Leahy statement Thursday on Yemen and Saudi Arabia

first_imgMr. LEAHY:  Mr. President, I hope the Saudi royal family was paying attention to yesterday’s debate in the United States Senate.  The bipartisan vote on Senate Joint Resolution 54, introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Chris Murphy, of which I am a cosponsor, was significant for multiple reasons, but most of all for what it says about the potency of the outrage and disgust in this country and in the Congress about the conduct of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince. That outrage has been building over time, as the number of civilian casualties since Saudi Arabia’s intervention and ongoing aerial bombardment of Yemen – one of the world’s poorest countries – has swollen into the thousands.  We have all seen the photographs of the dead and dying, and of children who are just skin and bones.  It is said that 85,000 children already have starved to death.  The United Nations warns that 13 million Yemeni civilians could starve to death by the end of this year, if the war does not end.Of course, the Houthis and their Iranian benefactors share much of the blame for the death and destruction in Yemen.  But we are not supporting them.  Rather, until recently we were providing aerial refueling for the Saudi warplanes, and we continue to provide the Saudis with intelligence and targeting assistance. As if the kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, the blockade of Qatar, the imprisonment of women’s rights activists, and the carnage in Yemen were not enough, the outrage toward the Crown Prince finally boiled over with the horrific, premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a respected journalist, Saudi citizen, and American resident, who had criticized the royal family.   Mr. Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment by Saudi government agents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul triggered an international outcry, and it exposed the depth of depravity of the Saudi royal family.  That an ally of the United States would so brazenly commit such a crime, and then so blatantly attempt to cover it up, speaks volumes. After a string of lies by the Saudi authorities, it is only due to the Turkish government and independent investigative journalists that we know that Mr. Khashoggi was murdered – a crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and many other countries.  In fact, far lesser crimes – even some nonviolent crimes – are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.While we owe thanks to the Turkish government for exposing the facts about Mr. Khashoggi’s case, we cannot ignore that Turkey’s President Erdogan is also responsible for widespread repression, including the arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of journalists, civil servants, and thousands of other critics who have been convicted and locked away after unfair trials.  Torture is rampant in Turkey’s jails, as it is in Saudi Arabia.  We know that multiple Saudi officials, including the Foreign Minister, Minister of Interior, Ambassador to the United States, and others – all members of the royal family – lied to the world, including on international television, repeatedly changing their story about what happened to Mr. Khashoggi.  Perhaps most revealing was how cavalierly and shamelessly they lied, clearly assuming that their lies would be accepted at face value.According to press reports the impulsive Crown Prince, while disclaiming any involvement in or knowledge of the crime, shortly after Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance referred to him as a “dangerous jihadist,” which was also false. The Saudis have yet to say what happened to Khashoggi’s remains, except that they were turned over to a “local collaborator.”  Who and where is that person?  What more are they hiding?Reports indicate that the Saudis sent a team to Istanbul to destroy evidence of the crime, during the very period when the White House and State Department were insisting that the Saudi government deserved more time to determine the facts.  Instead, the Saudis were trying to cover their tracks. There is every reason to believe that the Saudi royal family is still lying about who was involved. We also know that before murdering Mr. Khashoggi, the Saudi government has had a long history of abducting, imprisoning, and executing dissidents and others after sham trials in violation of international law.  In the United States, the media’s attention, for a time, was diverted by President Trump’s racist rants about a so-called migrant “invasion”, his made up claims of voter fraud, his partisan lies about Democrats, his steady stream of vitriolic and divisive rhetoric that has incited others to violence here and abroad, pre-midterm election frenzy, and now its aftermath. I mention this because for the past few weeks, the murder of Mr. Khashoggi had been eclipsed by other headlines.  No longer.  The vote on Senate Joint Resolution 54 is the Senate’s initial answer to the Saudi royal family, and to the Trump Administration. This crime, on top of everything else, was so wicked, so repulsive, that no amount of money, no amount of oil, and no amount of lies can obscure it. The Trump Administration lobbied hard against the Resolution, warning that despite the Saudi royal family’s many transgressions the U.S.-Saudi relationship is too important to risk.  No one is seeking to sever relations with Saudi Arabia.  But far more important is that the United States stands for the truth, for justice, for the laws of war, and that we don’t stand by when top officials of another government, whether ally or adversary, conspire to murder a journalist or dissident and lie about it.As of today, the Saudi authorities continue to ignore appeals to reveal what happened to Khashoggi’s remains.  And after so many lies, they insist that the 18 men under arrest are the only ones involved in Mr. Khashoggi’s murder.  No one who knows anything about the Saudi royal family, which controls the Saudi government with an iron fist, believes that. President Trump, who has been loath to say anything that might implicate the Saudi royal family, at one point said there would be “very severe” consequences if investigations conclude that the Saudis are responsible.  Since then, even as it has become obvious that the Saudis – including the Crown Prince – are responsible, he has said nothing further about what those consequences would be.  To the contrary, he said “maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t,” but either way it doesn’t matter to President Trump.Secretary Pompeo has said that Saudi Arabia has made a “serious commitment” to hold senior leaders and officials accountable for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.  Yet so far, no senior Saudi leader or official has been arrested, and the Saudis appear to have rejected the Turkish government’s demand that the 18 individuals who have been arrested be turned over to face justice where the crime occurred.According to press reports, the conclusion of US intelligence experts is that such a heinous, premeditated crime by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate could not have taken place without the Crown Prince’s knowledge and support.  Does anyone seriously believe otherwise?  Yet yesterday, the CIA Director was barred by the White House from meeting with Senators to answer questions about this.  Knowing what we do about this White House, the inescapable conclusion is that whatever she would have told us would have contradicted the President’s defense of the Saudi government.Despite all the Saudis’ phony denials, the President appears disposed to ignore his own intelligence experts and rely instead on the Saudi royal family to investigate itself.  Why?  To protect billions of dollars in contracts for U.S. weapons purchased by the Saudis for use in Yemen.  The White House has apparently concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will ride out this storm and remain in power for years to come. Journalists the world over face unprecedented dangers.  Those who criticize corrupt, repressive governments do so at great risk to their own safety and the safety of their families.  They are regularly the targets of harassment, threats, and assassination for nothing more than doing their job.  If the Saudi royal family can escape punishment for the premeditated murder of a Washington Post journalist, what does that say to journalists everywhere?  What does it say about the United States, if we are willing to accept that? Yesterday, the vote on Senate Joint Resolution 54 showed that we do not and will not accept it.  If the Saudi royal family hopes to salvage its tattered reputation and relations with the United States, it will need to take far more decisive action to end the mayhem in Yemen and bring to justice all those responsible for murdering Jamal Khashoggi. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) On Senate Joint Resolution 54, On Yemen And Saudi Arabia Congressional Record Thursday, November 29, 2018last_img read more

Men who buy sex have much in common with sexually coercive men

first_imgShare Pinterest Share on Facebook “It’s like she’s not really there.” – Study participant who bought sexMen who buy sex have less empathy for women in prostitution than men who don’t buy sex, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The research, co-authored by UCLA professor Neil Malamuth, also found that men who buy sex are more likely to report having committed rape and other aggressive sexual acts.The study of 101 men in the Boston area who buy sex and 101 men who do not indicates that sex buyers’ perspectives are similar to those of sexually coercive men. Emailcenter_img LinkedIn Share on Twitter “Our findings indicate that men who buy sex share certain key characteristics with men who are at risk for committing sexual aggression,” said Malamuth, a professor of communications studies and psychology. “Both groups tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification. Those who buy sex, on average, have less empathy for women in prostitution and view them as intrinsically different from other women.”In other studies, a lower level of empathy among men has been associated with sexual aggression toward women.Whether prostitution is a job or sexual abuse has long been debated. The new findings support the view that prostitution is more like sexual abuse.“We hope this research will lead to a rejection of the myth that sex buyers are simply sexually frustrated nice guys,” said Melissa Farley, the study’s lead author and executive director of Prostitution Research and Education, a San Francisco-based nonprofit.Had the study found no differences between the views of men who buy sex and those who don’t, it might have given credence to those who advocate legalizing and regulating prostitution, said Farley, an expert on prostitution and human trafficking.“However, given the significant levels of sexually aggressive attitudes and behavior found in sex buyers, a more progressive legal policy would be like that seen in Sweden and Norway, where prostitution is understood as a predatory crime against economically and ethnically marginalized women,” she said. “The Nordic model arrests sex buyers but decriminalizes those in prostitution and provides them with exit services.”One man who bought sex and was interviewed for the study compared the transaction to disposing of a coffee cup after he had finished drinking from it. “When you’re done, you throw it out,” he said.Another said of women in prostitution, “I think a lot of times they feel degraded. I mean, the ones I know have no self-confidence, so they feel less than a person, and more like a commodity.”Malamuth said the study confirmed the predictive ability of many of the risk factors for sexual aggression he has studied for the past 35 years. His Confluence Model characterizes men who are at higher risk for committing sexual aggression. It emphasizes several key risk factors, including antisocial behavior, a preference for impersonal sex, treating sex more as a sport than as part of an intimate relationship, and “hostile masculinity,” which includes traits such as a narcissistic personality, hostility toward women and a desire to have power over women.The men in the study were relatively knowledgeable about coercion and sex trafficking, and about many of the reasons that women entered prostitution.The researchers screened more than 1,200 men to reach two groups of men who were similar in age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The men were guaranteed anonymity and each was interviewed for about two hours. The study was funded by Hunt Alternatives, a private foundation.last_img read more

Obituary: Helene Suydam 1919 – 2020

first_imgHELENE SUYDAM Aug. 3, 2020In the early morning hours of Aug. 3, 2020, Los Alamos lost a revered resident. Helen Suydam passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 100.Helene was born in 1919 to William Herzberg and Arilla Starkey in Philadelphia, PA. Her childhood was spent in Honolulu, San Diego, and the Panama Canal Zone as her father was transferred to different Navy assignments. When she reached high school age, Helene attended St. Margaret’s girl’s boarding school in Virginia, and from there she went to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania for a degree in mathematics. A bout with scarlet fever kept her from finishing a graduate degree at Brown University, but she recovered and took a job at the Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, VA, in 1942. With her mathematical background she worked on projects to determine artillery trajectories and test proximity fuses. She helped develop the Norden bombsight that was used for high altitude bombing in World War II and was the principal sighting instrument used on the Enola Gay.While at Dahlgren, Helene met her future husband, Bergen (Jerry) Suydam, and the two were married in August of 1946. At the Naval Proving Grounds at the same time was Naval Reserve Officer Norris Bradbury, who recruited the young theoretical physicist and his new wife for Los Alamos. They arrived in 1947 and lived for several months in a room in the Big House, a remnant from the Los Alamos Ranch School, until they could move into a house being built in Western Area. In the late ‘50s Helene and Jerry moved into the house on Bathtub Row that had been occupied by Robert Oppenheimer during the Manhattan Project. When property was offered by the government for private ownership, the Suydams bought the Oppenheimer House. At the time of her death, Helene had lived there for 63 years.Helene hosted many visitors and dignitaries through the years—authors, Nobel laureates, celebrities, artists, and LANL directors—and she understood the sense of awe they all felt upon stepping into her famous living room. She and her husband appreciated the remarkable history of Los Alamos, and that appreciation motivated them to donate the Oppenheimer House to the Los Alamos Historical Society through a living trust agreement that allowed them to live in the house as long as they could. This donation will long be appreciated by a grateful community and visitors from all over the world.Helene enjoyed hiking, participation in the Investment Club and her Bridge Club, serving as a docent and supporter of the Los Alamos Historical Society and the Palace of Governors, as well as volunteering for tax assistance at the Senior Center. She was an avid traveler and had visited Europe, Mexico, and Greenland.Helene was predeceased by her husband, Jerry; her sister, Ruth Ashton; and nephew Daingerfield Ashton Jr. She was a beloved aunt to Sarah Hooe Ashton of Charleston, SC; great aunt to Rebekah (Bobby Moss) Ashton of Seattle, WA, and Rachel Ashton (John Watson); and great great aunt to Suzanna and Ava Moss, Johanna and Amelia Meana, and Ashton Watson.last_img read more

Aspen launches latest trailer

first_imgThe M5500-8 features a flush deck measuring 26 ft (8 m), swing-out outriggers and a rear frame suitable for a fourth flip axle.”The new Aspen M5500-8 commercial trailer offers a 116 inch (2.9 m) gooseneck swing, meaning you can get under the trailer with your four-axle tractor without being punished by the extra weight and hassle of flipping an extension” explained John Zork, Aspen’s vice president.Aspen says the hydraulic removable gooseneck lowbed, which has a payload of 55 tons (50 tonnes), can be customised, options include bolted load bearing wheel covers, a hydraulic third axle, a fourth flip axle module and a single axle booste. www.aspentrailer.comlast_img read more