New panel to investigate all the lies, foul play, deaths and cover ups surrounding the Tillman and Lynch cases may be another whitewash
Infowars.net April 14, 2007 Steve Watson
A U.S. House committee has announced it will hold hearings to investigate misleading military statements that followed the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch in Iraq.
As reported by the Associated Press , the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said an April 24 hearing will be part of its investigation into whether there was a strategy to mislead the public.
It will "examine why inaccurate accounts of these two incidents were disseminated, the sources and motivations for the accounts, and whether the appropriate administration officials have been held accountable,'' the panel said on its Web site.
The House Armed Services Committee also is considering Tillman hearings, a spokeswoman for that panel said Monday.
The Tillman and Lynch cases are two clear and blatant examples of how the government has consistently lied to the public about events during both the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, often spinning situations and distorting reality in order to put the US military occupations in a better light.
We have covered both cases extensively and exposed the propaganda and the cover ups that have followed, now it seems, rather encouragingly, that some within the House are taking an interest in uncovering the truth and exposing the lies perpetrated by the Neocon White House war machine.
The Lynch case is well documented. In 2003 facing flack and extreme criticism the Bush administration orchestrated a clear piece of war propaganda in an effort to rally the people behind the troops and the Invasion of Iraq.
In April 2003 the US Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company took a wrong turning near Nassiriya and was ambushed by Iraqi soldiers. Nine of Lynch's US comrades were killed. The Iraqis took Lynch to the local hospital, where she was kept for eight days.
The Iraqi soldiers fled the hospital days before Lynch's rescuers stormed it. The doctors there, having already tried and failed to return Lynch to the Americans after they fired upon an ambulance which she was being transported in, described the "rescue" as a Hollywood show , as special forces stormed in with cameras rolling.
"It was like a Hollywood film. They cried, 'Go, go, go', with guns and blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show - an action movie like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan, with jumping and shouting, breaking down doors." one doctor later recounted.
First, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq was ordered by CENTCOM to tell journalists that soldiers exchanged fire during the Rambo like rescue, without adding that Iraqi soldiers had already abandoned the hospital, then the military released a green-tinted night-vision film of the mission, adding to the drama.
Releasing its five-minute film to the networks, the Pentagon then claimed that Lynch had stab and bullet wounds, and that she had been slapped about on her hospital bed, interrogated and possibly even raped.
Then news organizations began repeating reports that Lynch had heroically resisted capture, emptying her gun as she fired at her attackers.
But subsequent disclosures have proved all those details to be complete fabrications. Lynch was badly injured by the crash of her vehicle, her weapon jammed before she could fire, the Iraqi doctors made friends with her and treated her kindly, and the hospital was already in friendly hands when her rescuers arrived.
Asked by the ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer after the event if the military's portrayal of the rescue bothered her, Lynch said: "Yeah, it does. It does that they used me as a way to symbolize all this stuff. Yeah, it's wrong,".
Lynch went on the record quickly and has since gone on to denounce the whole debacle as outright propaganda. This was perhaps wise given that four of Lynch's rescuers and colleagues have coincidentally died since.
Petty Officer First Class David M. Tapper died of wounds received in Afghanistan. He took part in the rescue.
Lance Cpl. Sok Khak Ung was killed in a drive-by shooting. He was also part of the rescue team.
Spc Josh Daniel Speer died when his car crashed into some trees for no apparent reason. He was part of the rescue team.
Kyle Edward Williams, who worked in the same company as Lynch, died of "suicide".
Will the House committee be investigating these deaths as part of the hearings?
We have previously reported on how Pat Tillman's tragic death was also seized upon and used as a cheap propaganda tool by the government for the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq. His death may have even been a criminal plot manufactured to this end, a suspicion that both military investigators and Tillman's family have repeated.
After his death it was announced that Tillman, the All American poster boy, the former sporting hero who had traded in his football boots for army boots after witnessing the 9/11 attacks, had been tragically gunned down by evil Taliban terrorists whilst he was charging up a hill side to attack, bellowing orders to fellow Rangers.
A nationally televised memorial service and a Silver Star commendation cemented Tillman's place as the nation's first war hero since the story of Jessica Lynch's capture and phony details of her rescue were foisted on the public in 2003.
The truth was that Tillman's death was being exploited for public relations purposes by the U.S. military and the administration.
Weeks later, the Army acknowledged that Tillman had been a victim of friendly fire whilst on a routine patrol.
Tillman's platoon of the Second Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, began the day that he died dealing with a minor annoyance in the southeastern part of Afghanistan where the soldiers were conducting sweeps, the Army records show, one of their vehicles would not start.
Against their own policy and after the overruling of some objections, the platoon split into two parts so that half the team, including Tillman, could go on to the next town for sweeps while the second half could tow the disabled vehicle to a drop-off spot.
But both groups ended up in the same twisting canyon, along the same road, without radio communication. And after the sounds of an enemy ambush, three Rangers in the second group wound up firing at members of the first group — at an Afghan soldier who was fighting alongside Tillman, and then at Tillman himself.
The Afghan was killed. According to testimony, Tillman, who along with others on the hill waved his arms and yelled “cease fire,” set off a smoke grenade to identify his group as fellow soldiers. There was a momentary lull in the firing, and he and the soldier next to him, thinking themselves safe, relaxed, stood up and started talking. But the shooting resumed. Tillman was hit in the wrist with shrapnel and in his body armor with numerous bullets.
The soldier next to him testified: “I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, ‘Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat f—ing Tillman, dammit.” He said this over and over until he stopped,” having been hit by three bullets in the forehead, killing him.
It was also admitted that soldiers destroyed evidence — Tillman's uniform and flak vest — after the shooting, claiming that they were a "biohazard". However another soldier involved offered a contradictory take, saying "the uniform and equipment had blood on them and it would stir emotion" that needed to be suppressed until the Rangers finished their work overseas.
An initial investigation by then-Capt. Richard Scott, interviewed all four shooters, their driver, and many others who were there. He concluded within a week that while some of the gunmen demonstrated "gross negligence" others demonstrated "criminal intent" and recommended further investigation to push for the harshest possible criminal sentencing.
But Scott's report disappeared after circulating briefly among a small corps of high-ranking officers. Some of Tillman's relatives think the Army buried the report because its findings indicated foul play. Army officials refused to provide a copy to the media, saying no materials related to the investigation could be released. A second investigation was then commenced by a higher ranking officer which called for less severe punishment.
Richard Scott later gave testimony alleging that Army officials allowed witnesses to change key details in their sworn statements so his findings could be softened.
Scott stated “watching some of these guys getting off, what I thought … was a lesser of a punishment than what they should've received. And I will tell you, over a period of time … the stories have changed. They have changed to, I think, help some individuals.”
The document containing Scott's testimony was reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle . In a published story in September 2005 the Chronicle highlighted the following passage from Scott:
“They had the entire chain of command (inaudible) that were involved, the [deleted], all sticking up for [deleted] … And the reason the [deleted] called me in … because the [deleted] … changed their story in how things occurred and the timing and the distance in an attempt to stick up for their counterpart, implied, insinuated that the report wasn't as accurate as I submitted it …”
In another section of his testimony, he said witnesses changed details regarding “the distance, the time, the location, the lighting conditions and the positioning” in Tillman's killing.
There are many other examples of conflicting testimony in the Tillman case including the fact that he may not have been killed immediately and was certainly given CPR hours after being shot in the head three times.
At least one Army officer, the records show, changed his sworn statements about which supervisor had actually ordered the split of the platoon and what conversations had occurred before the order was given.
A further review of the case by the Pentagon's inspector general,Gen. Gary M. Jones found that Army officers told soldiers to remain quiet about the circumstances of Tillman's death for fear of negative news coverage.
One or more members of the Tillman family will testify in the new hearings, in addition to Jessica Lynch herself.
The Tillman family have been very reluctantly outspoken since the tragic Death of Pat Tillman, "All I asked for is what happened to my son, and it has been lie after lie after lie," Tillman's father told the New York Times , explaining that he believed the matter should remain "between me and the military" but that he had grown too troubled to keep silent.
Quoted elsewhere Mr Tillman has stated “The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons... This cover-up started within minutes of Pat's death, and it started at high levels. This is not something that (lower-ranking) people in the field do,” he said.
"After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Mr Tillman has said. "They purposely interfered with the investigation …. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out."
Mr Tillman is certain that a cover up has been perpetrated and believes his son's death may not even have been an accident.
"There is so much nonstandard conduct, both before and after Pat was killed, that you have to start to wonder," Mr. Tillman said. "How much effort would you put into hiding an accident? Why do you need to hide an accident?"
Kevin Tillman, Pat's brother (pictured above) has also been very outspoken and recently slammed the Bush administration and the war in Iraq in a lengthy article . Kevin Tillman wrote: Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started. Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated. Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated. Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated. Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe. Somehow torture is tolerated. Somehow lying is tolerated.
Indeed, it has been revealed since his death that Pat Tillman was himself highly critical of the war in Iraq where he also served a tour of duty. Fellow soldiers have described the well spoken, well educated Tillman as having strong views, often openly stating "this war is so f— illegal." and describing Tillman as "totally against Bush.”
Moved in part by the 9/11 attacks, Tillman decided to give up his career, saying he wanted to fight al Qaeda and help find Osama bin Laden. He spurned an offer of a three year, $3.6 million NFL contract extension with Arizona Cardinals and joined the Army in June 2002.
Instead of going to Afghanistan, as Tillman expected, their Ranger battalion was sent to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Word of the new hearings comes three years after Tillman was killed and two weeks after the Pentagon released the latest findings of its own investigations into Pat Tillman's death. The latest report once again faults as many as nine officers as responsible for mistakes and irregularities during the investigation into Tillman's death, but also dismisses the notion of a cover up, much the same as a previous report did in 2005.
In all, the Army and Defense Department have conducted five investigations into Tillman's April 22, 2004 death, with the most recent one pointing toward high-ranking military officers knowing the circumstances of his death long before Tillman's family.
As reported by the AP, a memo sent to a four-star general a week after Tillman's death revealed that then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that it was "highly possible" the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire. McChrystal made it clear his warning should be conveyed to the president.
The memo was provided to the AP by a government official who requested anonymity because the document was not released as part of the Pentagon's official report into the way the Army brass withheld the truth. McChrystal was, and still is, commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, head of "black ops" forces and was the highest-ranking officer accused of wrongdoing in the report.
Tillman's parents have since stated that they believe the memo backs the cover up theory. "He knew it was friendly fire in the very beginning, and he never intervened to help, and he essentially has covered up a crime in order to promote the war," Mary Tillman said in a telephone interview. "All of this was done for PR purposes."
As the AP commented, The memo reinforces suspicions that the Pentagon was more concerned with sparing officials from embarrassment than with leveling with Tillman's family.
Although it is encouraging that the high profile Tillman and Lynch cases are being investigated, it seems there are countless others that should be deserving of the same treatment. One such example is the case of Jess Buryj , a soldier from Canton, Ohio, who (it turns out) died in a friendly fire incident – shot in the back.
When his parents were told by the U.S. military that Polish soldiers were responsible for his death, a soldier who served with Buryi could not bear for the truth to be buried and so told Buryi's parents that an American G.I. was actually at fault. Buryj's father was so shaken by the alleged cover-up that he came to question whether the body they buried was even their son's.
Again and again, the press, the public, parents and spouses have been lied to about how young Americans in the military have died. The lies and the propaganda are endemic, just as the Bush government cannot afford to allow Americans to see flag draped coffins coming home, nor can they allow the truth of the war machine to be exposed and jeopardize their international killing spree.
--submitted by Patti Woodard