Two US soldiers investigated for the rape of a 12-year-old Colombian girl

November 7th, 2007

From El Tiempo (2007-10-07): Investigan a dos militares de E.U. por violación de niña de 12 años en Comando Aéreo de Melgar:

Air Force Command, Melgar, Colombia

On Saturday, August 25, Second Sergeant Michael J. Coen and his personal security officer, César Ruiz, who are serving with Colombian forces based in Tolemaida and appointed under Plan Colombia, evaded security protocols of the main Colombian Air Force bunker in the municipality of Tolima.

According to testimonies collected by the local authorities – in which military intelligence also have participated – at 4 am on Saturday, August 25, the soldiers arrived at the Air Force Combat Center 4 (Cacom-4) checkpoint, and without getting out of their white truck, Ruiz, known as The Mexican, lowered his window a few centimeters, identified himself and they continued on their way.

The poor car inspection, aided by the darkened truck windows, allowed the two men to enter the military complex with a 12-year-old girl who they had met at a dance club four hours earlier in Melgar.

Confidential informants point out that the truck, with license plate number CTU-046, La Calera, was parked in front of the apartment that Ruiz was assigned three months ago. Ruiz is a US citizen of Mexican origin, now apparently retired from the US Army, registered with the US Embassy and a member of the group in charge of the personal security of US personal participating in the counter-narcotics operations in Colombia.

According to a confidential report, Ruiz loaned his apartment to Mango (Coen’s alias) so that he could carry out the illegal conduct.

According to the testimony of the minor, around 8 a.m. on Sunday August 26, The Mexican took the girl out in the same truck. During the drive he tried to seduce her as he caressed her intimate parts, not paying any attention to her protests.

Minutes later, he left her in Melgar’s main park, where there were witnesses present.

Delays and Transfers

The same day, the girl traveled to Bogotá with her mother, Olga Lucía Castillo Campos, and during the trip she related what had happened to her on the base.

The girl’s mother, an artisan crafts seller who has been accused of allowing her young daughters to roam the streets until all hours of the night, accused the two Americans in the middle of the street in full view of the public, but was ignored. So, she decided to resort to the authorities on September 8.

But she was not the only one. Once I knew about the violations, I also took the case to the appropriate authorities, said Colonel Luis Ignacio Baron, Commander of Cacom-4. The Colonel preferred to make no other comment.

According to Paola Rueda, a psychologist with the Melgar Child Services Office who evaluated the young girl, even though the formal complaint was delayed, creating some difficulty, the thorough medical examinations left no doubt that there had been sexual relations.

Even though the investigation is incomplete, all signs point to the fact that Sargeant Coen, protected with diplomatic immunity, has left the country. Ruiz is still in Colombia.

For now, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office is not denying that Coen could be requested for extradition in order to explain his participation in this act. According to Colombian law, sexual relations with a minor of less than 14 years is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and the convicted person is not eligible for sentence reduction based on confession of crime.

Since this past Thursday, El TIEMPO has made official investigations into this case with the US Embassy in Bogotá and an official spokesperson issued a denouncement of the act. Even though [El Tiempo] has consistently renewed their efforts, at the close of this edition, they have not yet provided any further commentary or answers.

Other Judicial Proceedings against US Soldiers:

  • Pornographic Videos: Three years ago, pornographic videos starring Melgar teenagers with US soldiers and technicians from the Tolemaida base were discovered. They were selling for 5 US dollars. The young girls had to leave the area.
  • Ammunition Trafficking: In May 2005, the Police arrested a US Sergeant and Technician in the outskirts of Melgar involved in the trafficking of 32,900 cartridges that were apparently intended for the guerrilla.
  • Cocaine Contraband: In May 2005, 5 US soldiers appointed under Plan Colombia, were arrested and accused of sending 16 kilos of cocaine hidden in a military plane, from the Apiay military base in Villavicencio.

El Tiempo (2007-10-07): Investigan a dos militares de E.U. por violación de niña de 12 años en Comando Aéreo de Melgar. Translation by FOR.

And the problem is that you think it’s out there

August 8th, 2006

I mean that there is a relationship between the way that women are raped and your socialization to rape and the war machine that grinds you up and spits you out: the war machine that you go through just like that woman went through Larry Flynt’s meat grinder on the cover of Hustler. You damn well better believe that you’re involved in this tragedy and that it’s your tragedy too. Because you’re turned into little soldier boys from the day that you are born and everything that you learn about how to avoid the humanity of women becomes part of the militarism of the country in which you live and the world in which you live. It is also part of the economy that you frequently claim to protest.

And the problem is that you think it’s out there: and it’s not out there. It’s in you. The pimps and the warmongers speak for you. Rape and war are not so different. And what the pimps and the warmongers do is that they make you so proud of being men who can get it up and give it hard. And they take that acculturated sexuality and they put you in little uniforms and they send you out to kill and die. Now, I am not going to suggest to you that I think that’s more important than what you do to women, because I don’t.

But I think that if you want to look at what this system does to you, then that is where you should start looking: the sexual politics of aggression; the sexual politics of militarism. I think that men are very afraid of other men.

Andrea Dworkin, I Want A Twenty-Four Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape (1983)

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

July 31st, 2006

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb, for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not they hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him, thy son.
Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Wilfred Owen (ca. 1917)

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United States generals had planned a wider bombing of Baghdad.

July 31st, 2006

AUSTRALIA intervened to stop key US military strikes against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, fearing they might constitute a war crime.

Major General Maurie McNarn, then a brigadier and commander of Australian forces in Iraq, on several occasions played a red card against the American plans, which included hits on individuals. His objections drew anger from some senior US military figures.

In one instance, Major General McNarn vetoed a US plan to drop a range of huge non-precision bombs on Baghdad, causing one angry US Air Force general to call the Australian a pencil dick.

However, US military command accepted Major General McNarn’s objection and the US plans were scrapped.

The revelation of how Australia actively and successfully used its veto power in the 2003 invasion of Iraq is contained in a new book on the US-Australian alliance, The Partnership, by The Weekend Australian’s foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.

… The book reveals that Major General McNarn — now the head of the Defence Intelligence Organisation — delivered a great shock to the US when he first used the red card and then put his objections to the proposed US military strike in writing.

Shit, exclaimed one American when he saw the document. What if this leaks? Major General McNarn replied that if the US did not take the illegal action, it would not matter.

As coalition forces prepared plans to take Baghdad, Major General McNarn vetoed three of five proposed US Air Force weapon systems — mostly huge bombs — on the grounds that they were not accurate for a radius of less than 16m and, as a result, were unsuitable for use in a built-up area.

Cameron Stewart, The Australian (2006-07-29): Aussie veto stopped US war crimes