Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fort Lewis soldier shot on U.S. base, say parents

Iraq: Daughter was shot in back of head, mother says

SCOTT FONTAINE; The News Tribune
Last updated: November 25th, 2009 01:59 AM (PST)

The parents of a Fort Lewis soldier killed in Iraq earlier this month say someone shot their daughter on an American military base near Kirkush.
Staff Sgt. Amy Tirador of Colonie, N.Y., died Nov. 4 in what the military called a noncombat incident. Her mother told The News Tribune on Tuesday that her 29-year-old daughter was shot execution-style, in the back of the head.

The military is investigating, a process that could take two or three months. Until then, officials are releasing few details.

“It was not a suicide,” said her mother, Colleen Murphy. “And it was not an accident. There are so many scenarios about what could have happened, and that’s why everyone is being so closed-mouthed about it.”

Tirador served as an Arabic-speaking interrogator in Diyala province with the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. A spokesman for the American military unit overseeing operations throughout northern Iraq said investigators are still determining whether Tirador’s death was accidental, a suicide or a homicide.

“Here at Task Force Marne we will do our best to keep Staff Sgt. Tirador’s family informed as the investigation progresses,” Maj. Jeff Allen wrote in an e-mail. “There are no further details we can add right now.”

A 3rd Brigade spokesperson did not respond to an e-mail requesting more information.

Murphy also has enlisted the support of the offices of Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats.

“They’re behind us 100 percent,” Murphy said. “We’ll find the person or persons that did this, and we’ll find out the complete truth.”

Tirador’s father, Gerard Seyboth, could not be reached by The News Tribune. But he told WRGB-TV in Albany, N.Y., that his daughter’s work as an interrogator made her a “high-profile target.”

The soldier’s grandfather delivered a strong rebuke to the alleged gunman during Tirador’s funeral Nov. 17.

“Whoever did this crime, I hope they rot in hell,” Thomas Murphy said, according to the Albany Times-Union.

Tirador enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1999 and transferred to active duty in 2001. She deployed to Turkey in 2003 and to Iraq in 2004. She returned to Iraq in August with the 3rd Brigade.

She entered the military as a combat medic but began training to be a military intelligence collector in 2005. She arrived at Fort Lewis in January 2008.

Her husband, Mickey Tirador, was in Iraq on his third tour of duty when his wife was killed. The couple were married for three years and planned to start a family next year, according to the Times-Union

Her mother told the newspaper Tirador was “a female soldier in a man’s world” who tried to defy the stereotypes of women in the armed forces.

Tirador was the sixth woman from Fort Lewis to die in either Iraq or Afghanistan since the wars began, and the first since September 2006.

Scott Fontaine: 253-320-4758

Originally published: November 25th, 2009 12:44 AM (PST)

Monday, November 23, 2009

U.S. soldier found guilty of abusing subordinates in Iraq

By Joe Sterling, CNN

Sgt. Jarrett Taylor was convicted at a special court martial
He was found guilty of making false statements, cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates
Charges stem from investigation of soldier's suicide

(CNN) -- A U.S. military court demoted and jailed a soldier for mistreating troops in Iraq, behavior discovered during the investigation of another soldier's suicide.

Sgt. Jarrett Taylor, 23, of Edmond, Oklahoma, was convicted at a special court martial at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, that ended on Friday, the military said.

He was found guilty of making false official statements and cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates.

The soldier was reduced to the rank of private, sentenced to 180 days in confinement and ordered to forfeit $933 in pay for the next six months, the military said.

Taylor was among four Multi-National Division South soldiers who were charged with cruelty and maltreatment of soldiers in their platoon, Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, MNF-South spokesman in Basra, told CNN in an email Saturday. All were from the 13th Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

The charges, filed August 19, stemmed from information discovered during an investigation of Pvt. Keiffer P. Wilhelm's suicide in August.

Olson said Taylor and the other three officers were in supervisory positions over Wilhelm, a 19-year-old from Plymouth, Ohio.

"It is unclear if Sgt. Taylor's actions contributed to Pvt. Wilhelm's decision to take his life," Olson said.

"As for morale, we believe that Sgt. Taylor's behavior was isolated to a single platoon. Sgt. Taylor was immediately removed from his supervisory duties as soon as the allegations were discovered during the initial investigation in Pvt. Wilhelm's death."

The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred at Forward Operating Base Hunter in Maysan Province in southern Iraq.

The other soldiers charged are Staff Sgt. Enoch Chatman, 30, of West Covina, California, and Staff Sgt. Bob Clements, 29, of Eastland, Texas. They are subject to a future court martial, the military said. Spc. Daniel Weber, 24, of Frankenmuth, Michigan, was discharged in lieu of a court martial, according to the statement.

Olson said in August that the soldiers were accused of engaging in "verbal abuse, physical punishment and ridicule of subordinates." He described the physical punishment as falling into the category of "undue calisthenics."

Find this article at:

Blog Editor's note:

Within our support group for families, we observe that this type of bullying and misuse of power is pervasive in U.S. Military Services and contributes to non-combat deaths in various ways.

In the U.K. and in other countries around the World, families have set up websites which directly address bullying by its name and document it in the Military.

Military hierarchy is the perfect milieu for bullies and lack of oversight allows it to be rampant. Enlisted military personnel have little recourse when victimized by superior officers and gangs of military personnel exercising group mentality in targeting individuals.

It is a positive development that the Army has addressed this in this case. It is also positive, in my opinion, that they have not covered up the investigation.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Staff Sgt. Amy Tirador

From the Albany Times Union:

First published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday was the day, as Colleen Murphy so aptly put it, to honor the memory of her daughter, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Amy Seyboth Tirador of Colonie.

Even a cursory review of this young woman's life reveals achievement, commitment and purpose that are impressive by any standards. To think she did it all by just 29 -- accomplished Army interrogator; recipient of a Bronze Star, for saving another soldier's life; trained Arabic linguist -- is to marvel and, of course, to wonder about all the feats and challenges that might have awaited her.

Sadly, what Ms. Murphy called the day things begin, not end, brought mourning, accolades and then burial with military honors at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. Staff Sgt. Tirador has the distinction of being the first woman from the Capital Region to die in the Iraq war. She was on her third wartime deployment.

What might begin today, then, is the dispatch of answers to all the questions that surround the death of Staff Sgt. Tirador. She leaves this earth with honor and demonstrated valor, certainly, yet the occasion lacks the finality that wartime deaths generally bring. The sense of loss is magnified by the confusion that persists, at least for now, over the nature of what the Army calls a noncombat death.

Ms. Murphy calls it an execution. Staff Sgt. Tirador apparently died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. War, an ugly business under the most innocent of circumstances, hits home in an especially haunting way.

The loyal service of a dedicated soldier is a two-way commitment, of course. To truly respect the memory of Staff Sgt. Tirador and to even begin to ease the pain of her family -- notably her husband, Mickey Tirador, serving his third tour in the Iraq war -- her friends and contemporaries require an accounting of how she died, and how this particular loss of live might have been avoided.

"I thank you for allowing us to honor you." Ms. Murphy said as she eulogized her daughter at the Reach Out Fellowship church in Colonie. That noble task might well be an unending one. But it also might be easier and more complete with all the unpleasant mysteries resolved.

Staff Sgt. Tirador joins at least seven other soldiers with ties to the Capital Region to die in Iraq. The first was U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Robbins, originally from Delmar, in 2004. He, too, was buried at Saratoga National Cemetery, on what would have been his 28th birthday. Five years later, the war plays out in an eerily similar way.

To say farewell to Staff Sgt. Tirador is to recall those who were killed in Iraq before her, regardless of the circumstances. It's also to think of who might be next and who, finally, will be the last.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reflections on Nick's Death

Picking up Patterns in Military “Investigations” of Non-combat Deaths: Part 4:

Nick was a little above average in basic training in that he was the youngest in his platoon and he was very athletic. He thrived in basic training. When I went through 20 years ago, I was in agony and couldn’t wait for it to be over. It wasn’t like that for Nick; he wrote to me telling me he felt that God had him there for a reason. At that time in his life, his future looked very bright. The disciplined military life agreed with him.

Even after his injury in jump school, he was still excited about his future. He had no intentions of quitting or delaying his career. It is at this point that his innocence and our ignorance allowed the downward spiral.

In retrospect, I should have demanded to speak to someone about his orders to Alaska and Nick’s physical welfare concerning his foot. But I did not because my son wanted to go. He wanted to handle his own affairs. It was a transitioning time for him, changing from boy to man but it was not a time for him to deal with such affairs on his own. This is where we ran into the Feres Doctrine.

When Nicholas was in Alaska, we (his father, stepmother and myself) tried very hard to be involved in his medical care and decisions. We called his doctor’s office several times and were told (of course) that Nick would need to sign paperwork for information to be released to us, his parents. We asked Nick about it almost continually, and I don’t know who was responsible, but the papers were never signed.

Life was totally different for Nick when he arrived in Alaska. Prior to his injury, he experienced the brotherhood of the military; he was part of the whole, had a plan and a purpose. When he arrived in Alaska he was immediately ostracized; he was vulnerable and made more work for some in his unit who were assigned to assist him. From what I understand, his unit was preparing to deploy to Iraq and their new recruit was damaged goods. They took him out “with the guys” and left him, abandoned him, with no ride and he was unable to walk far because he was on crutches. And for goodness sake, it was Alaska!!

He was assigned to various detail work, which he really didn’t mind because he felt he was at least contributing. But it was in this time period that his fellow soldiers turned against him and he became an object of contempt and abuse. The brotherhood was no longer looking after him. Please remember that he was still only 18 years old.

I have read several cases where the details and circumstances are the same as my son’s; same story, different man. In synopsis, here is what I mean: Young serviceman is injured and placed in a medical hold facility where he is treated like a new recruit who has done something wrong. His basic privileges are limited; it is more like prison or a detention home rather than a place to heal. I had the feeling the people assigned to run these facilities did not like their assignments. They viewed the injured as weak. There were bizarre discipline procedures designed to humiliate and belittle the service member.

My son’s medical records show that they were habitually inconsistent in administering his medications. Records also show he was given drugs that were known to promote suicidal thoughts and they changed the type of medicine they gave to him almost daily. His body had no time to adjust, as there was no consistent care. Injury, depression, isolation, ridicule, physical and mental abuse, and a variety of medications would leave any person in a state of confusion and degradation. They take strong, viable young men and kick them when they’re down. It is not unlike a woman in an abusive relationship: it is a gradual breakdown of body and spirit, an atmosphere of control and abuse.

I have read multiple times of the patterns of abuse in these hold units, like wardens who abuse prisoners. But the soldiers in medical hold were not criminals, they were just injured, and most of them, young.

Another common thread is death by suicide. Suicide almost always came within days or hours of them being released to go home…they were so close to leaving the hell they were in. Although suicide rarely makes sense to the survivors, it is almost inconceivable that in a few hours my son was going to be home but he decided to kill himself?? His freedom was right there, and it is the same with so many young men who withstood ridicule and heart wrenching abuse, only to end their fight by hanging themselves in the latrine?? Again, my son is not the only one who “hung himself with his shoelace in the latrine”. COME ON!!!

Here is another thing: my son was an easy target because he was depressed. Near the end of his life, he was a mess because of the environment he was held in and the circumstances regarding his medical care. So it was easy to say “Look, he couldn’t take it anymore and took his life.” But I say no, he didn’t take his life, his life was just about to begin again. He was getting ready to start over. Remember the beginning of the story? He was thriving, strong and full of purpose.

These events took place over the period of 19 months. He was a young 19 year old boy when he died.

Kim Smith
Mother of Pvt Nicholas A. Davis
United States Army

Friday, November 13, 2009

Army Suicide Data for October 2009

The Army today released suicide data for the month of October. Among active-duty soldiers, there were 16 potential suicides, all of which are pending determination of the manner of death. For September, the Army reported seven potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, three have been confirmed as suicides, and four remain under investigation.

There were 133 reported active-duty Army suicides from January 2009 through October 2009. Of those, 90 have been confirmed, and 43 are pending determination of manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 115 suicides among active-duty soldiers.

During October 2009, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were eight potential suicides. Among that same group, from January 2009 through October 2009, there were 69 reported suicides. Of those, 41 were confirmed as suicides, and 28 remain under investigation to determine the manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 47 suicides among reserve soldiers who were not on active duty.

"Stigma continues to be one of the most difficult challenges we confront," said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. "The more we educate our Army community about the need to get help, the need to get it early, and that a full recovery is often possible, the less stigma we'll see."

In March, the Army chartered a multi-disciplinary suicide prevention task force to make rapid improvements across the full spectrum of health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention programs. Since its establishment, the task force has made more than 170 improvements to the Army's health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention policies and programs.

In addition to the Army's efforts to curb suicides, on October 1, Army leaders announced the formal beginning of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. This holistic program is designed to give the same emphasis to psychological, emotional, and mental strength that is given to physical strength.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness uses a balanced, multi-faceted approach and a life-long learning model that includes individual assessment, tailored virtual training, classroom training at all levels of Army education, and embedded resilience experts to provide soldiers the critical skills they need to face any and all of life's challenges. It is a true prevention model, aimed at the entire force.

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at .

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence (DCOE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center. Trained consultants are available from both organizations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental U.S. is 1-800-342-9647; their Web site address is Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource Web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.

The DCOE Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at, and at .

The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at .

More information about the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at

Source: Official Department of Defense Announcement

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

US marine slain by fellow soldier at N Carolina base

Mon, 09 Nov 2009 19:09:16 GMT

A US marine has been killed by a fellow soldier in Camp Lejeune, military investigators at the Marine base in North Carolina have found.

Private Jonathan Law, 21, "is in the custody of military authorities... for the alleged homicide of Corporal Joshua E. Hartzell, 22, early Friday morning," said Captain Timothy Patrick, base public affairs officer on Monday, reported AFP.

"The victim did not die from a gunshot wound," Patrick said. "But other than that, we don't have any other information."

Patrick said that Law was taken to a hospital for attempted suicide and was sent to the camp's jail after receiving treatment at a civilian hospital "for self-inflicted wounds."

Law, a supply administration clerk, enlisted in the Marines in August 2006 and served in Iraq between August 2007 and March 2008 and has won several awards, including the Iraqi Campaign Medal.

The victim was a maintenance technician specializing in fixing night vision equipment. He joined the Marines in September 2006 and has also won numerous awards, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

It was not immediately known whether the two soldiers knew each other before the incident.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dr. Baughman's Letter to the Editor




Tim Lemmer, Editor, Letters

Wall Street Journal

To the Editor:

Re: Suicide Toll Fuels Worry That Army is Strained, by Yochi J. Dreazen, WSJ, November 3, 2009

There are frequent, sudden deaths occurring in the military due to its policy of reckless, anti-scientific, psychiatric drug, polypharmacy. I say "anti-scientific" because, in psychiatry, there are no actual physical abnormalities/diseases to make normal (e.g., insulin in diabetes, chemotherapy in cancer, antibiotics for infections)--only diabolically crafted, ‘big lie’ illusions of diseases. Although antipsychotics (Ray, et al, 2009), antidepressants (Whang, et al, 2009) and psychostimulants/amphetamines (Gould, et al, 2009).) have been proved to increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, they are routinely prescribed together, as if no such risk was known.

While Surgeon General of the Army Eric B. Schoomaker acknowledged a "series, a sequence" of deaths, in a February 7, 2008, Chicago Tribune interview, there has been no explanation of these deaths--only continued references to "suicides" and "accidental drug overdoses" --always adding that illegal drugs and substances were also involved.

Stan White (father of deceased veteran Andrew White) and I have "Googled" over a hundred such military deaths. Young men in their twenties do not suddenly die for no reason at all, to be "found" "in their barracks," “at their workstations," or “in their beds," but never, beforehand, seen semi-comatose, comatose, and never resuscitated, never making it to a hospital or ICU, and never surviving--all of which are common with the more usual central nervous system depressant drug overdose. In Atypical antyipsychotic drugs and the risk of Sudden Cardiac Death, Ray et al, NEJM 2009;360:225-35, wrote: “The study end point was SCD (sudden cardiac death) occurring in the community. SCD was defined as a sudden pulseless condition that was fatal, that was consistent with a ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and that occurred in the absence of a known noncardiac condition as the proximate cause of death. The end point excluded deaths of patients who had been admitted to the hospital, deaths that were not sudden, and deaths for which there was evidence of an extrinsic cause (e.g., drug overdose), a non-cardiac cause (e.g., pneumonia), or a cardiac cause that was not consistent with a ventricular tachyarrhythmia (e.g., heart failure).”

It is time for the truth about these deaths from the Surgeon General of the Army and from the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees.

It is time for an end to the for-profit, anti-scientific, psychiatric drugging, not just of the US military, but of the US public-at-large—the greatest health care fraud in history. Either the House, the Senate and White House find the will to say "no" to Big Pharma or we will all become, drugged, dependent, zombies.

-- re-printed with the permission of the author

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Case of PVT. Nicholas Davis: Another Hanging in the Barracks

Picking up Patterns in Military “Investigations” of Non-combat Deaths: Part 3:

This is the narration of events as written by Nicholas' mother, Kim Slapak Smith:

Nicholas signed up for the Army on June 24, 2003 through the Delayed Entry Program when he was 17 years old. On January 20, 2004, in the middle of his senior year, he left for basic training. He was the youngest one in his platoon; (Ruff Ryder, A. Co. 1 - 19th INF, ITB, 9075 Holcomb Dr., Ft. Benning, GA 31905) he excelled at PT and was asked to help those soldiers who couldn’t keep up. Nicholas entered Jump School at Ft. Benning on May 10th. On May 25th his parachute failed and he fell 1250 feet. Amazingly, he did not die; however, his left ankle was severely injured, resulting in surgery and permanent damage.

Ironically, his parachute and gear were missing when his father inquired about it the next day.

Despite his injured status, Nick was sent to Fort Wainwright, Alaska in July 2004. We, as parents, wondered who ordered that? How did he pass a physical to go? What was the plan for him when he got there? Nicholas was just 18 years and one month old at the time and had no counseling regarding the parachute accident and possible post traumatic stress.

When Nick arrived in Alaska he was in an air-cast and on crutches. It is my belief that this is when he began enduring abuse from his sergeants and others in his platoon. This unit was preparing to deploy to Iraq and Nick, who was still holding a Ranger status, was not fit for battle or even for regular duty. He held odd jobs within his unit for a while and then with the permission of someone on Ft. Wainwright, enrolled in The University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

His reassignment of barracks seemed fishy to me. They moved him across base where he would have to travel to get to the mess hall. I remember him talking about how hard it was for him to get around, how those who were assigned to give him rides and help him out were not doing well by him. I remember talking about for us (me, Nick’s father and his Aunt Becky in the Navy) the military was like a family; we took care of each other. But it wasn’t like that for Nick.

The sergeants and fellow soldiers in A Co., 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, Ft. Wainwright, AK began tormenting and threatening one of their own. A portion of his unit even paid a visit to one of Nick's friends from college, threatening to beat him up if he did not stop associating with Nick. He was an injured, isolated soldier who wanted to serve his country however he could. He would have done anything in his power to remain one of the elite. But he was no good to his unit and they saw him as an easy target. He feared for his life several times. It became hell for him and Nicholas saw no way to survive other than to leave.

Nick went AWOL for the month of February 2005. He was set up by an acquaintance and caught by his company commander and the MP's. It was reported to me that he was not taken in easily. The MP's turned their backs while the unit beat him up. It was soon after this that Nicholas attempted suicide. I've been told that the mental ward was where my son felt safe. After a couple of weeks he was returned to his unit. In April he left again, this time flying to his home town in West Virginia. He stayed with some friends, got a job and enrolled in college. But Nick was a patriot and knew the commitment he had made. He decided to return to the Army, hoping that he would not be sent back to his unit in Alaska.

He was taken to the US Army Personnel Control Facility (PCF), US Army Armor Center, Ft. Knox, KY. The day he arrived. near the end of May, he signed paperwork for a dishonorable discharge in lieu of a court martial. Somehow, the abuse he suffered in Alaska found him at Ft. Knox. On June 15th he was admitted to a hospital in Radcliff, KY for another suicide attempt.

Again, he chose the safety of the mental ward. On June 27th his discharge was approved. Nick was released from the hospital on July 12th. He made arrangements to go home on the 14th but he never made it. Nicholas was murdered in the latrine and hung on the back of a latrine door in the 7pm hour of July 13, 2005.

My son was a young soldier who should have been protected and mentored by anyone his senior. He was an eager learner with desires to help people. After the parachute accident he somehow slipped through the cracks of the system and all of a sudden no one knew what to do with him. One commander after another let him slide through without concern for his well-being.

"outspoken" women were a threat to the "integrity of the meeting."

Col. Ann Wright writes in Truthout:

My Daughter's Dream Became a Nightmare: The Murder of Military Women Continues