Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our Jason Bournes

Hajji Sharaf Udin holding money he's refused for American gunmen killing his two sons, two daughters, at least two grandchildren and a daughter in law on February 12th 2010.

Like a porno film that gives you the money shot right off, I'll start off with this money shot, a paragraph in yesterday's New York Times that immediately got my attention:
All the survivors interviewed insisted that Americans, who they said were not in uniform, conducted the raid and the killings, and entered the compound before Afghan forces. Among the witnesses was Sayid Mohammed Mal, vice chancellor of Gardez University, whose son’s fiancée, Gulalai, was killed. “They were killed by the Americans,” he said. “If the government doesn’t listen to us, I have 50 family members, I’ll bring them all to Gardez roundabout and we’ll pour petrol on ourselves and burn ourselves to death.”

Something about this Rod Nordland/Richard Oppel article, entitled "U.S. Is Reining In Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan", tickled the back of my mind and I wondered what it was until I went back to another article, this one published the day before (March 14th) by Dexter Filkens and Mark Mazzetti entitled, "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants."

Now, for some context. The wrongful death shootings alluded to in the quote above occurred in the village of Gardez in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan on February 12th. The official story is that American special forces were working in conjunction with Afghani special police looking for militants. They descended on the home of Hajji Sharaf Udin. Mr. Udin's family was assembled in the house to celebrate the birth of a new grandchild.

After the celebration, men with guns were seen outside the house. Mohammed Daoud, Mr. Udin's son, went out to investigate. He was carrying an AK47 Kalashnikov and was immediately killed. Another son of Mr. Udin, Mohammed Zahir, went out to investigate the shooting because he spoke English and he, too, was immediately shot dead.

The story would be bad enough if we were to stop there, especially after learning these two men were a local police chief and a prosecutor. However, that was only the beginning of the bloodbath. Three of the women went out to see why there was gunfire and all three were gunned down. Two of them were Mr. Udin's daughters, one of whom was a pregnant mother of ten. The other pregnant woman was Mr. Udin's daughter in law, who was a mother of six.

The account given by Mr. Udin, who lost four children, at least two grandchildren and a daughter in law in the blink of an eye to American gunmen, heads this article. Mr. Mohammed Mal and dozens of other witnesses maintains the Americans were not wearing uniforms and had arrived before the Afghan police (who perhaps were not there for a night raid with the Americans but perhaps in response to, oh, I dunno, a police chief and a prosecutor getting slaughtered in their jurisdiction). We tried to buy his silence and he has refused our money.

So what does this have to do with the article of March 14th?

Well, it doesn't take a genius to immediately suspect Blackwater-type mercs when one reads an account of an eyewitness who claims much of his family was slaughtered by Americans with guns but without uniforms. A privatized American spy operation that was either under the aegis of DoD commanders or a rogue one, was run out of a small office in Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas by Michael D. Furlong. Furlong is now the focus of a Department of Defense criminal investigation.

Furlong hired several mercenary outfits for the intent of gathering intelligence on militants in Afghanistan, intelligence to be given to proper military authorities for possible lethal response. Among the mercenaries Furlong hired were former CIA employees at the periphery of the Iran Contra scandal. Privately, Furlong is also quoted as proudly referring to his mercenaries as "my Jason Bournes." Jason Bourne was the fictional assassin from the Robert Ludlum novels/Matt Damon movies.

Furlong is also accused of hoarding and misappropriating money, some $15,000,000, that was originally earmarked for a news website named Afpax that was partly the brainchild of former CNN news chief Eason Jordan.

If the murders in Gardez on February 12th were indeed the work of US mercenaries, it wouldn't be the first time. Last May, Jeremy Scahill wrote about a Xe/Blackwater offshoot called Paravant, whose two employees, Christopher Drotleff and Justin Cannon, had been accused of killing two Afghans and wounding another at a checkpoint at the capital of Kabul.

Afghanistan is a tribal warlord nation that is fast developing a mercenary subculture. Jim Hightower reported a year ago that even before President Obama's troop/contractor surge, there were 3847 security contractors in Afghanistan. Surprisingly, only nine of them were from the US. Yet, when mercenary murders are alleged in Afghanistan, it's generally American contractors who are named and Blackwater or one of its affiliates are often named.

It's tempting to see in this paragraph in an article today by Jeff Huber a synecdoche of the contractor mindset in Johnnie Walker, a Blackwater manager in Camp Alamo in Kabul:
Drotleff and Cannon’s boss at Blackwater was no altar boy either. Johnnie Walker (supposedly that really is his name) was a two-fisted, double-barreled, heat-seeking disaster. A senior Blackwater executive wrote an internal memo that said Walker’s management at Camp Alamo in Kabul “cultivated an environment that indirectly” led to the May shootings, and he described Walker as “an exceptionally ineffective” manager who habitually blew off meetings with Department of Defense and NATO officials. The Blackwater executive also mentioned that Johnnie Walker was a Hemingway-class drinker and characterized him as having “no regard for policies, rules, or adherence to regulations in country.”

As I said, it could be a dangerous assumption that this is representative of the Wild West mindset of the US security contractor in Afghanistan. However, based on what we'd seen so far in Iraq, is it really safer to assume that everything would be upfront and above board, with an especial reverence for human life and international law, with these same characters in Afghanistan?

Shockingly, this goes to the true heart of the article about Gen. McChrystal, the man who used to head JSOC that's made up of the same Delta Force and Navy Seal commandos that we're using in Afghanistan. The independent, extralegal mindset is identical, which explains why even Gen. McChrystal is keeping a short leash on them, a short lease being held by his very hand.

Yet nowhere in the NY Times article does it even hint that the JSOC killers were even under investigation much less up on charges of murder under the UCMJ. It's as if McChrystal thinks that setting more stringent ROE (Rules of Engagement) is a legitimate do-over that doesn't require any legal action or even an investigation.

It's a blood-spattered, murderous pattern that we'd seen for going on 7 years now in Iraq with both the legitimate American military and the contractors we hire to protect them, our diplomatic officials, oil workers and other contractors, a series of scandals that so far have resulted in a few enlisted people and a brigadier general taking the fall and four mercenaries getting sent free by Judge Urbina last December 30th.

And still the mainstream media fails to connect the dots.

It's still unclear whether or not Furlong's Jason Bournes were the ones who'd killed those five people and at least two unborn children in Gardez on February 12th. But one thing is clear:

As in Iraq, we refuse to own up to it. The one name that provides a common denominator in both New York Times articles is Admiral Gregory J. Smith, the top military spokesman in Afghanistan. Smith had this to say about the deaths of the three women in Gardez:
"The regret is that two innocent males died. The women, I’m not sure anyone will ever know how they died. I don’t know that there are any forensics that show bullet penetrations of the women or blood from the women." He said they showed signs of puncture and slashing wounds from a knife, and appeared to have died several hours before the arrival of the assault force. In respect for Afghan customs, autopsies are not carried out on civilian victims, he said.

In other words, we have no problem owning up to the killing of an Afghani police chief and a prosecutor but blanch at admitting as much about three women, two of them pregnant, who we're supposed to believe just happened to be murdered by other people before our own people conducted their murderous raid.

In the other article, Admiral Smith, when asked about the missing $15,000,000 originally set aside for Eason Jordan's information website Afpax and allegedly used by Furlong to hire mercenaries, said, "I have no idea where the rest of the money is going."

The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same.


At March 16, 2010 at 11:48 PM, Blogger Beau said...

Words fail. I wonder if Obama considers these murders on his watch and his responsibility.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Things Donald Trump Said to President Obama
  • Paul Ryan's Top Ten Conditions on Running for the Speakership
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016
  • Top 10 Results of the NYPD's Work Slowdown
  • Top 10 Secret Service Security Breaches
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
  • Powered by Blogger