I would say this story is unbelievable, but seeing as I’ve heard the same kinds of stories from former ranger friends firsthand, I can tell you that this kind of behavior is not an isolated incident, and it is not just restricted to Afghanistan or Iraq.
This is the story of U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism. Needham endured 14 blasts from IDEs and rocket propelled grenades during his tour, leaving him with shrapnel all over his body, a fractured spine and extreme PTSD.
Needham witnessed numerous atrocities committed by his own unit while serving in Iraq back in 2007. Needham ultimately reported these atrocities, along with providing photographic evidence of the alleged crimes. The letter below is what he sent to the U.S. Army Inspector General.
For his opposition to these atrocities, it is suspected that Needham was placed by his command into a very dangerous situation that would have resulted in his death, had a different nearby Army unit not responded to his calls for help. Needham’s own unit didn’t even respond to him on the radio, much less come to his aid.
This incident precipitated in Needham attempting to take his own life, which was thwarted at the last moment by a fellow ranger. Rather than getting Needham help, Needham was placed into an isolation cell and tortured by his command. Needham was charged with discharging a weapon in the barracks due to his attempt to take his own life. During his torture, Needham was repeatedly branded a sissy (keep his medals in mind) and deprived of sleep.
There’s a lot more to the story, so please take the time to watch the video to get all the details.
The story on LiveLeak notes:
CBS reported obtaining an Army document from the Criminal Investigation Command suggestive of an investigation into these war crimes allegations. The Army’s conclusion was that the “offense of War Crimes did not occur.” However, CBS also stated that the report was “redacted and incomplete; 111 pages were withheld.”
This video is placed with the context of Vice President, Dick Cheney, insistence that this nation’s efforts “must go to the dark side;” which included ignoring the Geneva Conventions.
John’s story is told, here, by his father, Michael Needham. It is produced in the spirit of the public interest and towards promoting justice foundational to the rule of law.
December 18, 2007
To: Mr. Randy Waddle, Assistant Inspector General, Ft Carson, Colorado
CC: LTC John Shawkins, Inspector General, Ft Carson, Colorado
Major General Mark Graham, Commanding Officer, Ft Carson, Colorado
Major Haytham Faraj, USMC, Camp Pendleton, California
Lt General Stanley Greene, US Army Inspector General
Subject: Formal Notification of War Atrocities and Crimes Committed by Personnel, B Company, 2-12, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq
Dear Mr. Waddle,
My name is John Needham. I am a member of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, (BCo,2-12INF,2BCT,2ID . I deployed with my unit to Iraq from October 2006 until October 2007 when I was medically evacuated for physical and mental injuries that I suffered during my deployment. The purpose of my letter is to report what I believe to be war crimes and violation of the laws of armed conflict that I personally witnesses while deployed in Iraq.
Upon arriving in Iraq in October of 2006 my unit was assigned to the ¼ Cavalry unit at Camp Prosperity. In March of 2007 I was sent back to my unit, B Company 2-12 at Camp Falcon. It was at Camp Falcon that I observed and was forced to participate in ugly and inhumane acts against the Iraqi citizens in our area of responsibilities. Below I list some of the incidents that took place.
In March of 2007, I witnessed SSG Platt shoot and wound an Iraqi national without cause of provocation. The Staff Sergeant said that he suspected the Iraqi be a “trigger” man. We had not been attacked and we found no evidence on the man to support the suspicion. As the Iraqi lay bleeding on the ground, PVT Smith requested to administer first aid to the Iraqi. SSgt Platt said no and “let him bleed out.” When SSG Platt walked away, Pvt Smith and PVT Mullins went to the Iraqi, dragged him to an alley, and applied first aid. They then drove him to the cache for further treatment.
In June of 2007 1SG Spry caused an Iraqi male to be stopped, questioned, detained, and killed. We had no evidence that the Iraqi was an insurgent or terrorist. In any event when we stopped he did not pose a threat. Although I did not personally witness the killing, I did observe 1sg Spry dismembering the body and parading of it while it was tied to the hood of a Humvee around the Muhalla neighborhood while the interpreter blared out warnings in Arabic over the loud speaker. I have a photo that shows 1SG Spry removing the victim’s brains.
On another occasion an Iraqi male was stopped by a team led by Sgt Rogers as he walked down an alleyway. The Iraqi was detained and questioned then with his hands tied behind his back, SGT Rogers skinned his face.
1ST Spry shot a young Iraqi teenager who was about 16 years old. The shooting was unprovoked and the Iraqi posed no threat to the unit. He was merely riding his bicycle past an ambush site. When I arrived on the scene I observed 1SGT Spry along with SSG Platt dismember the boy’s body.
In August of 2007, I responded to radio call from SGT Rogers reporting that he had just shot an Iraqi who was trying to enter through a hole that the platoon had blown in a wall to allow them observation of the area during a security patrol. When I arrived, I saw a one armed man who was still alive lying on a barricade. The man was about 30 years old. He had an old Ruger pistol hanging from his thumb. It was obvious to me that the pistol was placed there because of the way it hung from his thumb. The Iraqi was still alive when I arrived. I saw SGT Rogers shoot him twice in the back with hollow point bullets. The Iraqi was still moving. I was asking why they shot him again when I heard Sgt Hoskins say “he’s moving, he’s still alive.” SPEC Hoskins then moved to the Iraqi and shot him in the back of the head. SSG Platt and SGT Rogers were visibly excited about the kill. I saw them pull the Iraqi’s brains out as they placed him in the body bag. CPT Kirsey must have learned something about this incident because he was very upset and admonished the NCOs involved.
I have seen and heard 1SGT Spry brag about killing dogs. He kept a running count. At last count I remember he was boasting of having killed 80 dogs.
On many occasions I observed SGT Temples, SSG Platt and SGT Rogers beat and abuse Iraqi teenagers, some as young as 14, without cause. They would walk into a house near areas where they suspected we had received sniper fire, then detain and beat the kids.
I have photos that support my allegations. I also have numerous other photos on a laptop PC that the unit illegally seized from me. I have requested its return but they have refused.
My experiences have taken a terrible toll on me. I suffer from PTSD and depression. I had no way to stop the ugly actions of my unit. When I refused to participate they began to abuse and harass me. I am still in treatment at the Balboa Naval hospital. I respectfully request that you investigate these matters, that you protect my safety by reassigning me to a different unit that is not located at Fort Carson, that you return my PC or, at least, seize it to protect the evidence on it, and that you issue a military protective order to prohibit the offending members of my unit from harassing, retaliating, or contacting me.
I have some photographs and some supporting documentation to these allegations.
PFC John Needham