Friday, November 06, 2009

Investigation Continues Into Deadly Fort Hood Shootings

Amid all the confusion and contradictory reports about yesterday's carnage and savage deaths of 13 US soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, some facts are finally coming to the forefront. Army psychiatrist Major Malik Nadal Hasan is believed to be the shooter. He is still alive after being shot four times.
The gunman, who was still alive after being shot four times, was identified by law enforcement authorities as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, who had been in the service since 1995. Major Hasan was about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas.

Clad in a military uniform and firing an automatic pistol and another weapon, Major Hasan, a balding, chubby-faced man with heavy eyebrows, sprayed bullets inside a crowded medical processing center for soldiers returning from or about to be sent overseas, military officials said.

The victims, nearly all military personnel but including two civilians, were cut down in clusters, the officials said. Witnesses told military investigators that medics working at the center tore open the clothing of the dead and wounded to get at the wounds and administer first aid.

As the shooting unfolded, military police and civilian officers of the Department of the Army responded and returned the gunman’s fire, officials said, adding that Major Hasan was shot by a first-responder, who was herself wounded in the exchange.

In the confusion of a day of wild and misleading reports, the major and the officer who shot him were both reported killed in the gun battle, but both reports were erroneous.

Eight hours after the shootings, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, a base spokesmen, said Major Hasan, whom he described as the sole gunman, had been shot four times, but was hospitalized off the base, under around-the-clock guard, in stable condition and was not in imminent danger of dying.
There were apparently no others involved in the shooting, although there were two people who were taken into custody and released several hours later.

MSNBC reports Hasan was "mortified" about a deployment overseas. He began having doubts about his military service beginning a few years ago. So he went and murdered 13 soldiers and wounded 31 others? If he was having doubts, why accept the promotion and not separate from service through an honorable discharge after completing the terms of his service?

Then, there are several online postings attributed to him that suggest that he was going down the path of a jihadi:
There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that "IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE" and Allah (SWT) knows best. [emphasis added]

Video footage shows Hasan the morning of the attack at a convenience store wearing a Muslim cap and robe, which runs counter to Army records which say that he had no religious preference.
A co-worker at Walter Reed said Hasan would not allow his photo to be taken with female co-workers, which became an issue during Christmas season when employees often took group photos. Co-workers would find a solo photo of Hasan and post it on the bulletin board without his permission.

Lee told Fox News that Hasan "was hoping that President Obama would pull troops out. . . . When things weren't going that way, he became more agitated, more frustrated with the conflicts over there. . . . He made his views well known about how he felt about the U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

And when he talked about fighting "the aggressor," he said that his fellow soldiers "should stand up and help the armed forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan," Lee said.
It appears that he did have a preference for being a devout Muslim but didn't want the Army to know, although his actions showed something quite different?

Moreover he had once been disciplined for proselytizing, and a report this morning says that he shouted Allahu Akbar as he began his shooting rampage. If that's confirmed, this was not some weird case of post traumatic stress disorder (which could be remotely possible based on his close contact with soldiers who were relating their war experiences to him in the course of their treatment and Hasan couldn't deal with it), but rather another instance of an individual Muslim engaging in jihad.

The NY Post reports that Hasan had hired an attorney to help him get out of a deployment.
In recent years, he expressed his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and had become angry that President Obama hadn't withdrawn troops from the region.

"He would make comments to other individuals about how we should not be in the war in the first place," Lee told Fox.

He said Hasan would often make "outlandish" comments.

"He said maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor," Lee said.

"At first, we thought he meant help the armed forces, but apparently, that wasn't the case."

Nader Hasan told Fox his cousin, a disaster and trauma specialist, had hired a military lawyer to help him get out of deployment.
There is something seriously amiss here as the various disjointed facts come together as to how Hasan was promoted in May despite concerns about his Internet postings, and the fact he was placed in close proximity to soldiers ready to embark to one of the theaters of operation - Iraq and Afghanistan, where Hasan thought they were going to kill Muslims. Did the Army fail to heed the warning signs here? Did he fall through the cracks.

What is going on with the Los Angeles Times? Patterico notes that the LAT is suppressing any mention of Hasan's religious views, actions, and statements alleged to have been made by him that would contradict the meme that Hasan was a PTSD victim despite never having been in combat. The LAT also is in the habit of simply overlaying reports on each other using the same URL, rather than providing separate reports to show updates. Earlier reports simply go down the memory hole.

Based on the video showing Hasan wearing traditional garb, and a report that Hasan sold off his possessions in the past few weeks, I wonder whether Hasan underwent wudu (ritual purification) ahead of the attack yesterday. It definitely seems that he had prepared himself for some action. There's also an update on the number injured and no confirmation as yet to whether Hasan had indeed said Allahu Akbar:
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said officials had not yet confirmed that the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, made the comment before the rampage Thursday. Hasan was among 30 people wounded in the shooting spree and remained hospitalized on a ventilator.

All but two of the injured were still hospitalized, and all were in stable condition.
The FBI has seized Hasan's computer and are continuing their investigation in to Hasan's motives.

According to this NPR report, Hasan was giving off all kinds of warning signs to his coworkers at Walter Reed, which is where he was based before heading to Fort Hood, which again makes me wonder why he was promoted in light of his behavior/attitude.

Instapundit has more on the NPR segment, and how the story is being edited and adjusted as the day goes on. However, the takeaway paragraphs are as follows:
He gave a Grand Rounds presentation. . . You take turns giving a lecture on, you know, the correct treatment of schizophrenia, the right drugs to prescribe for personality disorder, you know, that sort of thing. But instead of giving an academic paper, he gave a lecture on the Koran, and they said it didn’t seem to be just an informational lecture, but it seemed to be his own beliefs. That’s what a lot of people thought.

He talked about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire. And I said well couldn’t this just be his educating you? And the psychiatrist said yes, but one of the Muslims in the audience, another psychiatrist, raised his hand and was quite disturbed and he said you know, a lot of us don’t believe these things you’re saying, and that there was no place where Hasan couched it as this is what the Koran teaches but you know I don’t believe it. And people actually talked in the hallway afterwards about ‘is he one of these people that’s going to freak out and shoot people someday?’
In other words, his coworkers and associates were wondering if this guy was a ticking time bomb, and yet it didn't raise flags come promotion time? It would appear that someone may have dropped the ball here, and perhaps someone may not have wanted to come forward to address this issue because of the religious issues involved?

This further adds to my thesis that this wasn't a sudden inspiration to kill, but a premeditated act. I am awaiting to see if the reports indicate whether Hasan picked the time and place for the attack so as to maximize casualties - in conjunction with the intake for soldiers as well as the graduation ceremony, etc. all in the hall?

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