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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Marine tells of US torturing Afghans, commits murder-suicide

Today former Marine sergeant and veteran of the invasion of Afghanistan, Jeffrey Lehner (aged 42), will shoot his father, Edwin Lehner (aged 77), to death. He will then kill himself with a single gunshot wound to the head.

The veteran had previously been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, which may have been brought on in part by an incident in which 8 Marines unit died (source). Another contributing factor was observing CIA officers torturing and killing mostly innocent Afghans at Kandahar airport.

Before his death he was working with LA Times reporter Ann Louise Bardach to air his allegations. From an article in the LA Times

In the beginning, Jeff supported the administration's policies in the region. But over time, that began to change. As we talked, Jeff brought out an album of photos from Afghanistan. He pointed to a series of photographs of a trailer and several huts behind a barbed-wire fence; these were taken, he said, outside a U.S. military camp not far from the Kandahar airport. He told me that young Afghans some visible in blue jumpsuits in his photos had been rounded up and brought to the site by a CIA special operations team. The CIA officers made no great secret of what they were doing, he said, but were dismissive of the Marines and pulled rank when challenged.

Jeff said he had been told by soldiers who had been present that the detainees were being interrogated and tortured, and that they were sometimes given psychotropic drugs. Some, he believed, had died in custody. What disturbed him most, he said, was that the detainees were not Taliban fighters or associates of Osama bin Laden. "By the time we got there," Jeff said, "the serious fighters were long gone."

Jeff had other stories to tell as well. He said the CIA team had put detainees in cargo containers aboard planes and interrogated them while circling in the air. He'd been on board some of these flights, he said, and was deeply disturbed by what he'd seen.

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Further reading, opinions and commentary:

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your coverage on Jeff Lehner and PTSD. Jeff's death represents the potential outcome for thousands of returning veterans if PTSD goes unchecked. Please visit: www.lehnerfoundation.org to see how his death has inspired others to help our noble servicemen and women to heal from the effects of combat PTSD.

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