Saturday, January 12, 2008

Marine Maria Lauterbach's corpse believed to have been found

A body believed to be that of a missing, eight-months pregnant Marine was found Friday buried in the North Carolina backyard of a man she had accused of rape, authorities said.
Detectives were tipped off to the shallow grave by a note in which the suspect insisted the woman killed herself, a source close to the case said.
After some digging in a fire pit in the yard of Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, detectives found what "appeared to be burnt human remains," said Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson.
"We think we have found ... the skeletal remains of Maria Lauterbach," Hudson said.

The above is from Leo Standora's "Body likely to be pregnant Marine's is found buried in rape suspect's yard" (New York Daily News). The article goes on to say that the suspected killer sent a letter to his wife claiming Maria had killed herself and he had 'only' buried her body but the crime scene indicates murder. Maria Lauterbach was pregnant when she went missing (eight months has been reported but the article excerpted above says she was due in February). Ceasar Armando Lauren is the suspect, as noted Friday by Ed Brown, the sherriff of Onslow County and she had accused him of assault (rape, according to Standora's article). She made the charges in April of last year and they were supposed to be heard before she went missing. You can see Thursday's snapshot and Friday's snapshot for more.

A number of visitors have e-mailed to note this claim or that claim (all reported) about Maria Lauterbach. She's dead. That was obvious on Thursday if you watched the press conference (link should be in Thursday's snapshot). She can't speak for herself and I'm not interested in seeing her dragged through the mud. Her mother or her step-mother may have said some unkind things about her, I don't know. The way those things read, it was speculative. If said, the statmenets were made when she went missing in December and there are things we say out of frustration. If the family makes any statements post-discovery of the corpse, we may or may not note them.

One of the most persistent visitors has put together a theory -- based on speculative reporting -- that argues basically that Maria Lauterbach was in love with Ceasar Armando Lauren, who was married, couldn't have him and killed herself to see him blamed. I saw that film too, it was called Fatal Attraction.

He argues that because if she was pregnant and "really raped," how could she keep the baby? I am firmly pro-choice but some people aren't. Nor have I seen anything that has stated on the record -- in a non-speculative manner -- that he would have been the father of the child. I think we're all assuming that. He may or may not have been.

She's dead and, before she was, she had brought charges of a sexual assault. In April. Why were they waiting until December to hold a hearing? They would be the military. That's a question that interests me far more than who the father would have been.

She lived, as reported, in off base (Camp Lejune) military facility. But she was still in the proximity of the man she had at least accused of assault (rape is introduced in today's round of reports) and, as reported, for coming forward last year, she was being harassed by some she was serving with. Why did the military drag it's feet?

If someone charges assault (the press is now saying the assault was rape), how do you go eight months without a hearing? This is the military which has a long record before the Iraq War of sweeping sexual harassment, sexual assault, command rape and rape under the carpet. That's what I'm more interested in, the long delay and the fact that she was being harassed for filing charges while the military appears to have done nothing.

For all any of us know, the visitor e-mailing his Fatal Attraction scenario may be correct. It really doesn't matter in terms of the fact that the military had a report of assault and appears to have made no effort to resolve it. If you're one of the visitors haunting the public e-mail account with your doubts about the woman, you should agree that the miltary should have moved quickly to resolve it because you're all convinced of the man's innocence. If the man is innocent, it did no good for him to have false charges standing against him for months and months.

I don't know what happened in this case but I do know it should have been resolved quickly and I do know that the military has a long history of ignoring assaults. On women and on men. In fact, it appears the only time they move quickly is if the assault is done by a gay male. If it's done to a gay male, they drag their feet. But if you were paying attention in the summer of 2006, you saw how quickly they moved to go after a man who appears to have spied on the sleeping bodies of his male colleagues. That man was immediately isolated, his victims were immediately provided counseling. But when it's a gay man who is assaulted -- or a man who's assaulted by other men because they suspect he's gay -- the military does the same thing it does with the women who are assaulted, drags its feet.

The New York Times has no story on the above today which I find especially interesting since a friend with the paper was trying to get a link to their blog posts which -- then wrongly -- stated the corpse had been discovered. They did at least two blog entries yesterday afternoon but they've got no report on it in the paper. (We don't link to the paper's blogs here because they don't feel the need to do corrections. Everyone will remember the false claims made about Watada and how the paper not only refused to correct it, they refused to give the go -- in 'moderation' of comments -- to anyone who pointed out the serious error in that blog post.)

The paper also has no report on Iraq. I'd assumed if nothing else, they'd offer the feel-good story on "Snow in Baghdad!" They don't.

In contrast, Warren P. Strobel "New Baghdad embassy's fire-fighting system is defective" (McClatchy Newspapers) offers real news:

The fire-fighting system in the mammoth new $740 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is defective, according to documents obtained by McClatchy and U.S. officials, who said that their concerns were ignored or overruled in a rush to declare the complex completed.
"As far as I know, nothing's been fixed," said one State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation for speaking to the news media. "The lives of the people who are working in that building are going to be at stake" if the complex doesn't meet building codes, he said.
The 104-acre embassy complex, which has been hit at least once by mortar fire, will house more than 1,000 U.S. diplomats, coalition military officials and associated personnel. U.S. diplomats in Iraq are still headquartered in a former palace of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Green Zone and haven't moved into the new embassy complex.
Last month, 19 days before he retired, State Department buildings chief Charles E. Williams certified key elements of the embassy's fire-fighting system as ready for operation, according to the documents McClatchy obtained.

Strobel was one of the guests for the roundtable on the second hour of yesterday's The Diane Rehm Show, just FYI.

Today, the US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force - West died Jan. 11 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar province."

The New York Times does offer Dan Frosch's "3 Buddies Home From Iraq Are Charged With Murdering a 4th." Actually, two of the three are charged with the killing of two former service members. Kevin Shields was discovered murdered on December 1st. Bruce Bastien Jr. has come forward and said that Louis Bressler shot Kevin dead in cold blood (possibly because he feared Kevin Shields would out the three on their "the robbery plans" they were plotting) and Bressler is also accused of being the one who shot Robert James dead on August 4th. Frosch reports:

At a court hearing in the Shields case on Tuesday, Mr. Bressler and Mr. [Kenneth] Eastridge, both strikingly youthful, fidgeted nervously with their shackles, their eyes darting around the courtroom, their lips flashing an occassional grin to the gallery.

Their lips flashing an occassional grin to the gallery while they stand trial for murder? Bressler's attorney maintains his client is being framed. Bastien has also told the military "that he knows that an Iraqi civilian was struck on at least one occassion" while the men were all serving in Iraq by Kenneth Eastridge whom he "accused . . . of firing without provocation on Iraqi civilians while on patrol in Baghdad, using stolen AK-47s."

Juan Gonzalez is the co-shot of Democracy Now! and Micah highlights his "I smell Barack Obama baloney" (New York Daily News):

There was Sen. Barack Obama the other night, surrounded by his legions of young supporters, proclaiming the Iowa primary a "defining moment in history."
Maybe I'm getting old, or have watched too many silver-tongued politicians promise heaven on Earth only to shatter our hopes, but count me a doubter of the Obama revolution.
Anyone who delves past his soaring speeches and mesmerizing gaze and follows the money trail will find plenty to question.
The Democratic candidate of "change," for example, has raised nearly $100 million in campaign contributions, nearly as much as the Hillary Clinton money machine. Three of his four largest group of bankrollers are executives of Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Chase.
What kind of change is that?
Among his other top contributors are executives of Exelon Corp., the largest nuclear power operator in the nation. In 2005, Obama talked in a Senate hearing of leaving "on the table" the building of new nuclear power plants - the kind of change that has Exelon ecstatic.
There is much to admire in the Obama campaign, but his attempt to be both champion to the downtrodden and cultivator of corporate titans is not one of them.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
and Ruth's Ruth's Report

Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

Usually, when we note Margaret Kimberley in a snapshot during the week (her latest column), we don't note it on Saturday. Cheryl wanted to be sure everyone saw this section of Kimberley's "Obama’s Hollow Victory" (Black Agenda Report):

Most black Americans will be happy, some overjoyed, to see a black man in the Oval Office. That joy will exist despite the fact that Obama has denied that racism is still a factor in public policy issues. In his speech at the Democratic convention in 2004 he stated, "There is no black America." No one should have been surprised when Obama had to be prodded before he said anything about the Jena 6, or claimed that, "The ineptitude was colorblind," in the response to Hurricane Katrina.
The media have already begun making fantastic claims attributing the backhanded treatment to his multi-racial heritage. Those ridiculous assertions must be dismissed out of hand. There is a lot less to Obama than meets the eye. He is little more than a very slick and very savvy politician. He knows how to impress and please powerful people, and speaking up for black Americans accomplishes neither one of those things.

Obama has masterfully out maneuvered the amateurish Hillary Clinton. She isn't smart enough to know that she should at least attempt to give Democratic voters a little bit of lip service. While she voted in favor of a senate resolution against the Iranian government, Obama stayed on the campaign trail and conveniently missed the vote. In fact he is just as willing to go war as she is. He says his first act as president will be to bring the troops home from Iraq, but anyone who bothers to look at the fine print knows that the promise is hollow:
"I will give them a new assignment and that is to bring our troops home in a careful, responsible way [emphasis mine], but to end this occupation in Iraq. I will call in my Secretary of State and initiate the diplomacy that's needed to make sure that exit is accompanied by negotiations between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds."
"Careful" and "responsible" are code words for maintaining the status quo and negotiations can go on forever. President Obama will not be bringing troops home, but he knows that mouthing anti-war sentiments will bring in votes from Democrats tired of being dismissed by party leaders.
The prospect of an Obama presidency already has already taken on a sickening familiarity. When Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice the mantra of denial went something like this, "Just wait until he gets in there. He has a job for life and he'll do what he wants." Thomas certainly has done what he wants and he wants nothing more than to vote exactly the way Antonin Scalia does.

Saturday's generally been the day for Kimberley. That was true when she was with The Black Commentator and true now that she, Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon have formed Black Agenda Report. If her latest goes into a snapshot during the week and you see something we didn't note in the snapshot (which doesn't really have the room for lengthy excerpts most of the time) or something you want emphasized again, just say so like Cheryl did.

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