For Immediate Release
October 23, 2012
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipina Women Outraged by US Servicemen Gang Rape in Okinawa
It’s an all too familiar tale of yet another woman falling victim to US militarization. On October 16, 2012 in Okinawa, Able Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning (23) and Third Petty Officer Skyler Andrew Dozierwalker (23), from Fort Worth Naval Air base in Texas, have been accused of attacking a woman on her way home and raped her outside between 3:35am and 4:20am after a night of drinking. Dozierwalker admits to the crime but Browning has denied it stating, “the reason of arrest is not difference from fact”. The victim suffered injuries to her neck during the assault.
The US military base on the island of Okinawa houses half of the 47,000 US troops in Japan, where there is mounting anger at the growing military presence especially since this isn’t the first rape to occur by US servicemen in the area. In 1995, a 12 year old girl was also gang raped, which sparked mass protests resulting in a bilateral agreement to reduce the huge U.S. military presence there. The US government sees the island as a vital strategic base to contain China and North Korea.
As closed door “secret” negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) dubbed “NAFTA on steroids” continue to ensure America’s footing in the Asia Pacific region, US military presence in the region continues to grow, including the Philippines. Increased militarization means an increase in human rights violations and violence against women.
GABRIELA USA is outraged by the tragedy and demands that an immediate investigation of the gang rape be conducted and the two accused US Servicemen be brought to trial. We have seen all too often the US military get away with these crimes under various bilateral agreements, like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the US and the Philippine governments. The VFA hampers the Philippine government from punishing US servicemen for crimes they’ve committed in the country, leaving these heinous cases at the hands of the US military.
We are reminded of the Nicole rape case in Subic Bay Naval Base on the evening of Nov. 1, 2005, where the two US servicemen in question were accused and for the first time in Philippine history, found guilty by Philippine judicial system, only to have the decision overturned by the US government just one year later due to a loophole found in the Visiting Forces Agreement.
It is clear that the US government has no regard for the crimes committed against humanity, and will go to any length to maintain its military and political stronghold in the world, and protect the interests of the ruling elite. GABRIELA USA stands with the people of Okinawa to remove all US bases on the island and around the world, and to seek justice for gang rape of the young woman.
JUNK THE VISTING FORCES AGREEMENT!
US MILITARY BASES OUT!
NO TO US MILITARIZATION!
NO TO THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT