Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sergeant in charge of Afghan "Kill Team" gets life in prison for abusing his leadership position.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs
Courtesy of The News Tribune:

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord sergeant will spend the rest of his life in jail for abusing his leadership position and persuading junior soldiers to join him in plots to murder Afghan civilians in combat-like engagements last year. 

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs’ conviction Thursday affirms the Army’s depiction of him as a cold-blooded murderer who called Afghans “dirty savages” and openly cut fingers from corpses to bind his collaborators into a rogue “kill team.” 

He was found guilty of 15 criminal charges, including three murders. The murders carry a minimum sentence of life in prison. 

Gibbs appeared shocked as the jury forewoman read the verdict. His wife, Chelsy, sobbed. A sentencing session is under way in which Gibbs could win the possibility of parole. 

Gibbs, 26, fought the charges, arguing he was framed by pot smoking junior soldiers who shifted blame to him for their crimes in exchange for lighter punishment from the Army. He insisted he thought the killings took place in legitimate combat in enemy territory. 

But Gibbs couldn’t overcome layered testimony from his platoon mates. A five-soldier jury panel made up of three officers and two senior noncommissioned officers did not buy his defense.

As I am sure many of you remember this is the same group of murderers which included Wasilla resident, and Track Palin hockey pal, Jeremy Morlock, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty this last March.

These crimes are a terrible black mark on the United States, and its military, and I hope that this sentence will signal to the people of the world that we do not condone this type of abhorrent behavior even in a time of war. (Even illegal wars.)

However we also must realize that this may be the direct result of the Bush administration dramatically lowering the standards for military recruitment in a desperate attempt to meet recruitment goals and to keep young American bodies feeding the ravenous appetite for blood in Iraq.

I would like to believe that in a different time Morlock, with his history of violence and substance abuse,  would never have been accepted into the military.  The same should hold true of Gibbs, but because the military was fighting two wars and stretched well beyond its capabilities standards were lowered to allow just about anybody with a pulse to take up arms and represent this country in an environment where they were face to face with unspeakable horror, and where their grasp on their humanity was challenged at every turn. And this is the unfortunate result.

Sadly for the innocent Afghans who were targeted by this "kill team" there was nobody responsible enough to keep these deeply flawed men in check, and they were allowed to act as cold blooded assassins instead of soldiers.

I have little doubt that this incident, like Abu Ghraib before it, is only a small sampling of the atrocities committed on behalf of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I only wish I could believe that America would learn its lesson and NEVER send our citizens to foreign lands to kill their people on behalf of the military industrial complex. But I once fooled myself into believing that after Vietnam, and I am no longer nearly so naive. 


  1. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Here you go Gryphen:



    Listen in order, then get active and, like Pete, get a "machine [that] surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."

  2. Anonymous5:23 PM

    That picture seriously creeps me out. If you shaved his head, he would look just like the guy who shot Gabby Gifford. Same crazy look in his eyes. Much like the one in the picture of Sarah in an earlier post.

  3. I do think we have learned something since Vietnam. We have learned to support the soldiers. My husband did two tours in Vietnam and was spit on when he got home. That hasn't happened with this war.

  4. Anonymous6:17 PM

    The military will ALWAYS be a corrupt institution, one I will NEVER support. I support young men and women who join and give all. (Thanks Jeremy, Track and my family members for your voluntary service)

    However, if it weren't for bastardly controlling military leaders, my mother would be living a happy life. She was raped in the navy, impregnated, dishonorably discharged, and has struggled since.

    Jeremy Morlock is a good man who was one of the last people who wouldve been in that position. I would look closely to how it unfolds. The military has set up innocent soldiers before. They protect their leaders first and never hesitate to throw people under the bus and abuse power.

    I know you, Jesse, had to twist words and put your biased spin on the Morlock et al case (even when that has NOTHING To do with Palin, politics, or even Jeremy himself). But I wish you wouldn't denigrate a good man (good men). You've more than proven you really don't know the people you criticize and bring personal attacks upon. PLease don't slander them. These are GOOD people from good families.

  5. Anonymous6:20 PM

    I'm wary of those reasonings. People are set up in the military everyday. Power is abused every day.

    Gryphen, why do you insist tying one soldier to another just because they're from the same town? Jeremy and his army buddies actions have nothing to do with where they're from. I am near positive they have everything to do with corruption in the institution they joined. I say this because Jeremy is one of the best young men you'll meet: good brother, friend and loving father.

  6. He got the lightest possible sentence...possibility of parole in less than 9 years.


  7. Anonymous6:22 PM

    This is from Jeremy's facebook page which is public:

    "I would like to ask anyone who is willing to take the time to read a book I recently finished. It is called "The Good Soldier on Trial" by Stjepan Mestrovic. I cannot do justice to describe the eye opening events found in these pages and can only ask for you to read and see for yourself the war that some continue to fight even though they are no longer on the field of battle. Dr. Mestrovic has played an enormous role over the last year and a half in my own fight, dissecting hundreds upon hundreds of statements, court transcripts and Army doctrine. He has been a pillar of strength for me and my family and has become a true friend. I would like to thank those of you who contiune to support me and my family and to again strongly recommend that you read this book. Thank you and with much love, Jeremy Morlock"

    It's a good book. PLease read to inform yourself on the truth about the military.

  8. I was just coming here to post a ="">link to another article about the Afghanistan war crimes. Truly disgraceful. Wonder what the Palins think of their son's best friend's participation in this. People like Morlock and the Palins give everyone in Wasilla a bad name.

  9. Vietnam was no different. Google My Lai, or Tiger Force, or just "Vietnam atrocities."

    The military, especially combat arms, will always have a percentage of sociopaths who kill for the love of it, or weaklings who go power mad when given deadly weapons, or adrenaline junkies who get addicted to the rush of killing before he kills you, or low-IQ grunts who simply don't know what they're doing. Then indoctrinate all these men with the belief that the enemy is less than human, so it's okay to kill them. That's the way it goes.

    So my husband has told me. He was an infantry officer for 23 years, a platoon leader in Vietnam in 1969-70.

  10. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Remember Jeremy is just ONE of many many military personnel who fall prey to powerhungry leaders. It seems you're still demonizing him and speaking from a place you have no insight or intelligence in. That's no smart. You don't know any of the boys involved, nor do you know how they were set up.

    Stop demonizing good soldiers who have wonderful families and have never been anything but incredible human beings.

  11. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Of course we don't condone behavior like that, except you forget to mention that "behavior" like that is not new. Just like rampant sexual trauma and abuse in the military is not new. Any institution where ranking exists, you're going to find abuse of power. That is exactly what happened with the murders. Don't blame the soldiers involved. They were following orders. I fully believe that. I don't know them personally but I know Jeremy's friends were shocked beyond belief that he was in that position, as were people who know him well.

    While strong Defense is needed, we have got to do something about military corruption. Women are not safe amongst their own people. I would even say some men aren't safe amongst higher ranking individuals.

    My best friend's father was a lifelong navy man and boy does he have issues. Chronic alcoholism, tried to rape all his children when they were preteens, had consensual sex with his teen son. I'm not saying the navy made him this way, but in that environment, he certainly flourished.

  12. Anonymous6:40 PM

    He's only a Staff Sergeant??!

    Aren't there any officers charged in this scandal? Staff Sergeants can't do something this evil without a C.O. finding out about it. (Or condoning it, for that matter.)

    I'm not saying he's innocent, but methinks this lad might be taking a fall for someone.

  13. Anonymous6:42 PM

    The sergeants or whomever who were controlling Morlock and the others need to be severely punished. What a crime to take innocent young men and turn them into menaces, something they wouldn't dream of doing.

    And OUR media only continued to spread lies. Remember Rolling Stone? ALL LIES. Easily proven.

  14. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Well said, Gryphen.

  15. Anonymous7:01 PM


    This hits close to home for me. My older brother is retired from the Justice Dept. and now spends quite a bit of time in Afghanistan with a private contractor. He is embedded with troops.

    He still thinks Bush was smeared by the liberal media.

    This pains me as he is otherwise an extremely intelligent man.

    Recently, another brother of mine told me that the reason for my brother's interest in working in Afghanistan is because he believes he is on some sort of religious crusade against muslims and non-believers.

    You have no idea how much this concerns me. We were not raised in a religious home. My father instilled strong, patriotic values in us but he also taught us right from wrong. Even though he was a devout republican, I believe my dad would be horrified by what's become of the republican party today.

    I can only surmise that my brother's sudden interest in spreading the "word" to non-believers came after he moved to Texas several years ago. My sister-in-law whom I love dearly, actually un-friended me recently on Facebook simply because I mentioned that the "under God" part of the pledge was not added until the McCarthy era in response to a post of hers about the pledge that began "I don't care who I offend".

    She accused me of being a communist and blocked me on facebook. We eventually worked it out but the reality that this was how she responded to my offense of pointing out a fact makes me wonder who is influencing my otherwise kind and intelligent family.

    I am deeply concerned about what is happening to our country, to our society and to our values.

  16. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Hi April!

    You still get paid to troll, I mean post here? So nice that you can collect a check to defend your murderous brother huh?

  17. Anonymous7:16 PM

    "These are GOOD people from good families."

    Come off it...good people do not kill innocent people and hold up their bleeding heads like some kind of trophy. Next you;ll be telling us that you sat beside Jeremy in Sunday school and he was always a devout Christian. Sorry, but these guys are deranged murderers who should never have been accepted into our military, which teaches even good young men that it is fine to kill. Give them someone who is already angry, needs an excuse to commit violence, AND give them big guns, and it's a recipe for just what happened. I suppose that horrible picture of "good" Jeremy with his prize was a set up too?

  18. Anonymous7:33 PM

    A "good" person can and has done bad things. Being a "good" son or brother is irrelevant when found guilty of and seen with a shit eating grin over a dead body.

    If commanders are also guilty the little guys still did the dirty work.

    The stance that only someone else is all at fault is disturbing.

  19. Anonymous8:06 PM

    We've all seen the pictures of Jeremy grinning over the bloody body of the innocent boy he slaughtered in cold blood. He was high on murder and the ugliest form of racism. One of these days, Little Wasilla Fairytale Troll, you're going to need to face the ugly truth about your family and your friends/employers.

    I wonder if April still dreams of President Sarah pardoning her bro after cruising to an election win in 2012? Talk about delusional.

  20. Anonymous9:33 PM

    Ahh the aroma of troll!

    who ignored Morelock, Track Palin's Friend, when he plead to Sarah for help/advice? Gryphen? No, it was Sarah Palin.

    War is Hell, if all soldiers acted like these puke tards, then I could see defending them, but what they did was wrong. Murdering people, taking body parts and photos for trophies is honorable is what way, Trolls?

    My cousin left eight pints of blood on Afghan soil and came home in a body bag on a cargo plane. My family is just "colateral damage". He didn't do any of this. I support the troops but rail against the war.

    I lost it when Rumsfeld said "Every one of those kids raised their hands and volunteered" to fight Bush's unjusifieable revenge war.

    This guy gets a slap on the wrist, his family can get to see him, talk to him, and know he's treated well. Ours goes to a stone and just "deal".

    Great Post, Gryphen.

  21. The leaders are to blame for this and they are the biggest criminals. The military, just like our government does not listen when they are told there is a problem. Then when something horrendous occurs they cover it up to protect themselves just like the government. It is clear they don't care about the soldiers. When a kid who has a troubled background with some sociopathic actions is put under the supervision of a psychopath they are influenced to think more like the psychopath. Psychopaths create systems that are psychopathic. The leadership represents our government and young people think those in charge know what they are doing. Those of us who have lived a few decades know this is not true, but I remember what it was like to be young. If they question something they are bullied into submission. Don't forget there are large numbers of Americans being tortured the same way middle eastern people were tortured at Abu Ghraib in the U.S. prisons and the leader on night shift had been a prison guard before the military.

  22. Anonymous10:48 PM

    Does Gibbs' picture make him look nuts, or am I applying the crime to him as an' after the fact idea and thinking he looks weird? Was he telling a story here? What is going on with this photo?

  23. Good God April, at least try to make your comments sound a little different each time when you post your maniacal rants here.

    Blah, blah, good people from good families, blah, blah, all our leaders are corrupt, blah, blah, stop telling lies and judging people you don't know.

    From what I understand your brother has a long history of disturbing criminal behavior of drug abuse and domestic violence.

    Maybe you should try to get yourself a little holiday retail job to get you out of the house.

  24. Anonymous3:41 AM

    "Don't blame the soldiers involved. They were following orders."

    BULLSHIT. My husband, a LtCol in the USMC, says that any order that is horrifying to you can be questioned. The least those soldiers could have done was go up a notch and question the orders they received.
    Remember that sage quote, evil prospers when good men do nothing... well in this case as in the cases of Penn State, Cain. and Palin it is true.

  25. sharon4:20 AM appears there are a few trolls commenting on your post Gryphen - in defense of these murderers - saying jeremy morlock is really a good and loving man from a good family. Wow!

    Or it's one troll trying to write posts that sound like they're coming from other people.

    Your post was very well written Gryphen and you always go straight to the heart of the issue.

    If jeremy morlock was such a good and upstanding young man, how did he make that leap to what we saw in the pictures after he murdered that teenager in the field?

    The troll suggests it's due to corrupt leadership or whatever - someone threw him under the bus? Oh please! That picture of him holding that poor child's head up after he murdered him tells me that was jeremy morlock smiling ear to ear over his "kill".

    Wonder how the troll would feel if the war was here on US soil and someone from another country came over here and murdered one of their family members? Would that troll feel so inclined to defend that soldier as being a good man led astray?

    jeremy morlock and the others that committed these crimes are not victims - the ones who were murdered are the victims.

    War is an ugly, ugly business. But ask sarah and she'll tell you they're all over there fighting so the media doesn't lie about her.

  26. Anonymous4:50 AM

    Dear April: Please shut up and sit down and think. I know this is a difficult thing to ask of you, as that brain gets so little use.

    Your brother is NOT a "good man". Good men do not hold up mutilated bodies and gloat like that.

    Your family and friends are not "good people". Good people don't put a price tag on everything and tell lies for profit.

    Why are you friends with Bristol? Be honest now. Because she has money and the two of you have fun together. Obviously, from the sheer number of bastards the two of you have pumped out, you are smart enough to use birth control.

    When your "good" brother begged your "good" friend's "good" mom to help him, what did she do? She turned her back on him..which was one of the smarter things I have seen her do..but how can your family continue to be friendly to that family? The reason has to be that you know your brother was guilty and think he deserves to be in prison.

    So, quit with the "good" doesn't cut it here.

    It is also a tremendous cop out to blame the military. For once, someone in Wasilla needs to take responsibility for the their own actions.

  27. sharon5:00 AM

    the father of the boy that Morlock murdered is mourning his son even today, I'm sure. I seriously doubt that father shares the troll comments that morlock is a good and loving man.

    War is an ugly, ugly business and i believe it's well past the time for the US to get the hell out of these wars and battles that we don't belong in.

    I think there should be a law that no war begins without the majority of the US citizens in agreement.

    I know that's a stretch but I'm honestly tired of watching this country plunged into these wars without logic or reason.

    And I'm troubled by our actions as a country - we've poked a stick at just about everyone - I worry that our day is coming and I know I'm not alone in that fear.

    Then add to the uneasiness the murderers we send to their countries and it's a recipe for disaster.

    The US has become a bully in my opinion and although I love my country, I'm still fearful that our actions may or already have lit the fuse of someone, somewhere that has had enough of the US.

    I was relieved when President Obama took office - he's respected around the world but there's still a lot of wreckage from the previous idiot in office.

  28. Nice try, April.

    Jeremy sure looked like he was so uncomfortable to be holding that innocent Iraqi kid's (Gul Mudin) head up after Jeremy murdered him and then stripped him so he could pose by his "trophy kill". Bullshit.

    Don't try to dishonor the soldiers who put their life on the line in an honorable way. No, I don't know your brother personally, thank goodness. I just know him through his deplorable actions, which you people should own up to. Jeremy's nothing but a punk, a rogue, and a sociopath who is finally where he belongs.

    For you to support your brother in trying to help him personally is understandable, but you can do that by writing him a letter each day telling him that you forgive him for the atrocities that he personally committed. But to try to deflect attention away from Jeremy's murder of innocent kids by blaming others and trumpeting what a great guy he is--- this just makes you look just as evil as he is.

    You people make me sick as you try to blame others for your own transgressions. If you don't think that the great majority of the readers are aware of yours and the Palin's little PR activities on this blog, well, obviously you're each just as stupid as you are lacking in self-awareness.

    I know the truth doesn't suit you well, but coming here and spouting your bullshit about how great your brother is won't change the FACT that your brother is nothing but a cowardly, cold-blooded killer who didn't get nearly the length of sentence that he deserved. Get over it, April. Or don't. Truth hurts, doesn't it? Sorry, but it's still the truth.

    So take your whining and defending of a cowardly punk elsewhere, because no one here is buying the sack of shit that you and that pussy of a brother of yours is trying to sell. Jeremy was no soldier, no patriot. Just a punk, plain and simple. Capiche?

    April, here's a reminder of your brother's killing of an inncocent person. Keep spinning and we'll just keep telling the truth until everybody knows just what type of people all of you are.

  29. Gees that guy looks like what I like to call a BDG, Big Dumb Guy.

    Were the phrenologists on to something, actually?

    Seriously, though, who would think it was "OK" to kill some kid obviously working the field on a farm?

    And also, seriously, do they not teach these young men in their training that things like My Lai are forbidden?

    As for the Jeremy Morlock sympathizer on this thread, wouldn't it have been nice if Sarah Palin, a family friend of his, mightn't have done something to help him when he asked? I also don't buy that he is "the nicest young man you'll ever meet" based on the fact that he abused his wife, also, too.

  30. Bottom line: we are all responsible for our own actions. No one can force a "good" person to do something atrocious as did these murderers. The plain truth is that there was something broken in these young men before they ever went into the military. My father was a soldier in both Korea and Viet Nam. He was an honorable person right up until his death. My husband is a Viet Nam Vet. He too is an honorable person who has lived a good life, not gone whacko, never hurt anyone intentionally and so forth. War is hell, there can be no doubt. But to place the blame anywhere and everywhere but on the individual is a total cop out, and just ticks me off. Can the military do more to make sure these types of crimes stop? You bet they can. But to just flatly blame the military and excuse the individual soldiers is pure bullshit.

  31. areader1:33 PM

    Murderers are not good people.

    These men are! They have my utmost respect and support (I have made several donations to the Bradley Manning Support Network).

  32. Anonymous3:46 PM

    "I only wish I could believe that America would learn its lesson and NEVER send our citizens to foreign lands to kill their people..."

    The won't be. It will be done by drones ad some guy with a joy stick in Kansas.
    Or by the Blackwaters of the world

    And it will be much much worse for innocent civilians.

    The increas1ng brutality of mechanized warfare from bow and arrow to cannon to bombers and now to drones, where the killer never even sees the face of the victim was one of my term papers decades ago.
    I made an A despite having not a single foot note. (I was scared to death I would get and F with not references but the prof liked it as a essay.)

  33. onething5:11 PM

    I know they test the soldiers, and it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to create tests to weed out sociopaths.

  34. onething5:14 PM

    "I do think we have learned something since Vietnam. We have learned to support the soldiers. My husband did two tours in Vietnam and was spit on when he got home. That hasn't happened with this war."

    At least they were generally drafted unwillingly. But now, they sign up to go kill innocent people for the benefits and the adventure. I'm not making that up.
    That's the answers I get when I ask.

    I support our soldiers in the same way I support all human beings, but I certainly don't condone them joining the armed forces.

    What does it even mean to "support our soldiers"? Right or wrong?


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