Archive for the ‘Fort Hood’ Category

Soldier says ordered to delete Fort Hood videos

October 15, 2010 11:23 AM

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A soldier who recorded the terror of last year’s deadly shooting rampage in Fort Hood using his cell phone was ordered by an officer to delete both videos, a military court heard Friday.

Under cross examination, Pfc. Lance Aviles told an Article 32 hearing that his noncommissioned officer ordered him to destroy the two videos on Nov. 5, the same day that a gunman unleashed a volley of bullets inside a processing center at the Texas Army post.

The footage could have been vital evidence at the military hearing to decide if Maj. Nidal Hasan should stand trial in the shootings. The 40-year-old American-born Muslim has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Prosecutors have not said whether they’ll seek the death penalty if the case goes to trial.

Aviles described how he was waiting for medical tests at the center with his battle buddy, Pfc. Kham Xiong, when he heard someone shout. Then the gunshots began.

He said he saw a tanned, balding man wearing an Army combat uniform and carrying a black pistol.

“I saw smoke coming from the pistol,” Aviles told the court.

The pair threw themselves to the floor. Aviles turned to his left to check Xiong and discovered his friend had been shot.

“His head was facing the left and a shard of his skull was sticking up,” Aviles said.

Xiong, a 23-year-old father of three from St. Paul, Minn., was among the 13 who died in the attack. Aviles, the 20th person to provide testimony at the hearing, was not hurt.

Addressing the court via video link from Afghanistan, Spc. Megan Martin said she had been waiting to take medical tests when saw a man to her left stand up and shout “Allahu Akbar!” — “God is great!” in Arabic — then start firing a weapon.

He “started shooting to the left of me in a fan motion, left to right,” Martin said.

She described the weapon as “a small handgun (with) … a green light and a red laser.”

Capt. Melissa Kale said the gun was black and had “a red laser and a green laser.”

Only one witness has testified that he saw two weapons.

Kale, who is also serving in Afghanistan and spoke via satellite link, broke down in tears as she described how she tried to pull Sgt. Amy Krueger out of the line of fire. Twenty-nine-year-old Krueger was killed in the attack.

“I tried to pull Sgt. Krueger with me,” she sobbed. “She didn’t move. I had to leave her there.”

Also talking from Afghanistan and with the sound of jets flying overhead, Maj. Eric Torina testified that he saw Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo just after he had been fatally shot, sitting in a chair as if he was still waiting for his medical exam.

The motionless 52-year-old sat “with his head down like he was almost sleeping, but with a bullet hole in his head, dripping blood,” he said.

Martin described how she saw Capt. John Gaffaney attempting to charge at the gunman to prevent further bloodshed. Gaffaney, a 56-year-old psychiatric nurse preparing to deploy to Iraq, was shot at close range and died.

“I could not look away. I laid as still as I could. I couldn’t stop watching. It was a nightmare that reoccurs.” said Martin, who belongs to the 467th Medical Detachment — the unit that Hasan was supposed to deploy with.

Hasan had been trying to get out of his pending deployment because he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had been saying goodbye to friends and neighbors, and had given away his Quran and other belongings.

A defense lawyer asked Martin if the tragedy could have prevented her from deploying to a combat zone.

“I did not want to be removed from deployment. I wanted to carry on with the mission, sir, as my fallen soldiers would want me to.”

Source:  http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101015/A_NEWS/101019887

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First, apologies for not getting John Guandolo’s podcast to you correctly. I’m working on fixing it asap.

Second, this reporter reports that: “. . . . more than two dozen other soldiers and civilians spoke under oath about their struggle to survive in the terrifying minutes after he yelled “Allahu akbar!” (“ALLAH is great!” in Arabic) and started shooting,” but then the reporter makes this next ridiculous comment: “Yet the gunman and his motive remain an enigma.” This puts the reporter into a collaborators’ camp; or he’s so green behind the ears he shouldn’t be let out alone to cross the street.

BHO ought to be on trial here as an accomplice to murder, is my thinking, him with his “Don’t name the enemy” junk.
Dorrie

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/us/16hearing.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=At%20Hearing%20On%20Fort%20Hood%20Attack,%20Few%20Clues&st=cse

At Hearing on Fort Hood Attack, Few Clues

FORT HOOD, Tex. � Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, with a blanket draped over his shoulders and a watch cap pulled low over his dark eyes, listened impassively in recent days as several survivors of his murderous rampage a year ago rose and pointed to him as the gunman who had shot them.

No emotion or hint of the defendant’s thoughts flickered across his pale features, as more than two dozen other soldiers and civilians spoke under oath about their struggle to survive in the terrifying minutes after he yelled “Allahu akbar!” (ALLAH is great! in Arabic) and started shooting. He sank low in his wheelchair (he is paralyzed from the waist down after the police shot him to end his shooting attack on Nov. 5) and stared intensely at the witnesses. At times he made small, precise notes on a legal pad, but he said nothing to his lawyers.

A parade of prosecution witnesses, many of them still struggling with their wounds, provided a gripping, almost cinematic account of the attack in which 13 people died and dozens were wounded.

Yet the gunman and his motive remain an enigma. And there were few clues about what sort of defense Major Hasan, a 40-year-old Army psychiatrist, would mount in the face of such overwhelming evidence.

The witnesses spoke at an Article 32 hearing, a military proceeding in which an investigating officer, in this case Col. James L. Pohl, listens to evidence and decides whether to recommend a court-martial, what charges should be filed and what the penalty should be.

The hearing is not a trial, and the defense often uses it discover the strength of prosecution�s evidence, while the prosecution sometimes uses it to encourage the defense to enter a guilty plea.

The lead defense attorney, John Galligan, has left open the possibility he might mount an insanity defense, yet he blocked a mental evaluation of his client a week before the hearing, saying that Major Hasan was not given enough notice.

Cross-examining the witnesses, Mr. Galligan and his team seemed focused on eliciting testimony that Major Hasan fired randomly rather than singling out people, a hint the defense may seek to erode the prosecution theory that the gunman�s actions were coldly planned.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Galligan has said that the government should disclose, before a court-martial, several high-level investigations into the massacre and what led to it. They include a report on whether Major Hasan�s superiors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he worked before being transferred to Fort Hood, should have foreseen that he would become violent.

Experts on military law say that Major Hasan and his lawyers have very few cards to play. He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, and he could face the death penalty. To get a capital conviction, the prosecution must show that he rationally planned out the killings beforehand, and that his actions were �premeditated and deliberated.�

�If you can create doubt that this was a planned series of killings, then you have a chance of defeating the level of murder that carries the death penalty,� said Geoffrey Corn, an expert on military law at South Texas College of Law in Houston.

Over three days, more than two dozen witnesses at the hearing described how Major Hasan shouted �Allahu akbar!� and then opened fire with a laser-guided handgun at a crowd of soldiers as they waited to see medical staff members before deployment. He gunned down one man who tried to hit him with a chair and chased another soldier out of the building to shoot him, witnesses said.

Major Hasan, a Muslim whose parents immigrated from the West Bank, fired first at a crowded waiting area, then he walked around and shot soldiers as they tried to hide under desks, chairs and tables, only pausing to reload and saying nothing after his first outburst, several witnesses said.

The air filled with gun smoke and people bled to death while others played dead to save their own lives. The laser guide from the gun cut across the smoky area searching for targets. Some sprinted for the only two exits when he was reloading. More than 100 shots were fired.

Several of the witnesses had survived multiple gunshot wounds.

Staff Sgt. Paul Martin recounted his attempts to escape, as he was hit first in the arm, then in the left leg after he dove to the floor. When he rose and tried to make it to the door, the gunman blocked his way and then shot him in the back as he ran to take cover behind an office partition.

�My legs went out from under me and I hit the floor,� Sergeant Martin said. �I thought �Oh God, I�m paralyzed.� � But the feeling came back to his feet, and he and a female soldier made it out together during another pause in the shooting.

Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler said he thought at first the attack was a training exercise. He froze in disbelief as the laser guide crossed his eyes. Then he was hit.

�It felt like someone hit me in the head with a metal baseball bat,� Sergeant Zeigler said, touching the right side of his head where doctors later had to remove part of his brain. He recalled hitting the floor and crawling desperately across the ground toward the door before passing out. �There was a pool of my own blood on the ground in front of me,� he said.

The sergeant was shot three more times and barely survived. He walked slowly into court with a cane, a large scar visible on his misshapen cranium.

One of the questions that continues to surround the Fort Hood shooting rampage is why the U.S. Army didn’t recognize the potential risk of leaving Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in his position before it was too late.

CBN News put that question to retired Army three-star Gen. Jerry Boykin, who said the answer is simple.

“Nobody wanted to deal with the fact that this guy was a terrorist,” Boykin said. “His behavior and his rhetoric were both indications that he was subscribing to a Jihadist ideology and nobody wanted to deal with that issue. He was a terrorist. That was a terrorist act.”

Boykin said the Fort Hood massacre was the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“The mere fact that this guy was counseling and dealing with our soldiers who have been through the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is atrocious,” he added. “It was a leadership failure and it’s the fact that the leadership did not want to deal with his Islamic theology; the fact that he was a Muslim is why no one would deal with this guy.”

Gen. Boykin spoke from personal experience after spending 36 years in the military.

He was one of the original members of the Army’s elite Delta Force and commanded the unit during the Battle of Mogadishu, which was depicted in the movie “Blackhawk Down.”

He is also a Christian who spoke openly in uniform about his faith and his Christian world view.

The secular media’s coverage of his speeches stirred up a controversy that brought an end to his career.  But the double-standard is not lost on Boykin.

“I think everybody in America realizes that the persecution of Christians is acceptable in our society today by both the leadership and the media, but no one wants to offend a Muslim,” said Boykin. ” The fact of the matter is that this guy was an extremist.”

“He was a terrorist and somebody needs to stand up and not only deal with these kind of issues in our society as well as our military,” he added. “But they need to deal with the fact that we are infiltrated from within by people who want to destroy the Constitution of our nation and replace it with Sharia Law and we can’t appease these people. We must deal with the issue and it starts with calling it what it is. . .Terrorism.”

Gen. Boykin doesn’t pull any punches.

He said the Army needs to start dealing with the problem before another tragedy happens.

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Islamic scholar: Access to guns, not jihad, to blame for Fort Hood

Excuses, excuses. “‘Access to Guns,’ Not Jihad, to Blame for Ft. Hood, Says Noted Islamic Scholar,” by Charles C. Johnson (no, not the libelblogger) at Big Government, February 8:

Imam Zaid Shakir came to speak at my school, Claremont McKenna, on December 9th to respond to the “tragedy of Ft. Hood.” Rather than respond to the massacre of American servicemen, Shakir spent the evening indicting the United States – saying “we were born in genocide.” The reason for the Ft. Hood Massacre, according to Shakir? Not jihad or Islamic fundamentalism, but the “pervasiveness of violence in our society” and because of Americans’ “easy access to guns.”For those wondering who Mr. Shakir is, he’s the go-to expert on Islamic issues for the mainstream media. The New York Times describes him as a “leading intellectual light,” while rap scholar, Cornel West says “he is one of the towering principle [sic] voices not only in contemporary Islam, but in American society,” according to this biography. Most recently, he was described by John Esposito as one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims.”

After comparing the massacres at Ft. Hood by Major Nidal Hassan to the Columbine killers and Maurice Clemmons, of Mike Huckabee pardon fame, Shakir said that the violence we have seen was not a “Muslim problem,” but a problem for everyone. You never quite know when someone will “snap.” [The following is extracted from a transcript from audio I took of the public lecture at my college.]

There is not a Muslim problem. Especially based on the number of Muslims who have done this particular act. It’s not a Korean problem because the kid in Virginia tech was a Korean American. It’s not a white American problem because the kids in Columbine or several other places were white Americans. That’s not the common denominator, race is not the common denominator, religion is not the common denominator, gender-maybe, I would say they should just chill out. What is the common denominator. The common denominator is easy access to guns. The common denominator is that there are more guns in America than there are human beings. There are more guns in America than human beings, and they are easily had. And if someone tries to limit their accessibility, they’re going to be challenged by the NRA, the National Rifle Association-one of the most powerful lobbies in this country. That’s the common denominator. So if we are serious as a society about stopping this violence, it doesn’t behoove us to demonize Muslims. We’re here to talk about Muslims, I’m not trying to dodge that, but if behooves us to make it far, far, far more difficult for people to get their hands on a gun. And if we’re not willing to do that, it’s easy to go blame the Muslims. That’s easy and that’s why so many people do-it’s a national sport. Vilify the Muslims, they’re weak, they can’t fight back.

Of course left unsaid is why we should ban guns on a military base. Shouldn’t Major Hassan, a U.S. Army officer, be carrying a gun on such a military base? And what of the quick thinking of the law enforcement personnel on the scene who were well armed?

But “the violence that permeates our society spills over to other shores,” Zaid said. To prove his point, Shakir totally misrepresented history, claiming for instance that “the last time any Muslim country encroached upon a Christian country” was “300 years ago, the second Ottoman siege of Vienna,” and utterly ignoring the Armenian genocide or the civil war in Lebanon, to name just two quick examples….

There is much more. Read it all.

FOXNews.com

Military to Discipline at Least 6 Officers in Ft. Hood Case

Thursday , February 11, 2010

WSJ

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The military will formally discipline at least six officers, mostly from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, for failing to take action against the officer accused of carrying out last year’s deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senior Army officials said the decision to punish so many officers reflects the military’s belief that the November assault, which killed 13 people at the Army base in central Texas, could have been prevented if Maj. Nidal Hasan’s superiors had alerted authorities to his increasing Islamist radicalization.

The officials said that as many as eight officers could ultimately be censured over Hasan, mostly with letters of reprimand that effectively end their military careers. The punishments will be detailed in an “accountability review” that Army Gen. Carter Ham, who has been investigating the shootings for several months, will deliver to top Army officials as early as Friday.

An Army spokesman said that Ham’s accountability review would be submitted within days, but declined to comment further on the inquiry.

People familiar with the matter said the Army had earlier notified eight officers that they were under investigation, including Col. John Bradley, who until recently ran Walter Reed’s psychiatry department, and Col. Charles Engel, a psychiatrist who supervised Hasan when he was doing a fellowship at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal