Monday, October 08, 2007

Deaths and drugs and "dancing Indians"

As noted in an earlier post, Ciara Durkin was a financial officer doing payroll at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Not long ago, she died mysteriously. Before her apparent murder, she had told her sister: "I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it."

In 2004, Spc. Juan Torres died in an unnervingly similar fashion on the same base. The Army says that Torres died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. (The Army originally told Durkin's family that she had been killed in action.)
Veronica Santiago [Jusan Torres' sister] told the World that, at the funeral, July 20 in Houston, the captain, who was one of her brother’s superiors at Bagram, “hugged me and said, ‘I’m really sorry. Don’t believe what the Army’s telling you.’”

A month later Santiago received a call from the captain. She told Santiago she had important Criminal Investigation Division (CID) documents, and that “it was going to be ‘a big deal.’” Santiago said, “She kept saying that” over and over. The captain told John’s mother she was going to write a long letter about the case, but to date the family has not heard anything more from her.

Another soldier told the family that drugs were rampant at Bagram, and that she herself had used drugs there. According to Santiago, the soldier said she had seen drug sales taking place in a room at the base, with large amounts of cash on a table. The soldier said she believed Spc. Torres must have seen something he didn’t approve of, and paid with his life. Santiago said her brother was a person who spoke out if he saw something he didn’t approve of. “Knowing him, he would have told somebody, he would have made it known.”
As Kos diarist MichiganGirl reminds us, Seymour Hersh did a major expose of the drug trade at Bagram.
The drug lords traditionally processed only hashish inside the Afghan borders, and shipped poppies to heroin-production plants in northern Pakistan and elsewhere. A senior U.N. narcotics official told me that in the past two years “most of the heroin has been processed in Afghanistan, as part of a plan to keep profits in-country.” Only a fraction of what is produced in Afghanistan is used there, the officer said. Nonetheless, a U.S. government-relief official told me, the “biggest worry” is that the growth in local production will increase the risk of addiction among G.I.s. A former C.I.A. officer who served in Afghanistan also said that the agency’s narcotics officials have been independently investigating military drug use.
We have to send a message to anyone else who might find themselves in the position of a Ciara Durkin or a Juan Torres: Spill the beans -- to someone -- fast.

You won't be safe if you act like a "Dancing Indian."

That's a slang term employed by a friend of mine, an investigative writer. The reference goes to a 40s-era Bugs Bunny cartoon set in the old west. Every so often, a goofy-looking Indian pops up and does a little dance while chanting "I know something I won't tell! I know something I won't tell!"

Word to the wise: If you know something, tell. No other choice is safe.


Anonymous said...

CIVILIAN Geraldine Marquez, 31from Victorville, CA died at Bagram Air Base when a bomb exploded at the front gate the day that Vice President Dick Cheney visited. She lived in Ontario for several years before moving to Victorville. She was a civilian contractor for Lockheed Martin and had previously served in the US Air Force. Her birthday was the day before her death. She was escorting several Afghan truck drivers inside the gate when a suicide bomber approached and blew himself up killing many people. She had been in Afghanistan since October 2006. Her main job was handling incoming shipments of supplies for the base and mostly doing the paperwork for those supplies. Geraldine was born in Nogales, Mexico then moved to several places including Glendora, Ontario and Victorville. She had been home-schooled and wanted a life filled with travel and learning. She joined the Air Force and got out after eight years in June 2003.

Anonymous said...

More Lockheed Martin - Cheney. Not drawing any conclusions. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

the pot is calling the kettle black... my ex CIA friend came home from the war hooked on coke.

Anonymous said...

More on that Gulfstream N379P and the Bagram Airbase connection..

And they were put on the same Gulfstream jet we’ve seen a lot in rendition operations -- it operates from North Carolina by a company called Aero Contractors, a CIA front company -- and were sent in this plane to a -- first stopping in Egypt and then onto Afghanistan.

He is one of the first witnesses to come out of a CIA dark site, a black site, one of the first to exist, called the “Dark Prison.” And he describes this incredible experience of being locked up day after day, completely on his own, not even questioned, with music bombarding him, the music of madmen, he says, just bombarding him day after day. He said he couldn’t even see the end of his nose; it was that dark. And he was just left there for days on end. It was a form of psychological torture. I mean, eventually he was sent to Bagram, put in a cage in Bagram, beaten up there, he says, and then sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he remained for four years. He has just been released without any charge at all..