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Rolling Stone publishes more photos from Stryker “kill team”

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on March 28, 2011 at 9:29 am with 3 Comments »
March 28, 2011 1:01 pm

Another batch of “kill team” photos from Afghanistan hit the web last night, this time from Rolling Stone.

This set, like one published last week in Der Spiegel, shows two Stryker soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division posing separately with the corpse of an Afghan they allegedly murdered on Jan. 15, 2010 in a combat-like scenario they staged.

Rolling Stone’s photo gallery also includes gory images of a corpse soldiers in the Stryker platoon discovered when they investigated the scene of a helicopter strike on a Taliban fighter.

The Army kept the images under wraps since last May, when it started investigating suspicious killings carried about Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers during their deployment to southern Afghanistan. Der Spiegel’s publication of the images didn’t trigger much of an outcry among American allies around the world, but Rolling Stone’s piece could raise the stakes now that the photos are more accessible to a domestic audience.

Five soldiers in the platoon were charged with murder for killing three Afghans between January and May. Seven more in their platoon were charged with other misconduct.

So far, six of them have been punished at courts martial. Last week, Spc. Jeremy Morlock was sentenced to 24 years in prison after he pled guilty to participating in each of the three murders. He’s plea deal requires him to testify against his codefendants.

1 p.m. update:

Here’s a statement the Defense Department release today regarding the images in Rolling Stone.

“The photos published by Rolling Stone are disturbing and in striking contrast to the standards and values of the United States Army.  Like those published by Der Spiegel, the Army apologizes for the distress these latest photos cause.  Accountability remains the Army’s paramount concern in these alleged crimes.  Accordingly, we are in the midst of courts-martial, and we continue to investigate leads.  We must allow the judicial process to continue to unfold and be mindful that the government has distinct obligations to the victims and to the accused, which include compliance with the court’s protective order to ensure a fair trial.  That said, the Army will relentlessly pursue the truth, no matter where it leads, both in and out of court, no matter how unpleasant it may be, no matter how long it takes.  As an Army, we are troubled that any soldier would lose his ‘moral compass’ as one soldier said during his trial.  We will continue to do whatever we need to as an institution to understand how it happened, why it happened and what we need to do to prevent it from happening again.”

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. Interesting as to how the very same photos the Army has stridently and consistently refused to provide, allow access to, or even show to the accused soldier’s defense attorneys for analysis as part of their defense are now showing up for publication in Germany and now in Rolling Stone magazine.

    And not a word of ‘outrage’ or a demand for an investigation by the Army into HOW photos solely in the Army’s possession came into the hands of two international publications. How is this going to impact the pending courts martial and the rights of the accused soldiers? Yes, most interesting, and very alarming as well.

  2. mlbowens says:

    In June of 2009 the 5th Stryker Brigade was deployed to southern Afghanistan, the first stryker Brigade in Operation enduring Freedom. I was, as many of you know in the said stryker brigade, during our rotation to one of the deadliest places on earth we lost over 40 soldiers from enemy contact ranging from improvised explosives devices (IED) to actual fire fights. It has been recently brought to light in the liberal media ie rolling stone that some of the soldiers who may have done some wrong things but it has been blown out of porportion and comlete loss of perspective in most of the articles ive read. Most of the writers and people covering the story are ignorant to the going ons of the war and the honest brutality that the enemy shows our soldiers but of course rolling stone has left that side of the story out but i woint.

    In October a 800 pound IED was detonated on a stryker filled with young soldiers that gave their lives(7 killed in action) so the afghan people could have a better life without taliban reign. These young soldiers sacrifce for their lives has been over shawdowed by some soldiers who lets face it have som eissues up top. The soldiers in question have been constucted to be blood thirsty crazed mad men who had no disregard for human life and it could be true but before you shed an opinion on the sitution think. Think tha for the last three years you have been working in a small group of individuals every day and on christmas day when you are away from your loved ones and the amenities of the land of the free your company hits an IED and kills one of your comrades,friends,colleagues. Of course this would have an effect on your mental stability and possibly turn you into a revenge seeking pyscho. All i want for anyone who reads this is just look at things perspectively, and dont get it twisted what the soldiers did was wrong on all levels and i am in no way trying to reason their actions.

    What i do want is for all of you who read about the 5th Brigade is to not focus on the bad but rather good we did in the country of hell. Think of the ones who gave their lives for others to benefit,who gave their lives in a country they more than likely dont want to be in and they dont want us in,for the ones who followed their duty to the end and had sourage to face the enemy of the US,the young soldiers who at 18 made a decision that they are willing to sacrifice their well being for the american public and even more innocent people all around the world that are living in fear of groups like the taliban,mujahadeen,al queda and Qhadafis army.

    Thank you to anyone who actually read this and all feedback is encouraged.

  3. Adam Ashton says:

    Mlbowens, thank you for your service and for sharing your experience with us. Comments as thoughtful and personal as yours have been few and far between in these stories.

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