Shootings in Afghanistan
The big news obviously is the shooting spree in Afghanistan. Here is “local” coverage from the Tacoma News-Tribune (the soldier is reportedly attached to the 3d Stryker Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. According to various reports, SecDef Panetta commented on the shootings stating,
“My understanding is that in these instances that could be a consideration,” Panetta said, referring to the death penalty as he flew aboard an Air Force jet to Kyrgyzstan for meetings with officials there.
. . . .
Panetta indicated that the soldier turned himself in and told superiors what had happened, raising the possibility that he may have confessed.
“He went out in the morning, early morning, and went to these homes and fired on these families and then at some point after that came back to the forward operations base and basically turned himself in, told individuals what had happened,” Panetta said.
Pressed on whether the soldier confessed, Panetta said, “ I suspect that was the case.”
This excerpt via the LA Times, here. According to an AP report (via TIME here), there is some additional biographical info on the suspect now available. According to reports the shooter was an Army sniper:
The suspect in the shootings began his first deployment to Afghanistan in December, according to a senior U.S. official. However, he had only been assigned to the base in Panjwai about six weeks ago, the congressional source said.
He is from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and was assigned to support a special operations unit of either Green Berets or Navy SEALs engaged in a village stability operation, said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing. Special operations troops pair with local residents chosen by village elders to become essentially a sanctioned, armed neighborhood watch.
Stars and Stripes has this report on the mood at JBLM, where the soldiers seem to be a little on edge with all there going through. S&S really captures the pulse of the soldiers in the story.
More Recommendations in PVT Chen Cases
In other news an Army Investigating Officer recommended general court-martial for SSGT Blaine Dugas on four dereliction of duty specifications, see AP (via WaPo here). The charges stem from the alleged hazing of Army PVT Danny Chen and his eventual suicide.
Lackland Instructor Abuse Case
An Air Force training instructor (yes, they do no call them drill sergeant’s, thankfully) has asked to move his trial because he doesn;t think he can get a fair panel at Lackland Air Force base. The San Antonio Express reports, here, that Air Force SSgt. Luis Walker is charged with multiple counts of rape, forcible sodomy, and aggravated sexual assault, among other charges, in the alleged abuse of at least ten female trainees.
PFC Manning Tortured (?) Says UN Special Rapporteur
I’m a defense hack and all, but I just can’t comment on this one because my mom told me . . . I will only say, doesn’t a UN Special Rapporteur have better things to do? From the Guardian and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment report, here (at 74):
The Special Rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence. The Special Rapporteur again renews his request for a private and unmonitored meeting with Mr. Manning to assess his conditions of detention.
And the SR’s statement here. That is all.