Sixteen Dead, Nameless “Lone Gunman,” We Have Heard It All Before
The village is Balandi, outside Kandahar in Afghanistan. Thus far the dead are 16, shot in their homes, not just said to be “women and children” but actually infants murdered in their mother’s arms and set afire.
The US claims the perpetrator to be an unnamed “Army Staff Sergeant who has turned himself in.” There are inconsistencies.
Tuesday Morning Update:
According to live accounts and eye witnesses multiple weapon sounds were heard, including pistols and machine gun bursts simultaneously. The houses attacked are at least 2 miles apart and it becomes literally impossible for a single gunman to kill and burn people in one house and then run few kilometers to do the same thing again twice.By Tabish Qayyum – Editor Fortress Magazine
Late Monday update from ABC news: As VT predicted the ‘lone gunman’ story is being flushed out with with ‘past history’ material of brain injury and marital problem rising quickly to the surface.
But no word yet as to how someone could exit an important base like this not noticed by American base security, but as has been reported, noticed by Afghan forces who contacted their NATO counterparts, but did not send a warning to the village.
Left out of today’s ABC news is anything about how a jerrycan of gasoline could have been carried the mile to the village (and why) or a response to the Reuters report of witnesses describing multiple attackers.
ABC has the details of the ‘lone gunman’ having night vision goggles…apparently reporting only what they are being told, which obviously would fit the initial story…but no information about anything that does not fit.
An official told ABC News that the soldier has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past, either from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident. He went through the advanced TBI treatment at Fort Lewis and was deemed to be fine.
He also underwent mental health screening necessary to become a sniper and passed in 2008. He had routine behavioral health screening after that and was cleared, the official said.
This is the report from Reuters today:
Afghan officials also gave varying accounts of the number of shooters involved. Karzai’s office released a statement quoting a villager as saying “American soldiers woke my family up and shot them in the face.”
“They (Americans) poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them,” Samad told Reuters at the scene.
Neighbors said they had awoken to crackling gunfire from American soldiers, who they described as laughing and drunk.
“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” said neighbor Agha Lala, who visited one of the homes where killings took place.
“Their (the victims’) bodies were riddled with bullets.”
[Editors Note: It never made any sense that a village would let one guy do something like this. After all this is Afghanistan, where babies are born already knowing how to shoot.]
The village is outside the gate of an American base. A single soldier without a vehicle would have had to evade security and tunnel under the wire and walls to reach the village or, much more likely, this was more than one man?
This is how CNN has it as for the morning of the 12th. Story embellishment, as you will note involves a “bed count” and a “search patrol.” I believe the next story will include rocket flares and bloodhounds. We will wait for this one.
To impart credit to the Army, their belated response is much more creative but as full of holes as a sieve. A minor thing to add here, of course, is that a Staff Sergeant, as the perpetrator or suspect, whichever you choose, “patsy” if you will, is a Staff Sergeant, rank E 6. At 3:AM, those of such rank typically do not “stand watch” on towers or in bunkers.
Then, of course, we will return to the forgotten jerrycan, taken off the nonexistent vehicle to burn the bodies of the dead. I did, however, feel a need to get this response added in so that readers in the Western Hemisphere would be better informed.
Another minor error in the report below, noted in our earlier evaluation and reiterated here, above that text, is the nature of the armed response team.
They “came a runnin” based on someone missing from a bed rather than from gunfire, screams and flaming bodies a short distance away.
As is so easily noted, as one begins lying, one lie ties to another, one absurdity to another and, in the end, it is always a “malcontent” and “lone gunman.”
By now we would have seen a list of anti psychotic medications but “legal” was already informed by pharmaceutical companies that there is already a rash of murder/suicides for those on medications the military and Department of Veterans Affairs has prescribed for those suffering from combat stress ( or misdiagnosed as suffering from “personality disorders” or “pre-existing trauma”).
In order to leave the many “blameless,” this will have to be a singular occurrence of magical proportions, no pre-indications, no signs of any kind, no diagnosis and medical records entering shredders, being wiped from hard drives, flaming in trash cans as we speak. But for how many, one or four or perhaps more? CNN:
“We call this an intentional act,” Karzai said. He said the dead included four men, three women and nine children, calling the killings “acts of terror and unforgivable.” Another five people were wounded, he said.
Capt. Justin Brockhoff, an ISAF spokesman, said the wounded Afghans were being treated in ISAF facilities. The allied command did not give its own estimate of casualties.
Brockhoff said officials do not yet have a motive for the shooting, which is under investigation by both NATO and Afghan officials. And Maj. Jason Waggoner, another ISAF spokesman, said the soldier “was acting on his own.”
There were no military operations in the area, either on the ground or in the air, at the time, according to two senior ISAF officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. They said only one soldier, an Army staff sergeant, is believed to have been involved.
A U.S. military official told CNN later Sunday that the suspect is from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The official said the soldier is assigned to a Special Forces unit.
A third ISAF official said Afghan troops spotted the soldier leaving his combat outpost around 3 a.m. Sunday and notified their American counterparts. The U.S. military did an immediate headcount, found the soldier was missing and dispatched a patrol to go look for him, the official said.
The officials said they have no knowledge at this point whether he had any previous medical or mental health issues in his record.
The patrol met him as he returned and took him into custody. He said nothing, and it was unclear whether they knew what had happened, the official said.
“We don’t know what motivated this individual, and we’re not sure where this is going to take us,” Capt. John Kirby, an ISAF spokesman, told CNN. But he said ISAF’s commander, Gen. John Allen, “has made it clear this investigation is going to be thorough. It’s going to be done rapidly, in an expeditious way, and we’re going to hold the perpetrator of these attacks to account.”
Why? Only a vehicle with more than one man, one that could claim it had been tasked with some sort of “rendition” or “search and destroy” mission could have been allowed out by security.
Otherwise, it would have been identified as a criminal operation or, more unlikely, a single individual, driving into what the Army told the Associate Press was “a Taliban infested area” on a private mission of “passion and lust.”
I think that highly unlikely.
Thus, this is what we can safely assume:
- More than one American was involved as no single soldier would have been allowed outside the compound, heavily armed with a vehicle.
- Gate security received authorization for the “mission” from the watch officer at the “Combat Operations Center” at the base, the 24 hour nerve center than coordinates both offensive and defensive missions for even the smallest commands.
- No “reaction force” was sent to investigate though this was right outside the gates. Radio contact would have been attempted, and there would be recorded records of this and all other activities, as required by normal procedures.
Again, we repeat, authorization at the gate, obviously more than one person, a vehicle, radio communications, gunfire overheard, all things that make the story we have received not just unlikely but childish, superficial and an obvious lie to anyone with experience in the military, something 30 million Americans have.
Then, so recent in our minds, is the supposed killing of Osama bin Laden, the contradictory stories, the convenient death of those involved, and, of course, the singular similarity between both operations. Don’t Americans’ throw Muslim dead into the sea?
As this act was so criminal and barbaric in nature, the murder of small children, setting bodies on fire and the reports of multiple soldiers involved, we are beset with questions.
The fire is proof, started with gasoline from a jerrycan. Vehicle means gate which means vehicle which means team which means radios and authorized operation.
It isn’t just that we have so many exhausted soldiers suffering from PTSD in Afghanistan, this isn’t the problem. As in Vietnam, such troops more often turn on their officers and senior NCOs, not local women and children, at least with one exception, My Lai, and that was under direct military command from Captain Ernest Medina.
Who commanded this fiasco?
HOLY WARRIORS OR HELLISH GHOULS?
Next we can ask, what kind of person does this? That I can clearly answer, this is the act of someone with strong religious and political beliefs. Years ago, initially Pentecostal and then broader Dominionist/Dispensationalist theologies under the broader term of “Christian Evangelism” has been behind the atrocities.
Some are tied to doomsday cults, others toward “racial cleansing” and more fall under the influence of politicians.
Those currently are Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Previously, they were the entire Bush administration, which used communist “brainwashing” techniques on troops to encourage them to torture and kill as part of their patriotic and religious duty.
These messages were instilled during training and continually reinforced through televised psyop sessions on the Armed Forces Network and Pentagon Channel.
Such rhetoric has largely disappeared during the Obama administration with the exception of that which is normally part of the daily broadcasts on Fox News with its extremist pundits.
Their message, of the threat of Islam with its high birthrate, stresses extremist methods. Our “churchgoers” and “conservatives” are taught Islam, even small children, are the “enemy of our blood,” as though we all carried a Torah in our pockets.
Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an Israeli citizen tied to the ultra-nationalist Likudist party. Murdoch and his publications have been under attack in the US and Britain for wiretapping, bribery and blackmail.
This incident, in many ways, reminds me of the “accidental killing” of former footballer Pat Tillman. Tillman, whose activities prior to his death began to show signs of antiwar activism, was accidentally shot by fellow soldiers 4 times in the forehead while the military claimed his death was the result, initially at least, enemy action.
From the film, Full Metal Jacket:
No individual has been punished though it is believed the order for the Tillman slaying originated in the White House.
I don’t believe the same of this incident but these things are clear:
- The base involved specialized in “Black Ops”…often late night attacks on homes searching for “Taliban suspects.” Such attacks had been cited repeatedly for bad intelligence, civilian casualties and total incompetence. The command involved in this action is one of the commands cited.
- The burned corpses were an attempt to destroy evidence of an authorized operation probably compromised.
- Less likely is that this was a planned “revenge attack” based on the belief that someone within this village had been supplying information to the Taliban that led to the death or injury of one or more Americans. Such attacks are so common that they have happened hundreds of times, often brought on by rumors, stress, anti-psychotic medications and, of course, propaganda.
- Every word the Army has issued is false.
- Every imaginable effort is now being made to “prove” this to be a “disgruntled lone gunman” who “ex-filtrated” the base and had been showing signs of “Lee Harvey Oswald” syndrome.
- Failure to sell this cover story, and by selling we mean paying millions in bribes, will put US involvement in Afghanistan at an immediate end.
SHAME RUBS OFF
Well over 40 years ago, I was a Marine serving in Vietnam. During part of that time, I was required to enter homes, their inhabitants frightened out of their wits, concerned for the lives of their children, while looking for “rice” or weapons.
When we would find weapons, we were also presented documentation that authorized the weapons as part of civilian defense forces.
I saw my first Browning Automatic Rifle during one such search, an ancient weapon from the First World War, but one of curious beauty. Today, such a weapon would cost as much as an automobile.
We were told it was our job to gain the trust of the civilian population and not think of them as “gooks” to be slaughtered. Vietnam was a slaughter, a hundred times more devastating than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Because of My Lai and the hundreds of women and children who died there at the hands of the Army’s Americal Division, all Vietnam veterans have worn the stain of “baby killer” these long decades.
We were told we were there to protect civilians. We were told thousands had been slaughtered.
In Afghanistan, troops trained for years, paid ten times what we were, well fed, oversupplied, by our standards “pampered” are continually committing such acts in a war with little combat and few casualties.
As with Vietnam, an honest assessment is that we are on the wrong side.
It always seems to be that way now, as warned of by Marine General and Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler.
“I was a gangster for Wall Street.”
The military today, 500,000 of them “broken” veterans, and those serving are the children of our Vietnam generation, some quite literally.
I have one friend who cares for a brain injured child, a veteran of Afghanistan, a task that takes up his life.
What do we learn? The dependence on our volunteer army and over-dependence on “special operations” or “tier one” troops has helped dehumanize our military even more.
War is bad enough as it is.
WHEN “SPECIAL” ISN’T ALL IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE
A good friend, retired Special Forces flag officer, related a meeting he had last year. He was hiking outside an American base in the Southwest when he came upon several younger Special Forces troops. Though retired and outranking them by extreme measure, he found their demeanor both threatening and unbalanced.
This went far beyond disrespectful. Identified as Special Forces who had served in Thailand at one time, my friend, who had also been in Thailand, answered in Thai and they answered back.
Then…they began to move, believing themselves “predators.” I laugh thinking about this.
He told me that he gave consideration to the Smith and Wesson Model 28 .357 magnum revolver he carried with him on such walks, as is the habit in those regions.
That they may well have been considering ambushing someone who had been an A Team leader in Vietnam nearly two decades before they were born, and were underestimating someone who would have left them with stomach wounds in 3 seconds while he very slowly dialed for emergency services, I now wonder if their survival of this encounter was a good thing.
Personally, when a top intel officer tells me he has met a group of criminal psychopaths, I take it seriously.
When I have to relive, not just the undeserved shame of Vietnam but the unending tragedy and insanity of our current wars, 31,000 discharged wrongly as “unfit,” a similar number of military and veteran suicides, many murders of family members and a path of torture and murder across the Middle East…
Then there is the unasked question, how 97% of the world’s heroin supply is flown out of American held territory, tacitly with the approval of Richard Holbrooke and now, who approves, who cashes the checks, who loads the planes? By these standards, my friend and I were rank amateurs at war it seems.
He was trained, as was I, in working with the local population, earning their trust and, in doing so, winning, not just the “hearts and minds” but the war as well. This was and supposedly is the heart of special operations, not killing children, urinating on the dead or burning holy books.
DON’T LET MARINES COME HOME!
It is said that Eleanor Roosevelt was concerned about Marines returning from World War II combat in the Pacific.
Such brutality was needed to defeat the fearless Japanese that troops who had been there, who had faced that enemy, were thought to be a danger to society.
Her statements at that time, if she actually made them, were deeply scorned by most Americans.
Today’s incident is not one American. It might be 3 or it might be 8 but it certainly isn’t one. We don’t know what happened and, one thing for sure, we never will.
The Army lies.
How do we restore the respect for life we seem to have bled out of so many of our young? Do we duct tape Newt Gingrich? Do we close our heretical “churches?”
Do we silence the Fox Network and the thousands who have become addicted to their hate and prejudice?
Do we scour Washington clean of this stain, rooting the sociopaths from our military, our courts, our congress, our police, or even further?Who do we blame? Do we start with ourselves?
Editing: Jim W. Dean