (see story below). We rarely read about domestic prison abuse in the pages of the corporate because the corporate media wants to focus on crimes committed by poor and working class individuals, not crimes committed by the state.
|Dear Supporters, Allies, and Members of the Media,
On Wednesday, May 5, the New York Times published a story about Americans who
Reports of prisoner abuse have plagued SCI-Greene since it opened less than a
Pa. Abolitionists and other organizations spoke out against the allegations
Exactly one year prior to yesterday's NYT article, SCI-Greene guard Charles
"Specialist Charles A. Graner, Jr., is a guard at one of Pennsylvania's most
"An internal Army report made public this week described Specialist Graner,
"Specialist Graner, who wears a Marine Corps eagle tattoo on his right arm,
"Two years after he arrived at Greene, the prison was at the center of an
"Inmates and advocates for prisoner rights asserted in 1998 that guards at
"After an investigation, the warden was transferred, two lieutenants were
"Specialist Graner was involved in a bitter divorce. In court papers, his
"One court document filed in February 1998 typified Staci Graner's
Whether Graner was involved in the SCI-Greene abuses or disciplined for them
At an absolute minimum, Pa. Abolitionists believes that the Pennsylvania
For those wishing to voice their feelings to the Pa. DOC, contact information
Pa. DOC Contact Info:
Dr. Jeffrey A. Beard, Secretary
Louis S. Folino, Superintendent
Pa. DOC Policies for Employees in the Military Reserves:
Links to Newspaper Articles about Current DOC Employee Charles A. Graner, Jr.:
Fayette reservist implicated in scandal
SCI-Greene guard accused in Iraqi prisoner abuse case
Links to Articles about Prisoner Abuse at SCI-Greene:
News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International
"'The Greene Experience' - Life on SCI-Greene's Death Row" by Roger Buehl
"Pa. Department of Corrections to Investigate Abuse at Greene"
"Brutality Scandal Explodes at SCI Greene"
"Guards Applaud Prison Official's Swift Demotion"
"The Hole Truth"
"Whitewash in Greene County" by Mumia Abu-Jamal
"State prison officers demoted, fired;
"13 More Guards Disciplined at Pennsylvania Prison as Scandal Grows"
"Under Sentence of Death: Conditions on Pennsylvania's Death Row"
"Beatings at Greene County" by Dr. Julian Heicklen
FRONT-BURNER FEDERAL AIDS FUNDING PRIORITIES: HOPWA, RYAN WHITE TITLE III & ADAP
by Michael Kink and the Staff of Housing Works
(Oct 9, 2003) Weve still got a huge HIV/AIDS problem here at home: increasing
HIV infections (40,000 per year nationwide), increasing AIDS diagnoses,
new increases in AIDS deaths. But domestic AIDS funding has been flat
Governor Davis Signs the Gay Rights bill in
photo(s) by Paul Barwick. More
photos can be found at
|(August 7, 2003) Washington, DC: Hundreds of people living
with HIV, activists and service providers from a coalition of AIDS organizations
protested during the 22nd meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on
HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Activists demanded an end to President Bushs attack
on effective HIV prevention programs that promote comprehensive sex education,
needle exchange, access to condoms, and other interventions that have been
proven to prevent the spread of HIV. Carrying bottles of snake oil
and coffins to dramatize the deadly impact of HIV policies motivated by
ideology, not science, the protesters rallied outside the meeting while
activists testified to PACHA members.
ABSTINENCE-ONLY HHS OFFICIAL
SENT TO SPEAK AT NATIONAL HIV PREVENTION CONFERENCE
|Associated Press, July 30, 2003|
Bush Casts Aside Calls to Legalize Gay Marriage
Associated Press, July 30, 2003
Pacifica Board Meeting Cancelled
AIDS activists disrupt Karl Rove's speech at black tie College Republican soirée
Two days ago, lawmakers in the House of Representatives, under the direction of Rove's White House, opposed efforts to fully fund the bill President Bush signed into law in June that would provide $3 billion in global AIDS funding in 2004, with $1 billion for the nearly bankrupt Global Fund, the only multilateral program spending money on treatment for dying people with AIDS.
"While Bush lies about life saving AIDS funding, he's preventing countries from implementing policy that assures they can maximize medicines access by purchasing low cost generics," said Sasha Post, a protester. "The US promised they would permit countries to put public health before patent rights--for killer Karl, that's just one more promise to walk away from."
White House Helps Derail Emergency Action on AIDS
by: GLOBAL AIDS ALLIANCE
|ACT UP/Philadelphia Activist and Member of Health GAP Asia Russell with Nelson Mandella at International AIDS Conference in Paris. The demos were put on by activists with the "Fund the Fund" campaign.|
|Members of the AIDS (news - web sites) awareness group ACT-UP demonstrate
funding for AIDS research during the second IAS conference on HIV (news - web
sites)/AIDS in Paris, July 16, 2003. More than 5,000 participants from 120 countries are
attending the three-day conference which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the
discovery of HIV-1. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
|Act up militants hold posters as they protest during the 2nd IAS Conference
on HIV (news - web sites) pathogenesis and treatment, in Paris,
Wednesday, July 16, 2003. Twenty years after the discovery of HIV, the
conference planned to provide news insights into HIV disease that can lead
to new research directions, help speed translational research and move
advances into clinical practice. (AP Photo /Philippe Wojazer, Pool)
Members of the AIDS (news - web sites) awareness group ACT-UP wear
masks representing British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) (R)
and French President Jacques Chirac (L) as they demonstrate for more
funding for AIDS research during the second IAS conference on HIV (news -
web sites)/AIDS in Paris, July 16, 2003. More than 5000 participants from
120 countries are attending the three-day conference which coincides with
the 20th anniversary of the discovery of HIV-1 by a French researcher.
U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) (L) and his guide give a
Members of from the activist groups Student Global AIDS Campaign and ACT UP,
dressed as grim reapers, demonstrate
against President Bush (news - web sites)'s AIDS policy in front of the
White House on Monday, July 7, 2003. The devastating AIDS pandemic is
one of the major themes of Bush's five-nation trip to Africa. (AP
Photo/Gerald Herbert) http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030707/168/4m1c2.html
For eight years, Michael Savage has used his San Francisco-based radio talk show as a platform to spew hateful, defamatory rhetoric targeting women, people of color, immigrants and the LGBT community.
Among his statements: that the United States "is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives"; that gays and lesbians are "perverts" and that "the gay and lesbian mafia wants our children"; that America is a "'she-ocracy' where a minority of feminist zealots rule the culture...together, they have both feminized and homosexualized much of America to point where the nation has become passive, receptive and masochistic"; that MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield is "the mind-slut with a big pair of glasses," and when speaking of immigrants, "You open the door to them, and the next thing you know, they are defecating on your country and breeding out of control."
On February 12, MSNBC announced it had offered Savage his own weekly cable television talk show. GLAAD launched a public education campaign to call attention to Savage's hateful attacks on diverse Americans, leading a broad-based coalition that called on MSNBC, NBC News and "Savage Nation" sponsors to reconsider their decision to associate their brands with Savage's bigotry.
Hundreds Celebrate in Chicago, IL
Press Statement by the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network
Now that we've won, where do we go from here?
While we celebrate our huge victory in the courts, we must remember that the experience of other
civil rights struggles shows that formal legal equal does not necessarily mean REAL equality.
Following the important court work of Lambda Legal and others, we must organize our community to
ensure EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION of this great decision.
The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision, which supposedly outlawed
segregation, was at first a DEAD LETTER as racists at all levels of government stymied its
implementation -- until the Civil Rights Movement grew to sufficeint strength in the 1960s to begin
FORCING change through mobilizing large numbers of African Americans and allies in the streets. That's
why the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, DC Radical Faeries, and veteran Lesbian activist Robin Tyler of
Los Angeles launched the nationwide campaign to have celebrations/protests on the night of the Court's
decision - 38 cities from Fairbanks, Alaska to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Now that we've won, there is a huge danger that COMPLACENCY or ELECTORAL DIVERSIONS will sap
our victory, preventing us from exploiting the full potential of this important decision. Those who oppose us
often complain that if they "give us an inch, we'll take a mile." Well, we've gotten that inch, now let's take
that mile! We have a tremendous opportunity to open up a sea-change in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &
Trans-gendered politics, but only if we exploit every opportunity to expand on the Court's decision.
Think there's nothing left to do? Here's just a few suggestions for future action:
* We need equal marriage rights, like they just won in Canada, so that our relationships are treated with
dignity, and we enjoy the host of material benefits which come with marriage: access to our partner's
health coverage, equality in adoption and foster parenting, inheritance rights, immigration rights, and
Social Security and pension survivors' benefits.
* We need equal employment, housing and access to public accomodations protections, such as would
be guaranteed by Illinois's House Bill 101. A Federal law outlawing discrimination in these areas is
* We need an end to public subsidies and contracts -- our tax dollars -- going to institutions that refuse to
hire us: the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, to name a few.
Formal legal equality and kind words are pale substitutes for genuine equality. We have every right to
celebrate a huge victory today, but let's not be satisfied. Let's continue organizing for FULL equality!
|Above photo from the celebration rally of about 300 people June 26th in Chicago, hailing the most important court victory in the history of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered movement. Activists rallied in 38 cities from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Fairbanks,|
|Original photo and others from the source: http://chicago.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=27849&group=webcast|
500 Celebrate Sodomy Decision in New York
(June 26, 2003-Manhattan, NY) More than 500 gathered in Stonewall Park to celebrate the Supreme Court's decision stricking down sodomy laws across the nation.on Thursday June 26. Similar rallys were held in 32 cities, the largest was San Francisico which had over 1,000. Chicago had several hundred celebrants. Lambda Legal represented the defendents.
Photos by Andrés Duque/Wockner News
Photos by Andrés Duque/Wockner News
By George Reilly
The mother of a 14-year-old middle school student who wore a "Barbie
is a Lesbian" T-shirt to class is suing New York City in federal
court. The woman says her daughter was humiliated and harassed by schoolmates
and staff because she is a lesbian and is open about her sexual orientation.
The lawsuit accuses New York City of failing to protect the girl at her middle school in Queens. The suit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the school from suspending the girl for wearing the T-shirt. It also wants the school to establish policies to protect gay pupils. City lawyers hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment.
Canadian Gays Refused Marriage License
By George Reilly
The CBC is reporting that a gay couple in Calgary, Alberta was refused a marriage licence at the registry office, just days after Ottawa opened the doors to gay marriage in Canada.