Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pat Tillman: Death and Conspiracy - Keith Olbermann is an Idiot

And so is John Stoltz from VoteVets. Keith floats the worst conspiracies to date:

Hat Tip: Hot Air and Ace of Spades

Links to original CID report released by the United States Army under the FOIA and a brief outline of the incident can be found here: Pat Tillman: Death and Conspiracy

An in depth review of the trajectory of rounds, location photos and diagrams along with an outline of further interviews can be found here: Pat Tillman: Death and Conspiracy - Trajectory

During the above Olbermann crap shoot, he emphatically states that an M16 made the rounds. This is a total fabrication based on somebody at the APs limited knowledge of military firearms and interviews with the two MEs who performed the autopsy. At no time does anyone state what type of weapon was used. In fact, the MEs go out of their way to explain in the investigation that they can't know that. They can only know that the wounds are consistent with a 5.56mm or 7.62mm round. There are no fragments or complete bullets to perform ballistic tests on since the rounds exited Tillman's head and removed part of his skull in the process.

The Rangers were carrying a multitude of weapons. The base weapon for this Ranger platoon was an M4 firing a 5.56mm round (in fact, during the reading of investigation, I did not see one notation of an M16; unless Olbermann can claim to know that the M4 is a modified version of the M16, made shorter and lighter by stock and barrel configurations; but I doubt that since he called it an M16). The squad leader in the first HMMVW to exit the wadi or canyon said he fired six (6) rounds (two 3 round bursts) definitely striking and killing the AMF (Afghan Military Forces) that was just in front of and to the right of Tillman's position. He knows this because he was looking through his scope when he did it and positively identified the uniform the AMF was wearing when he was killed. (see trajectory)

A gunner on that same HMMVW was firing an M240b (SAW) using a 7.62mm round. He said he oriented off of his squad leader and the muzzle flashes from Tillman's position, thinking it was the enemy, and fired two (2) bursts of ten(10) rounds into that position. A second gunner on that same vehicle was firing a M249 using a 5.56mm round. He said he also oriented to where the others were firing and placed at least three (3) bursts of five (5) rounds into that position. The diagram on "Trajectory" indicates that at least twenty two (22) rounds impacted the rock directly to the right of Tillman; the rock that O'Neal was behind praying (see diagram Trajectory). This rock shows twenty two (22) impact points in extremely close groupings. Up to ten rounds struck Tillman, including three to the forehead, at least one struck a flash bang in a pouch at the front of his vest (causing a fragmentation wound in his right arm), multiple strikes to the magazines he was carrying, his armor plate was "shattered" and one strike to his flashlight.

The problem with the conspiracy of murder based on only three wounds in Tillman's head is that Tillman was shot multiple times, not just three. All of this is available if anyone simply read the reports instead of going off of sensationalist half reporting by the AP.

Olbermann and Stoltz float the idea that it was murder or negligent murder by someone shooting Tillman from 30 feet or less or even an "accidental discharge" at close range (an idea floated by Uncle J at Blackfive and quickly retracted). Both MEs refute the "accidental discharge at close range" through their testimony (see "Trajectory" and original CID investigation page 119):

Q: During the conduct of this investigation, there are some questions as to the distance in which Cpl Tillman was struck. Can you determine the approximate distance the shooter had to be from Cpl Tillman for him to sustain such injuries?
A: No. But it was not within a few feet. It was not a contact wound or associated with close range discharge of a weapon. When I say "close range" I am referring to withing four to five feet.
Q: Based on your observations, can you eliminate the injuries sustained by Cpl Tillman as close range?
A: Yes.
Q: What about an intermediate wound...5 - 10ft?
A: We don't use such terms in this office. If there was stippling or soot, it may have been within 5ft, but I cannot be sure of distance in this case. These are indeterminate distance gun shot wounds, however, they are not close or contact wounds.

Another problem is the assumption that all three rounds struck Tillman at or very near the same time. The ME makes an elementary mistake, in my opinion. He notes that one of the wounds has a contusion around it. He believes this is from Tillman falling and striking his head at the time of death. The other two wounds do not have a hematoma. The hematoma surrounding the first wound may have been from the natural reaction of the body to direct blood to the affected area. This is a medical fact that wounds received prior to or peri-mortem (at the time of death) form such markings. Wounds received after death do not because the brain is no longer functioning to make such a direction. Based on Tillman's position after he was shot, it is possible that he received the other two wounds post mortem. O'Neal, who was with Tillman at the time of the shooting as well as those at the scene directly after, indicate that Tillman's body was originally lying flat on his back on an incline of about 45 degrees based on the diagrams. This would have kept his body in a position to continue receiving rounds.

There are many other issues with this conspiracy theory, particularly any idea that the President or anyone else conspired to kill Tillman for his political beliefs or any other bogus claims. The biggest issue here is that the nineteen remaining men of Tillman's platoon, including Tillman's brother Kevin who was in section 2 in the canyon being attacked by the enemy, would have to consistently lie over three years about the circumstances that led to his death. All while simultaneously admitting to the shooting. It would have been much easier to claim that he was killed by enemy action and left it at that.

Not to mention the twenty men from 3rd Platoon, the twenty men from 1st Platoon, unknown numbers involved in the search, capture and interrogation of captured ambushers from that day, command, numerous people from the Combat Hospital that received Tillman's body and on and on and on. It defies logic.

In short, Keith Olbermann is an Idiot with a capital "I". This is not journalism. This is Tabloid TV. There is definitely no integrity or credibility left at MSNBC after this fiasco. John Stoltz may be a veteran of the Iraq war, but he is no forensic scientist, pathologist or criminologist. I admit, neither am I, but I can at least claim to have read the reports.

Don't look for either of these two to do that. It would mean they would have to confront reality and I simply don't believe that is in the works.

Pat Tillman: Death and Conspiracy Part III - Cycle of Disinformation

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