Archive for US army

Greater Islamophobia Alert: US Soldier Goes on Rampage, Murders 16 Afghan Civilians

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Why_do_they_hate_us_Muslims

We are told that in Afghanistan they only get upset when the occupying forces “burn Korans.” The protests, we are told, have nothing to do with the bombing and murdering of innocent civilians, you know the Greater Islamophobia.

Now we have one more instance of a soldier liquidating the lives of innocent Muslim civilians in a clearly premeditated fashion. How much do you want to bet he gets off scott free or with a suspended sentence like the last guy?

Afghans killed in rampage by US soldier

(AlJazeera English)

Sixteen Afghan civilains including three women and nine children have been shot dead in their homes by a rogue US soldier in a pre-dawn rampage.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the slaughter on Sunday as “unforgivable” and furiously demanded an explanation from Washington.

“When Afghan people are killed deliberately by US forces this action is murder and terror and an unforgivable action,” Karzai said in statement.

Senior US officials were scrambling to determine what caused the soldier to go on a shooting spree after leaving his base in southern Afghanistan, apparently heavily-armed and carrying night-vision equipment.

Officials confirmed that the soldier was being detained in Kandahar and that the military was treating at least five wounded.

One US official said the soldier, an Army staff sergeant, was believed to have acted alone and that initial reports indicated he returned to the base after the shooting and turned himself in.

Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, issued a statement pledging a “rapid and thorough investigation” into the shooting spree, and said the soldier will remain in US custody.

The US embassy in Kabul sent out an alert to its citizens in Afghanistan warning that as a result of the shooting “there is a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days”.

An AFP news agency reporter at the scene of the killings counted the bodies of 16 people. In one house, an elderly woman screamed: “May God kill the only son of Karzai, so he feels what we feel.”

The shootings come at a particularly sensitive and critical time for the US, just as violence over the burning of Muslim holy books at a US base was starting to calm down. At least 41 people were killed in the violence.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Herat, said the soldier entered three houses near the base and opened fire on civilians.

“We are now being told by the police sources that the US soldier left his base at three o clock this morning. It would have been pitch-black wherever he walked,” he said.

“The soldier went through three separate houses, shooting at people as they slept in their beds. After the soldier shot these people, he turned himself in.”

“It is frankly disastrous. It is not just a disaster for the people who were murdered and killed in their houses, it is disaster for the country I suspect,” our correspondent said.

Najeeb Azizi, a Kabul-based Afghan analyst, said the shooting will have deep repercussions on the already tenuous relations with the US.

“It is a very tragic incident in particular because the Afghan and US governments are trying to sign a strategic agreement for a long term,” he said.

“A very bad message the Afghan people are getting – that if US military remains in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and their attitude and behaviour remains the same – of killing innocent civilians- what will be the consequences, and how will the Afghan people respond to it.”

Michael Wagnon: Army Drops Charges Against Last Soldier in Afghan Murder Case

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by loonwatch

This speaks for itself (h/t: JD):

Army drops charges against last soldier in Afghan murder case

By Laura L. Myers | Reuters

SEATTLE (Reuters) – The U.S. Army has dismissed all charges against the last of five soldiers to face a court-martial in the slaying of unarmed Afghan civilians, officials from their home base near Tacoma, Washington, said on Friday.

Army Specialist Michael Wagnon, who was released from military detention and placed under home confinement in April, had been charged with premeditated murder in the death of a villager in Afghanistan during a tour of duty in February 2010.

“As of right now, he’s pretty much a free man,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gary Dangerfield, a spokesman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “He is still in the Army but a free man.”

The dismissal of the case against Wagnon, 31, brought to an abrupt end the Army’s prosecution of the most egregious atrocities that U.S. military personnel have been convicted of committing during a decade of war in Afghanistan.

Wagnon’s initial reaction to news of the dismissal was stunned disbelief, his defense attorney Colby Vokey told Reuters late on Friday. He then became “ecstatic” and “really relieved.”

Vokey, based in Dallas, called the dismissal “fantastic news.” He said the “Army did the right thing. We maintained all along his innocence and the government said it was the right thing to do.”

Five members of the infantry unit formerly known as the 5th Stryker Brigade were charged with killing Afghan civilians in cold blood in random attacks staged to look like legitimate combat engagements. Seven other GIs were charged with lesser offenses in a case that began as an investigation into rampant hashish abuse within the unit.

Pentagon officials have said that misconduct exposed by the case had damaged the image of the United States abroad.

Photographs entered as evidence showed the accused ringleader of the group, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, and other soldiers casually posing with bloodied Afghan corpses, drawing comparisons to the to the inflammatory Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq in 2004.

Gibbs was convicted by court-martial in November of murdering three unarmed civilians, drawing an automatic life prison sentence, but he will be eligible for parole in 8 1/2 years.

His chief accuser and onetime right-hand man, Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, was sentenced in March of last year to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to the same three murders. As part of his plea deal, Morlock had agreed to testify against the remaining witnesses, including Wagnon.

A third soldier charged with murder, Adam Winfield, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison. A fourth, Andrew Holmes, was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to a single count of murder.

Wagnon was the last to face court-martial.

Dangerfield would not say why the charges were dropped, and a statement from the base said only that the move was “in the interest of justice.”

The dismissal of charges comes less than two weeks after a U.S. Marine sergeant accused of leading a 2005 massacre of 24 civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha pleaded guilty to one count of dereliction of duty. As part of his plea deal, the Marine, Frank Wuterich he was spared jail time and instead faces a maximum penalty of demotion to the rank of private.

Wuterich initially was charged with murder in connection with the Haditha killings. Six of the seven other Marines originally accused in that case previously had their charges dismissed by military judges, while another was cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

(Additional reporting and writing by Mary Slosson; Editing by Steve Gorman, Peter Bohan and Tim Gaynor)

US and Afghan Soldiers Allegedly Forced Afghans onto Mined Roads

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Afghans Allegedly Forced Onto Mined Roads

(NPR)

Villagers from a violent part of southern Afghanistan say that Afghan troops, along with several American mentors, forced civilians to march ahead of soldiers on roads where the Taliban were believed to have planted bombs and landmines.

No one was hurt. But if the allegations are true, the act would appear to violate the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of civilians. The episode also raises questions about how civilians are caught between the two sides in the war.

The Afghan general in charge of Afghan troops in the Panjwai district, southwest of Kandahar, vehemently denied that any such incident took place. Panjwai’s district governor also denied it. Meanwhile, a spokesman for NATO’s joint command said the incident is under investigation.

Villagers’ Accounts Of Forced March

The Panjwai district was a Taliban fortress for years, until the U.S. troop surge in 2010 began to displace the insurgents. At first, the violence spiked, as U.S. and Afghan troops brought the front line through Panjwai and other districts outside Kandahar.

Now, for the first time in several years, the 20-minute drive out to Panjwai is safe enough for regular traffic. But that doesn’t mean the Taliban are gone.

These days, the Taliban fight with roadside bombs and suicide bombers, says Faizal Mahmud, the deputy head of Panjwai’s council of elders. His constituents tell him they feel caught between the insurgents and Afghan government forces with their American allies. Last month that went to extremes, Mahmud told NPR in an interview.

Mahmud said scores of villagers came to the district meeting hall in Panjwai to complain last month. Along with their village elders, people from the hamlets of Zangabad, Talukan and Mushan all told a similar story. They said Afghan troops, accompanied by American soldiers, pulled them out of their homes one evening in early September.

Mahmud said the soldiers detained a group of villagers, lined them up and forced them to walk in front of the soldiers for over a mile, through areas believed to be mined by the Taliban. Mahmud’s story was corroborated by local residents, including a truck driver from Talukan who goes by one name, Hamidullah.

“They brought in people from all the villages on the sides of the main paved road. The Taliban had told us not to go through this way because there were a lot of mines. All of the road to the next village was mined. But the soldiers told us to keep walking in front of them,” Hamidullah told NPR.

Other local residents reached by phone told the same story. Ahmad, a 22-year-old man from Zangabad village, said he was also forced to walk through what he believed to be a mined road.

“They kept telling us to show the mines. We said we didn’t know where the Taliban planted mines. Then they told us to move forward to the next village, on the way if anything happens, you are responsible for the consequences. We kept praying, oh, God, save us,” Ahmad told NPR.

Allegations Under Scrutiny

Col. Daniel J. W. King, a spokesman for NATO’s joint command, said an investigation into the incident is under way.

“We take all allegations of human rights violations very seriously. At this time there is no credible information or evidence to substantiate these claims. It is our top priority to continue to assess the situation, and if any information or evidence does come to light, we’ll take the appropriate legal actions,” he said, adding that he cannot answer further questions about what is now an ongoing investigation.

Reporting in Panjwai is still dangerous, which limits the possibility of confirming exactly what took place in the villages and how closely involved international forces may have been.

Multiple sources have confirmed, however, that on Sept. 18 and 19, a large number of elders from the community did meet at the Panjwai district center, where Afghan and American officials apologized to them for the incident and promised it wouldn’t happen again, according to the deputy head of the elder’s council, Faizal Mahmud. His boss, the district governor, and the Afghan general in charge deny any such meeting took place. But Mahmud described it in detail to NPR.

Christopher Eric Wey, U.S. Soldier, Tries To Board Flight With Explosives

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

This soldier stole C4 and was caught trying to board a flight with it in his possession. Can you imagine if he had been Muslim?

Christopher Eric Wey, U.S. Soldier, Tries To Board Flight With Explosives

A U.S. soldier was caught attempting to board a flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday with high-velocity explosives in his bag.

Army Private First Class Christopher Eric Wey, 19, was arrested after he tried to board a United flight, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Arizona told Reuters.
Reuters reports that TSA officials at the Yuma International Airport detected a half-ounce of C4 explosives hidden in a tobacco can inside one of Wey’s bags. In a conflicting report, the Associated Press reportsthat it was a quarter-ounce.

Wey was detained and interviewed by FBI agents, who in turn discovered that Wey had stolen the C4 while attending an explosive training course.

Authorities found no indication that Wey intended any harm but him with trying to carry an explosive onto an aircraft and a stolen one at that, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.

US Army ‘kill team’ in Afghanistan Posed for Photos of Murdered Civilians

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by loonwatch

Oh no but I thought they attacked us for our freedoms?

(hat tip: Saladin)

US Army ‘kill team’ in Afghanistan posed for photos of murdered civilians

by Joe Boone (Guardian)

Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of “trophy” photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed.

Senior officials at Nato‘s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul have compared the pictures published by the German news weekly Der Spiegel to the images of US soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq which sparked waves of anti-US protests around the world.

They fear that the pictures could be even more damaging as they show the aftermath of the deliberate murders of Afghan civilians by a rogue US Stryker tank unit that operated in the southern province of Kandahar last year.

Some of the activities of the self-styled “kill team” are already public, with 12 men currently on trial in Seattle for their role in the killing of three civilians.

Five of the soldiers are on trial for pre-meditated murder, after they staged killings to make it look like they were defending themselves from Taliban attacks.

Other charges include the mutilation of corpses, the possession of images of human casualties and drug abuse.

All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

The case has already created shock around the world, particularly with the revelations that the men cut “trophies” from the bodies of the people they killed.

An investigation by Der Spiegel has unearthed approximately 4,000 photos and videos taken by the men.

The magazine, which is planning to publish only three images, said that in addition to the crimes the men were on trial for there are “also entire collections of pictures of other victims that some of the defendants were keeping”.

The US military has strived to keep the pictures out of the public domain fearing it could inflame feelings at a time when anti-Americanism in Afghanistan is already running high.

In a statement, the army said it apologised for the distress caused by photographs “depicting actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States“.

The lengthy Spiegel article that accompanies the photographs contains new details about the sadistic behaviour of the men.

In one incident in May last year, the article says, during a patrol, the team apprehended a mullah who was standing by the road and took him into a ditch where they made him kneel down.

The group’s leader, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, then allegedly threw a grenade at the man while an order was given for him to be shot.

Afterwards, Gibbs is described cutting off one of the man’s little fingers and removing a tooth.

The patrol team later claimed to their superiors that the mullah had tried to threaten them with a grenade and that they had no choice but to shoot.

On Sunday night many organisations employing foreign staff, including the United Nations, ordered their staff into a “lockdown”, banning all movements around Kabul and requiring people to remain in their compounds.

In addition to the threat from the publication of the photographs, security has been heightened amid fears the Taliban may try to attack Persian new year celebrations.

There could also be attacks because Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is due to make a speech declaring which areas of the country should be transferred from international to Afghan control in the coming months.

One security manager for the US company DynCorp sent an email to clients warning that publication of the photos was likely “to incite the local population” as the “severity of the incidents to be revealed are graphic and extreme”.

Thomas McInerney: Retired US General wants Muslim men Strip Searched

Posted in Loon TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2010 by loonwatch

oreillyrussians

Thomas McInerney, a retired US Lieutenant was on Fox News advocating that Muslim men between the ages of 18-28 be strip searched. The Fox host Julia Banderas surprisingly takes him on, which leads the the lieutenant to contradict himself in the worst way.

He goes from saying that “we should use profiling, and I mean we have to be very serious and harsh about the profiling, if you are an 18-28 year old Muslim man then you should be strip searched” to saying “I don’t want to racial profile, I want to profile on that group that we have enough evidence, from 9/11 and other cases, Moussoui, etc. that we know what we’re looking at.” He doesn’t make any sense, but that isn’t anything new for Fox pundits.

Retired US general wants Muslim men strip searched at airports

Retired Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney wants to get young Muslim men naked in the worst way.

Awkward as that sentence sounds, it is an accurate description of the former US Air Force general’s comments during a recent Fox News broadcast.

“We’ve got to go to more than just the normal process that they’re talking about now,” he opined on Saturday. “We have got to go to very, very strict screening and we’ve got to use profiling. And I mean, be very, very serious about the profiling. If you are an 18-28-year-old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched. If we don’t do that, there’s a very high probability that we’re gonna lose an airliner.”

McInerney said that “in the next 30-100 days,” there is “very high probability a US airliner will come down.”

When the Fox host blandly objected that racial profiling would not go over in the United States, he replied, “I agree, that’s the problem.”

The general’s comment comes one day before that the Transportation Security Administration announced new, “enhanced screening” tactics at U.S. airports, with a renewed focus on foreign travelers.

All passengers flying into the United States from abroad will be subject to random screening or so-called “threat-based” screens, the TSA said Sunday.

It further mandated that “every individual flying into the US from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening” that includes a thorough inspection of luggage and pat-down searches.

“If you lose 300 Americans, and then people are gonna say ‘Why didn’t we do this?’” the general insisted.

McInerney, who has been a Fox News military analyst for years, was Director of the Defense Performance Review during the Clinton administration and reported directly to the Secretary of Defense. He is currently chairman of the Iran Policy Committee’s advisory council and co-author ofthe book “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror”.

In his book, the general advocates a scenario of nearly endless war, urging the conditional invasions of Syria, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. He also argues that deceased Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein hid his weapons of mass destruction in Syria; a primary reason he calls for their destruction.

“The authors’ ambitious schedule of ultimatums and conquests leads them to focus almost exclusively on the U.S. military, for which they recommend the Rumsfeld doctrine of light, mobile forces, supplemented by additional weapons spending,” reads a Publishers Weekly review of “Endgame”. “Homeland security gets scant attention beyond vague proposals for a Terrorist Security Department and Special Terrorist Courts involving substantial infringements on due process.”

“Broad-based ethnic profiling creates in turn panic and the false sense of security that airlines are actually preventing terrorist attacks,” wrote Earl Ofari Hutchinson in a commentary for New Media America. “It also causes law enforcement resources to be squandered chasing the wrong targets. Worse, it’s a witch hunt against a group based solely on their religion and ethnicity. This fuels even greater racial division, fear and hysteria.”

To her credit, Fox News host Julie Banderas pushed back against the former general, insisting that racial and religious profiling at airports is “not going to go over — not in this country, anyway.”

“The sound of the latex glove snapping shut against a hairy wrist — that’s the sound of Freedom itself, ringing out in tile-walled rooms with the abrupt harshness of a fluorescent light and the unforgiving tightness of arm restraints,” mocked the Inside-Out the Beltway blog. “God Bless America.”

This video was broadcast by Fox News on Jan. 2, 2009, as snipped by Mediaite.

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