Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Court Hears of U.S. Unit Killing Afghan Civilians at Random

by William Yardley
New York Times
September 27, 2010

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Members of an American Army unit consumed with drug use randomly chose Afghan civilians to kill and then failed to report the abuses out of fear they would suffer retaliation from their commander, according to testimony in military court here on Monday.

The testimony, in a hearing to determine whether one of those soldiers, Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock, would face a court-martial and a possible death sentence, came the same day that a videotape in the case was leaked showing Specialist Morlock talking to investigators about the killings in gruesome detail with no apparent emotion.

Specialist Jeremy N. Morlock
Top Army officials worry that the case against Specialist Morlock and four other soldiers accused in the killings of three Afghan civilians will undermine efforts to build relationships with Afghans in the war against the Taliban.

The soldiers are accused of possessing dismembered body parts, including fingers and a skull, and collecting photographs of dead Afghans. Some images show soldiers posing with the dead. As many as 70 images are believed to be in evidence.

Some of the soldiers have said in court documents that they were forced to participate in the killings by a supervisor, Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who is also accused in the killings. All five defendants have said they are not guilty.

In one incident, Specialist Morlock recounted in the video, he described Sergeant Gibbs identifying for no apparent reason an Afghan civilian in a village, then directing Specialist Morlock and another soldier to fire on the man after Sergeant Gibbs lobbed a grenade in his direction.

“He kind of placed me and Winfield off over here so we had a clean line of sight for this guy and, you know, he pulled out one of his grenades, an American grenade, popped it, throws the grenade, and tells me and Winfield: ‘All right, wax this guy. Kill this guy, kill this guy,’ ” Specialist Morlock said in the video.

Referring to the Afghan, the investigator asked: “Did you see him present any weapons? Was he aggressive toward you at all?”

Specialist Morlock replied: “No, not at all. Nothing. He wasn’t a threat.”

As Monday’s hearing was getting under way, CNN and ABC News broadcast the video. In the CNN clip and the ABC clip, Specialist Morlock, speaking in a near monotone, looks like a teenager recounting a story to his parents.

Read the rest of this article here.

Comment: Imperialism is a terminal mental disease.



Eugene said...

Haven't read this, however, been following it a little. This IS THE FACE OF WAR! If it follows the consistent patterns of warfare, THIS IS NOT THE ONLY OCCURRENCE! For example, non-reported rapes.

This is a part of what warfare is and one of a gazillion reasons why we as humans need to change this behavior. How we do that is another question. Killing is so ingrained as a normal part of life, especially when others are doing our killing for us.

They will lie and say this is an isolated incident. It is not isolated. It is a common practice of warfare. Always has been, always will be. The word just won't get out through control of the media. What people don't know, will allow such crimes to continue.

Take the Vatican and the GAZILLION cases of sexual abuse. Good media control over bad behavior.

Ridwan said...

Hi there Eugene.

Thanks for your excellent points.

I remember when the old white regime in South Africa had to deal with white soldiers coming home from their dirty racist wars in southern Africa (and the black townships across the country) they were often shocked at the fallout.

Soldiers would kill and rape and the then South Africa Defense Force (SADF) would have to cover and make excuses and lie.

Just like in the US. This is just one high profile case but there are many more.

How soon Abu Ghraib has been erased from memory?

And it does not stop there.

The Indian mascots and racializing of 'dominated' native peoples in the US is a continuation of that violence.

I need not tell you this of course :)

I am incensed by Americans who refer to Muslims as hajjis and think it is funny and not meant to be offensive.


This case is a real measure of the contempt that most Americans feel for Muslims and Islam.

It is also an accurate measure of the dehumanization that the US is capable of.

There is a regular fool here who writes comments calling for the annihilation of all Muslims ... this he does under the cover of being anonymous.

But underneath that cover lies a real hatred and inbred imperialism that makes the news article very real.

It seems now that it is open season on Muslims and please don't get me started on those blended Muslims in the US who are quick to massage their image and that of Islam to be unoffensive to mostly white bigots.

My position here is that I will never apologize for 9/11 or the actions of any Muslim anywhere.

Inside of the nerve to ask all Muslims to apologize or to redeem Islam (make it moderate even) lies a deep racist impulse that needs to see all Muslims as one guilty community.

When white folks in the tea party and elsewhere start to apologize for their role in slavery and the benefits they have derived from racism (and start to pay reparations or move back to Europe;) then maybe I will re-think my position (not that the level of guilt is even similar since I have not derived any structural benefits from 9/11).

That ain't gonna happen so I am barely preparing for a mind change.

Peace Eugene.

pserean said...


I didn't read this with any shock...except maybe a reflex raised eyebrow at-
Crime scene investigation wont be acceptable because of offending religious views of the inhabitants.. and safety for their lily white unarmed Delirium tremens suffering soldiers...

So i suppose now its all about respecting the religion. how considerate of them.

this makes me sick to my core.

May Allah save us from such degradation, and make us strong and willing to fight injustice wherever it lies.ameen.

Ridwan said...

Salaam pserean.

Thank you for your comment and I too pray for our dignity and survival.

The passage you point to is so typical of the manner that Americanism decontextualises reality.

Like when they apologise for killing innocents with drones.

The apology is made to appeal to a reason that lies beyond the inhumanity that was caused in the first place.

The US government is adept at this kind of doublespeak.

Sorry for the late reply here ... brain freeze on my part :)