Brazilian Army Snags 2 Of Its Own Sergeants For Rio Gay Pride Shooting

Two Brazilian Army sergeants have been taken into custody in connection with the shooting of Douglas Igor Marques Luiz, the 19-year-old student who survived gunshot wounds to the stomach targeted in Rio De Janerio during the city's insanely well-attended gay pride festivities. Police are set to interrogate the suspects.


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Queerty

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Homophobia Greets Soldier’s Return to Army

AJ X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMA former soldier who was discharged from the military under “don’t ask,
don’t tell” attempted to re-enlist at a recruitment center in Long
Beach, Calif. only to be exposed to an antigay conversation by
recruiters in the office.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Dan Choi Reenlists In the Army

Today Dan Choi went into the Armed Forces recruiting station in Times Square to re-enlist in the Army (the Marines turned him away due to age requirements). The important thing to take away from this is that, despite having a re-entry code on his DD-214 (discharge papers) that would normally bar him from re-enlistment, the recruiters eventually determined that yes, Dan was able to come back. How long he'll be allowed to serve is anyone's guess. I sincerely hope it's for as long as he wants to.

Watching this video, I have no words. I'll just let Dan do his own talking.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Not a flashback: medical doctor who ‘inspired’ torture program gets no-bid $31M Army contract

Yes, that is a present-day headline.

Someone pinch me, are we still living under the Bush administration?

A psychologist whose research was used in constructing the US’s program to torture terrorism suspects has been granted a -million no-bid Army contract to provide “resilience training” to US soldiers.

Mark Benjamin at Salon.com reports that University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman’s research “formed the psychological underpinnings of the Bush administration’s torture program.”

The Army awarded the “sole source” contract in February to the University of Pennsylvania for resilience training, or teaching soldiers to better cope with the psychological strain of multiple combat tours. The university’s Positive Psychology Center, directed by famed psychologist Martin Seligman, is conducting the resilience training.

Army contracting documents show that nobody else was allowed to bid on the resilience-training contract because “there is only one responsible source due to a unique capability provided, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” And yet, Salon was able to identify resilience training experts at other institutions around the country, including the University of Maryland and the Mayo Clinic. In fact, in 2008 the Marine Corps launched a project with UCLA to conduct resilience training for Marines and their families at nine military bases across the United States and in Okinawa, Japan.

In a 2009 article, the New York Times described Seligman’s small but crucial role in the establishment of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on terrorism suspects before the techniques were suspended in 2008.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

WATCH: Joel Burns on ‘The Today Show’

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ “It Gets Better” speech was up to more than 1.5 million views on YouTube as of Monday morning, when Burns was interviewed live on The Today Show by Matt Lauer.

“I remember being shocked, stunned, when it got to 5,000 [views],” Burns told Lauer. “I couldn’t believe it, and it’s just gone from there, so obviously that’s a little overwhelming, but I think it’s indicative of where we are at in society. … I’ve received over 20,000 e-mails so far and I have an entire army of friends helping me cull through those to make sure there is no crisis that is missed, but yes, there are stories from people, kids, who are saying they are contemplating, this week, taking their lives.”

—  John Wright

Army Launches DADT Survey

Army Boots x 390 (Photos.com) | Advocate.comThe Army announced Thursday that it launched an online inbox for soldiers to submit their comments and opinions on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Army Invites Soldiers to Spam Them About Homosexuals

Throughout the month of September, Army personnel will have the opportunity to leave notes in an online inbox where they can share their opinions about Don't Ask Don't Tell, the federal lawmaker-approved policy that forces soldiers to keep secret whether they are dog or cat people. You can try logging on to the inbox here, but unless you've got an Army Knowledge Online login you'll probably be denied. Just like a homosexual in everyday life!


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Army has ‘online inbox’ to collect opinions on DADT

So, apparently the massive survey to the troops — and the follow up survey to spouses isn’t enough. Via press release, the U.S. Army announced that its collecting input on DADT via an online inbox:

The Army launched a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ online inbox today specifically available for Soldiers worldwide to share comments and opinions.

The inbox is accessible via the Army Knowledge Online homepage. The intent of the inbox is to help the Army assess and consider the impacts, if any, a change in ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law would have on operations, readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention, and family readiness.

The press release states there will be “control meausures” to protect privacy, but reminds us that DADT is still the law.

Pam has some key questions:

Absent more details, I have a few questions:

1. What constitutes “control measures” in this case? We just have to take their word for it that it’s secure? I have zero confidence in this inbox system after what occurred with the DADT survey, when a PIN could be used to take it multiple times.

2. What is to stop “ballot stuffing? If it’s completely anonymous and untraceable for security, wtf?

3. If each response is tied to an IP or other identifying information of the workstation, then a service member could be outed. Adding the time stamp of the inbox receipt could narrow ID further.

4. Now that the survey’s data has been compromised, is this the fallback way to receive feedback? Why is this needed to supplement the survey when there’s already one for service members and spouses? How is this going to be a more accurate representation of matters?

The Senate needs to vote on the Defense bill in September. We need to get the compromise DADT repeal legislation passed and implemented. And, DADT has to end. This is beyond ridiculous.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Letter From Mother of an Army Medic Discharged under DADT

Last week, the Pentagon sent out 150,000 surveys to the heterosexual spouses of service members for their opinion on a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. With this family survey now in the field, our friends at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones.

Today’s letter comes from Nancy S. Manzella, the mother of an Army medic who was discharged by DADT after serving openly during a combat tour:

August 24, 2010

Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

CC:
U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain
Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee

Dear General Ham and Mr. Johnson:

My name is Nancy Manzella and I have been a mother for 34 years.  My husband and I live in rural Western New York where we have made our home at a grape vineyard and have raised three wonderful sons.  We now have beautiful daughters-in-law and grandchildren.  We are proud to say that we are the all American family.

I also was a military mom for six years.  Our son, Darren Manzella, served two tours in the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Soldier in the United States Army.  He was promoted to sergeant, was a team leader of a medical squad, and conducted more than 100 12-hour patrols in the streets of Baghdad, treating wounds and evacuating casualties of sniper fire and roadside bombs.

Darren was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, honoring him for treating American and Iraqi troops while under fire.  He saved lives while putting his own in precarious situations by treating gunshot wounds to blast injuries and more.  He was “out there” and our family knew he was in constant danger.

As anyone who is familiar with our military knows, service takes tremendous sacrifices, not only for those who serve, but for their loved ones they leave behind.  Our family was always concerned for Darren’s safety, as all military families are for their sons and daughters in uniform.  We were also concerned for him because he was openly gay while he served his second tour.  We knew that anyone in a war zone was at risk of being harmed at any time, but we also understood that because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Darren was especially vulnerable.  He could be fired, forced out of the Army, and potentially face harassment and abuse.  The stress was incredible.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” not only affects the gay and lesbian service members’ lives, but also throws their loved ones, friends, and all family members’ lives into a stressful nightmare.  We cannot get to them if they need us for support, as they are thousands of miles away.  The ban impacts so many lives adversely.  It causes unbearable stress on everyone concerned, especially with the constant fear that we may slip up, we might inadvertently “out” them even in a simple letter from home.  The “All American Families” who have gay or lesbian service members serving are living with this stress every day.

As parents, this law offends us deeply.  It tells us that our gay and lesbian children who are in uniform and putting their lives on the line every day, saving lives, are not good enough to serve their country.  The law discriminates against family members, forcing fear and anguish into their lives.  Our sons and daughters should be judged on their performance, loyalty to country and bravery, not their sexual orientation.

We need to support all American military families – straight or gay.

Our son was fired under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and I still believe to this day he would willingly serve his country again if this law ended.  I can tell this discharge not only affected his military career, but caused him to question his self-worth.   Under the law it doesn’t seem to matter how good you are at your job; how many lives you save or people you support; or how patriotic and dedicated you might be.  If you happen to be gay or lesbian, this law says you are somehow “less than.”

The Army teaches honor and integrity and holds those values dear.  Despite these values, the Army still isn’t allowed to let our gay and lesbian troops live up to that potential because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Under this law, troops are forced to be dishonest, to put integrity to the side, and to live in the closet – with their families closeted beside them – denying who they are.

They need the opportunity to “Be All That They Can Be.”

I am urging you to support the repeal of this unjust law.  The values that we gave our kids, and the values the Army told Darren they believe, are really the values we should strive for.  But until this law is gone, those values are undermined by unfairness, discrimination and prejudice.  I realize that our country is in the midst of great change having to make many crucial decisions.  I also understand that the Administration has “a lot on their plate” right now.  I’m an American, too, and have many concerns about our country.  But, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal cannot and should not be pushed down the road.

Sincerely,

- Nancy S. Manzella

HRC joins with our allies in the efforts to ensure passage of repeal in the Senate, as we work to muster the critical votes needed to end this discriminatory law. We are proud to join SLDN in the call to acknowledge the sacrifice of those partners and families of service members serving in silence under this failed law.

To join in HRC and SLDN’s joint campaign to garner support for repeal, visit countdown2010.hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

'Don't ask don't tell,' gays in the military and 'Blah, blah, blah'

OK, there’s a lot of discussion about this video clip, supposedly made by some U.S. soldiers stationed overseas, and which some folks are saying is intended to take a stand against the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask don’t tell” policy.

Some folks think it’s brilliant satire. Some folks think it’s downright homophobic. Watch it and tell us what you think:

—  admin