Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 18, 2018

Afghanistan - U.S. Military Finds No Fault With Special Forces' Potential Drive-By Murder

On January 9 we wrote about a video some U.S. special force veteran had posted online to promote his tactical clothing brand. The U.S. military launched an investigation into the issue and has now announced its conclusion. Here are the first graphs of the original Moon of Alabama report:

Afghanistan - U.S. Special Forces Commit Drive-By Murder (Video):
A recent video mashup provided by some U.S. Special Force soldiers in Afghanistan seems to show evidence of a warcrime.

A military truck passes a civilian truck on a paved road at normal traveling speed. A soldier fires directly and intentionally at the driver of the civilian truck without any discernible reason.

This is the relevant two second long cut (repeated 5 times) from a private video mix of scenes taken during the last few months in Afghanistan.

The reporting on the video was taken up by several mainstream news sites. The U.S. military in Afghanistan launched an investigation into the incident. Stars & Stripes, a newspaper for the U.S. military, now reports of the official result:

Probe: ‘No criminality’ in incident of soldier shooting into Afghan truck caught on video:
An American servicemember seen in an online video shooting into a moving truck in Afghanistan acted in accordance with military rules, an investigation has found.
...
After a thorough investigation, [the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command] found that the Americans had “acted in accordance with the rules of engagement,” Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement.

“An Afghan driver ignored several warnings not to encroach on the U.S. convoy, so a non-lethal beanbag projectile was fired at the driver,” Grey said.

It’s not clear where the shooting took place, what units were involved, or whether the driver was injured. Officials did not immediately release a copy of the investigation.

Some critics found the results of the investigation troubling. Matthew Nasuti, a former Air Force captain and military lawyer, said via email that the findings were not credible. He suggested a shot into the driver’s window was too risky and could have caused more harm than warranted.
...
U.S. military officials declined to comment on the incident and referred questions to CIC. A spokesman there declined to provide comment beyond Grey’s brief statement.

Note:

The scene discussed above was only one short take in the longer video. Other scenes were from special force action in Afghanistan. I had  uploaded the full video to the MoonofA Youtube account and linked the unlisted video in the above piece. Youtube took the video down and sent a warning (three warnings and you are out ...). The original link now goes to a page which says:

This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on violent or graphic content.

As the video was unlisted, no Youtube search would have found it. Someone must have seen the video on Moon of Alabama, disliked the content or the fact that it was published on, and complained about it to Youtube.

For documentary purposes a copy of the full video is provided here (video, 46 MByte).

Posted by b on May 18, 2018 at 07:58 AM | Permalink

Comments

It's too violent for us to see, but okay to do.
In other recent news from Afghanistan regarding one of the chief reasons for the US being there and staying there forever --

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb 23 — One of the boldest efforts to date to stabilize Afghanistan through economic development began on Friday with a ceremonial start to construction on a $22.5 billion natural gas pipeline crossing the country’s war-ravaged south.
The pipeline, known as TAPI for its route through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, taking in some of the world’s most contested land, is an experiment in pipeline diplomacy of a type considered but ultimately rejected in other hot spots like on the Korean Peninsula.
Such so-called “peace[i.e. war] pipelines” have been contested. They were once also considered, but not built, as a solution to a long-simmering conflict west of here between Armenia and Azerbaijan, also involving Central Asian energy.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 9:30:09 AM | 1

Oooh -- this could be the breakthrough in Afghanistan (although the British have failed in that land many times) --
Afghanistan: UK considers sending more troops

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 9:45:17 AM | 2

That's a classic. Youtube is chock full of violent videos, ones with brutal crimes being committed and nobody says a peep. Yet one of our precious Green Beret's committing what looks like a war crime is given a pass and the channel is threatened with termination.

Can't offend the delicate sensibilities of the little snowflake doing the review, can we?

Posted by: morongobill | May 18, 2018 10:02:04 AM | 3

"A soldier fires directly and intentionally at the driver of the civilian truck without any discernible reason."

In USA there is a ton of cases like that involving police. The standard for conviction is that it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the trooper was "afraid for his life". In the case of deaths that followed application of tasers, beating or other types of manhandling, the salient question is if a healthier person would survive -- and coroners testify "sure!". The public wants to be zealously defended so the majority accepts that.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 18, 2018 10:37:43 AM | 4

It is sort of like the Waffen SS crossed with yankee police brutality with a bit of Crips and bloods type violence thrown in. This exposes the decades long afghanistan intervention as an ongoing war crime.

Posted by: exiled off mainstreet | May 18, 2018 11:02:48 AM | 5

In Afghanistan, the mood is set from the top down. The US decides who will run the puppet government, and they'd better do as they are told. The top US general is the viceroy, free to criticize and also "apologize" when required when farm-boys are assassinated by US soldiers or air force pilots. General Dunford was good at doing both, which is why he is the top general in the Pentagon now. That same ruling strategy seeps down to the ranks, with armed "shotgun" riders enforcing the US rules of the road. There's no way any investigator is going to conclude that any of that is wrong. The soldier that did the deed probably got awarded a medal and promoted. "Way to go, now they know who's in charge here."
To look at it another way, it might be called recruiting for the resistance. This US mood-set ensures that there will be an armed resistance to the US occupation of Afghanistan for as long as necessary. It's a major reason for the persistent and increased Taliban control in that country, while the "government" controls only about half the country. A US military spokesman recently noted that “approximately 56% of the country’s 407 districts are under Afghan government control or influence, 30% remain contested, and approximately 14% are now under insurgent control or influence.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 11:23:15 AM | 6

@all - I have deleted a bunch of off-topic comments at the top of the thread.

Folks - if you just want to trash talk about this or that please go to Facebook. This threat is about Afghanistan and the described incident.

@Chipnik - this is the last warning for you. If you continue to throw some nutty claims into various threads for which there is not the slightest evidence you have no place in this bar.

Posted by: b | May 18, 2018 1:00:23 PM | 8

A clusterfuck.oh boy.I'm winning!(trulaine)

Posted by: dahoit | May 18, 2018 1:26:13 PM | 9

"Open Source Censorship"

The US military saw your upload via your article (b/c they monitor effective content producers working against their narrative) and complained to Youtube about violence(what violence???).

End result - government censors news media anonymously.

Posted by: Michael Holloway | May 18, 2018 1:28:11 PM | 10

US Military finds no fault with murders committed by US Military. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Posted by: DougDiggler | May 18, 2018 1:30:52 PM | 11

On the one hand, for the average person the Internet is supposedly 'forever'. Negative information about you persists, regardless of how it affects your life, and especially so if the information lives in the social cloud, where people who feel the need to scourge someone, anyone will find you.

On the other hand, if you are acting on behalf of a nation-state, negative information on the Internet about you becomes clouded, obscured, and eventually removed for the security of that nation-state.

On the third hand, if you have the power to influence information's retrieval and arrangement, you can choose how that information survives, and thus choose whose security is worth protecting or preserving.

If this were okay, why did Gen. Joseph Votel, as the linked Stars & Stripes article reports, say that after reviewing the video he was 'disappointed'? Disappointed in the behavior seen in the video, that it was used for a commercial, that it reached a different audience, &c? It's a vague disappointment.

Posted by: Charles R | May 18, 2018 1:33:42 PM | 12

A future cop policing American inner city streets ? Sand n*ggers getting a taste of democratic values. Gina Haspel probably approves. #winning

Posted by: Augustin L | May 18, 2018 1:44:22 PM | 13

When you're representing the "exceptional nation" you may do to whom you want, whenever you want"..

And the beat goes on.....

Posted by: ben | May 18, 2018 1:50:37 PM | 14

"Open Source Censorship" The US military saw your upload via your article (b/c they monitor effective content producers working against their narrative) and complained to Youtube about violence(what violence???).
Posted by: Michael Holloway | May 18, 2018 1:28:11 PM | 10

I remember when the original article was published the trolls raced in and were highly active in trying to trash the arguments. Move along, nothing to see here.

Posted by: BM | May 18, 2018 2:06:00 PM | 15

Next time maybe have a try with Vimeo instead of Youtube...

Posted by: xor | May 18, 2018 2:18:39 PM | 16

After WW2, they found that more than 50% of soldiers on either side had never fired their weapons, even to save their own lives. They attributed this to our innate prohibition of killing another human being. A lot of animals possess this - wolves, for example, will fight each other, but will rarely kill another wolf.
To overcome this and make the American soldier a more efficient killing machine, the US Army instituted a series of training measures that has resulted in soldiers firing blindly in the hopes that they would "accidentally" kill their objectives without having a death on their conscience, resulting in over 6,000 rounds fired per bad guy killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last few years. In those 6,000 rounds, there are lots of civilians killed in the crossfire because, let's face it, when you are shooting off 6,000 rounds, you're in a shooting frenzy.

Posted by: mischi | May 18, 2018 2:22:12 PM | 17

The U.S. project in Afghanistan is under serious threat this spring: Taliban’s 2018 offensive encompasses all regions of Afghanistan. There has been a fair amount of reporting in the mainstream press about the losses sustained by the Afghan National Army. The Pentagon is in hot water now for attempting to deny the severity of the Taliban attack:

Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White still thinks the Taliban is “desperate,” even after the group entered Farah City and took control of two districts in other areas of the country this week. White also denied that the Taliban has the initiative and touted the fact that all six Afghan army corps are now on the offensive, even though they have been for at least eight months.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 18, 2018 2:35:23 PM | 18

The government/military Official Investigations Cover-Ups are speedily produced, using mechanical assembly-line techniques reminiscent of fast-food franchise operations.

The "cooks" simply begin with the required innocuous and exculpatory conclusions, and reverse-engineer the semblance of an "investigation" to justify the prefabricated exoneration to an uninformed, complacent, fearful, and submissive public.

Hell, the Pentagon even downplayed the heinous, and justly infamous, My Lai Massacre; according to them, at worst it was an unfortunate merry mixup.
________________________________

I'm not saying "you heard it here first", but the shameful unilateral censorship of B.'s YouTube video is still another confirmation of a bee that's been buzzing in my Internet cyberbonnet for years:

It's long been obvious to me that all Internet posting and commenting guidelines are disingenuous covers for administrative censorship. Even the most blatantly censorious unilateral removals and bannings are blithely "explained away" by dryly citing some supposedly cut-and-dried rule/policy violation.

Put another way, the criteria purport to be clear, commonsensical, and most of all objective; they are actually subjective, but the moderators' perception always prevails.

Posted by: Ort | May 18, 2018 2:40:32 PM | 19

from Stripes --

About 20 seconds into a 3-minute video montage of combat footage, a 2-second clip apparently shot from a helmet camera shows what appears to be a servicemember in the gun turret of an RG33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle firing a Benelli tactical shotgun at the driver of a civilian cargo truck. The driver’s side window shatters and the montage cuts away a few frames later. . .“An Afghan driver ignored several warnings not to encroach on the U.S. convoy, so a non-lethal beanbag projectile was fired at the driver,”

Non-lethal beanbag?
First, "beanbag" is a misnomer -- "lead shot bag" is more accurate.
Second, it can be lethal (and probably the shot to the head was lethal in this case).
from wiki --
The bean bag round consists of a small fabric "pillow" filled with #9 lead shot weighing about 40 grams (1.4 oz). It is fired from a normal 12-gauge shotgun. When fired, the bag is expelled at around 70 to 90 metres per second (230 to 300 ft/s); it spreads out in flight and distributes its impact over about 6 square centimetres (1 sq in) of the target. It is designed to deliver a blow that will cause minimum long-term trauma and no penetration but will result in a muscle spasm or other reaction to briefly render a violent suspect immobile.
A bean bag round can severely injure or kill in a wide variety of ways. They have caused around one death a year since their introduction in the U.S.[2] A round can hit the chest, break the ribs and send the broken ribs into the heart. A shot to the head can break the nose, crush the larynx or even break the neck or skull of the subject. This is why many officers are taught to aim for the extremities when using a bean bag round. A strike in the abdominal area can cause internal bleeding or strike the solar plexus which can disrupt breathing or heartbeat, but such a hit is generally safer than most other areas as well as presenting a larger target than an extremity. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 3:32:05 PM | 20

No wonder we are loved so much everywhere our military goes.

Posted by: Ken | May 18, 2018 4:19:01 PM | 21

I'm sure the take down of the video on YouTube shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, especially those here in MoA. Just like in Hollywood, the Pentagon does not like when it's minions...err...soldiers are portrayed in a negative light.


xor @17:

Vimeo is no different from YouTube.

Posted by: Ian | May 18, 2018 4:26:56 PM | 22

@ Ken who wrote: "No wonder we are loved so much everywhere our military goes."

It is not just the US military spreading love. The Peace Corps has also been used to identify potential folks that might not align with the American way so other parts of our "not military" can neutralize them.

The propaganda would have you believe America is spreading freedom and democracy when the reality is the spread and maintenance of global private finance control.......or, in the case of this posting about Afghanistan, the ongoing occupation and R2P of the country.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 18, 2018 4:32:56 PM | 23

@JohnF - I deleted your comments and blocked you.

Go elsewhere with your babble and insults.

Posted by: b | May 18, 2018 4:37:48 PM | 24

As with IDF, impunity for Occupiers; death for the most minor of transgressions for the Occupied.

IMO, the Daesh transferred to Afghanistan by Outlaw US Empire were meant to further destabilize Pakistan but are finding it hard to get through the Pashtun belt as they stick out rather badly. After 17 years, I think most nations surrounding Afghanistan want to see NATO gone in favor of an indigenous political settlement, meaning the Outlaw US Empire has no say in the final agreement, which of course is why it won't leave. Its other goal is to use its presence to block BRI progress. Of course, neither China or Russia, nor any of their BRI partners can allow that; so, what will be done to make it too expensive for NATO to stay?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 18, 2018 5:16:42 PM | 25

karlof1 @25:

Continued asymmetrical attacks on NATO forces and their supporters will drive up the cost of occupation, and the dismantling of the supporting financial institutions which NATO members rely on should do the trick. It's a long process, but The Resistance will succeed in the end.

Posted by: Ian | May 18, 2018 6:27:38 PM | 26

After a thorough investigation, [the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command] found that the Americans had “acted in accordance with the rules of engagement,” Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement.

As karlof1 | May 18, 2018 5:16:42 PM | 25 points out, this so-called 'investigation' is so IDF-ish that it's laughable. There is no situation in the Real World where an organisation suspected of criminal activity is given control of an investigation into the criminality of itself or its minions - except for "The most moral army in the world; the IDF.
Joined at the hip?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18, 2018 9:06:57 PM | 27

After a thorough investigation, [the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command] found that the Americans had “acted in accordance with the rules of engagement”

The "rules of engagement" are classified, but Trump loosened them last year.

DefenseNews, Aug 21, 2017
Trump Afghanistan strategy calls for more troops, regional pressure

. . .Second, the president said the U.S. would not be committing its military resources to reconstruction or rebuilding Afghanistan’s governance.“We are not nation building again. we are killing terrorists,” Trump said.
Part of that will continue a trend of taking restrictions off the military fighting on the ground, although as with the troop numbers, Trump provided no details on how he would ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” for warfighters.
”We will also expand authorities for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” he said.
...Part of that will continue a trend of taking restrictions off the military fighting on the ground, although as with the troop numbers, Trump provided no details on how he would ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” for warfighters.
”We will also expand authorities for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” he said. . .here

MilitaryTimes, Oct 3, 2017
Mattis reveals new rules of engagement

WASHINGTON – U.S. forces are no longer bound by requirements to be in contact with enemy forces in Afghanistan before opening fire, thanks to a change in rules of engagement orchestrated by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
However, there were signs that changes to those rules of engagement were coming. In his Aug. 21 speech announcing his Afghanistan strategy, President Donald Trump said he would ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” for war fighters.
”We will also expand authorities for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” Trump said at the time. . . .here

Obviously this truck driver was a terrorist, because killing him was "in accordance with military rules of engagement." Apparently anybody that doesn't follow US orders is a terrorist and must be killed.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 9:39:08 PM | 28

@ Don Bacon who wrote: "Apparently anybody that doesn't follow US orders is a terrorist and must be killed."

You nailed it. In a might-makes-right world there is no room for diplomacy, just various forms of directed belligerence. The shades of gray go away and you are with us or against us.....another form of bullying.

Will humanity evolve beyond a winners take all world where they can facilitate and condone killing like reported here with impunity? I certainly hope that is what we are seeing happen here and now.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 18, 2018 10:25:27 PM | 29

@ph 29
Is it a coincidence that random domestic killing is escalating along with the foreign variety by the government? I will just kill someone to make a statement? I was "born to kill?"

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18, 2018 10:35:32 PM | 30

@ Don Bacon with the "born to kill" question

I think we are born to defend ourselves but that instinct can be manipulated into killing other humans. Since we don't come with an operating manual, past versions of us have made shit up about how to live and why we are here and call it faith. That faith has been spread to others under the guise of abdicating personal responsibility for a higher goal and one that excludes non-believers.....to the point of killing those non-believers.

In America I have watched the TV be used as a brainwashing tool that has normalized the public into entitled and consumptive hate spreading bullies that believe killing other humans is somehow righteous.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 19, 2018 1:08:31 AM | 31

I’m still struggling with the concept that it was the truck driver who was “encroaching” on the convoy when the video shows that it was the convoy that was overtaking *him*, not vice versa.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 19, 2018 1:36:03 AM | 32

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Posted by: کمپرسور باد | May 19, 2018 6:55:39 AM | 33

Brings to mind African-Americans killed in the streets by cops for "resisting arrest." This driver also was guilty of resisting arrest and so was killed, not by police but by a member of a foreign military occupation force.
arrest: stop or check (progress or a process).

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19, 2018 9:17:45 AM | 34

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