Thursday, October 04, 2007

Another Mysterious Death of a Soldier Overseas

This time it is Ciara Durkin, who was stationed at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. See video from ABC.

Report from CBS.

I can't help but notice at least one major difference between how the media is handling this case and how it handled the murder of Lavena Johnson. In this case, the story goes directly to national news right away....while in the case of Lavena Johnson, it took about 2 years before the national media paid any attention, and even then, Lavena's story was treated as a 20 second blurb. I won't speculate about why there is this obvious difference in coverage, but we all should know by now that the national media covers people differently based on their backgrounds, etc.

The national media continues to ignore the Lavena Johnson story and it frustrates me to no end.

But I won't let that distract from the bigger picture. Perhaps the Durkin case will help shine light on the murder of Lavena Johnson.
The circumstances seem eerily similar. How did Ciara Durkin get shot in the head on a secure military facility? (Ms. Johnson died the same way).

In the ABC video regarding the Durkin story, it was mentioned that the Pentagon was working around the clock on an investigation. But I would venture to say that the Pentagon is working around the clock on a cover-up plan, just like they did with Pat Tillman, and just like they did with the brutal murder of Lavena Johnson. I can already tell you what they are probably planning to say regarding Durkin.... she shot herself in the head. (but I bet they won't allow a private autopsy or a second pathologist to look at the case). Based on what is known about the Johnson case, I suspect that the Army will stall as long as possible, hide evidence from the family, destroy evidence, plant their own "evidence" and simply ignore evidence. I'm afraid that the family of Ms. Durkin may never know what really happened to their daughter. The criminal(s) will likely never face justice in this case, or the Johnson case.

Additional Blog Post on this Case


Who Murdered Pvt. Lavena Johnson?

Why is Tillman getting all the attention? (And why is the Tillman case always brought up and compared with these other cases of women being murdered? Tillman wasn't murdered.... Tillman's case was friendly fire, which happens all the time, although there was a cover-up effort afterwards. Beyond that, there are few similarities).

More on Tillman

The Experience of Women in the Military

America's Forgotten Soldier

Dr. John Johnson Speaks About His Daughter

Recalling Lavena Johnson

Another Bloggers post on Lavena

Lavena's Body exhumed for new autopsy

New Developments in the Lavena Johnson case


rikyrah said...

Is it just me, or do these deaths seem to be occuring with WOMEN?

I wish this wasn't glaring for me.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Brian said...

It seems that way, but with all of the shady behavior regarding cover-ups, etc, there is really no way to know for sure how widespread of a problem this is.
But these kinds of incidents do occur with male soldiers as well. I don't know if you recall the Sailor who was killed many years ago because he was gay. Link

And more recently, there was the case of Richard Davis, a U.S. Soldier who was killed by his fellow soldiers in the U.S. after returning from Iraq...and the Army tried to cover-up, duck & dodge, etc. Link 1
Link 2

Then there was the soldier who killed his commanders in Kuwait in 2003 (Sgt. Asan Akbar). Although the Army didn't try to cover that one up.

So it happens with both genders. However, lately the women seem to be the victims in most of these cases. It also has to do with the fact that women in warzones are particularly vulnerable, and the military is not doing all it can to protect them, so it makes these crimes even more egregious. Combine the fact that the military is not taking enough precautions with the fact that women are being asked to take on more and more roles that are closer to front-line combat duty....partly because of the shortage of troops, and you end up with more women being attacked by their fellow soldiers. This was a big topic on NPR over the past few days (how the military is moving women closer to battle, when regulations technically prohibit them from front-line combat duty). Sometimes the motive may be sexual in nature, while other times it could be a situation where the victim has witnessed or uncovered illegal activity...and since they are a witness and they are often not part of the "Good ole' Boys" club, they have to be eliminated. This is likely what happened to this particular soldier.

Scroll down to the links in the post and click "The Experience of Women in the Military". Amy Goodman did a good show on violence/the threat of violence and sexual harassment against female soldiers.

Brian said...

I found it interesting the way that the national media jumped right on this case.... while Lavena remains forgotten by this Country. Lavena got zero national media coverage when she was killed.

Hathor said...

The Army didn't protect women when they weren't allowed in combat. Dead WACS on military bases in my time, 1966. Male soldiers get strange when their are more men than women. I suspect both were sexual. I think I read somewhere that Ciara Durkin was lesbian, but that would not have mattered.

Brian said...

I wrote a letter to NPR... regarding the disparity in coverage between Durkin and Johnson.

I will post it here if I don't get a response or see a change by later in the week.