Caught on Camera: Illegals Smuggle Drugs Into Laredo Before Trump Visit

Shock footage validates Trump’s assertion on Mexicans bringing drugs into America

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 23, 2015


As Donald Trump prepared to arrive in Laredo for a tour of the US border, Infowars captured astounding footage which shows illegals sneaking across the Rio Grande river before they frantically throw huge bags of drugs into a vehicle and swim back to Mexico.

Infowars reporters Joe Biggs and Josh Owens traveled to Laredo to cover Trump’s highly publicized visit. While recording footage of the Rio Grande river, which forms part of the Mexico–US border, Owens spotted illegals crossing the water in the distance on rafts and began to film.

The clip then shows an individual holding open the trunk of a red Ford Explorer before four illegals frantically run up carrying huge packs of what are almost certainly drugs before quickly throwing them into the vehicle and fleeing back towards Mexico.

The vehicle then drives into America as one of the smugglers glances back towards Biggs and Owens.

Biggs and Owens immediately had to go into hiding and remove the license plates on their vehicle because they were spotted by the cartel during filming.

The footage validates Trump’s assertion, for which he has been vilified for weeks, that illegal immigrants are bringing drugs into the United States.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said during his announcement that he would run for president. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump was invited to visit the border by the National Border Patrol Council and will arrive in Laredo later today, although the participation of Border Patrol agents was subsequently canceled after the national AFL-CIO-controlled union intervened.

Mexican drug cartels make up to $29 billion annually from U.S. drug sales, with 90% of the cocaine that enters America transiting through Mexico. The majority of marijuana and methamphetamines that are sold in the U.S. also come from Mexico.

The footage illustrates the porous nature of the US border and how easy it would be for ISIS terrorists – who reportedly have set up training bases nearby, to bring militants, weapons and explosives into America.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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The Vicious Truth About Antidepressants And Violent Behavior

The mind is prone to neuroses, particularly during stressful or traumatic times
The Vicious Truth About Antidepressants And Violent Behavior

by Dr. Edward F. Group III | Infowars.com | June 14, 2015


The brain is a complex organ, controlling our actions, cells, and emotions. When we mess with the brain, either inadvertently or with pharmaceutical medications, we can only expect a negative consequence in the process. If our body is exposed to toxins on a consistent basis, then there’s no doubt that our brain is too, and these environmental toxins–like aluminum and PCBs–are contributing to everything from Alzheimer’s disease to ADHD. [1] [2] Interfering with brain chemistry through the use of psychiatric medications is equally as harmful, more so than many people realize.
Antidepressants and Violent Behavior: What Nobody is Talking About

mass-murder-pillsThe mind is prone to neuroses, particularly during stressful or traumatic times. Using psychiatric drugs to “treat” depression is more often than not a bandaid approach, and only addresses the biological symptoms of depression rather than the root cause. Instead of addressing nutritional concerns and psychological barriers to personal happiness, many people are doped up on SSRIs, tranquilizers, and similar drugs. Research over the past few years has steadily shown a strong correlation between antidepressants and homicide. World Psychiatry published a recent study confirming past research, making it startlingly clear: psychiatric drugs may ease depressive symptoms, but they possibly increase a person’s chances of exhibiting violent behavior. [3]

You’re probably aware of the mass shootings across the nation in recent years, and many people are left wondering what could be causing the uprising of these violent crimes. Gun control is seen as a solution to this problem, but what if the issue is much more covert? Taking antidepressants is considered normal in this day and age, and no one questions their use. But could it be that this overly-prescribed pharmaceutical is altering minds to a greater degree than we’ve ever imagined? The antidepressant trazodone, for example, was given to a man who shot and killed 12 people at a Navy facility in Washington, D.C. Trazodone carries with it a list of side effects, including suicide behavior, panic attacks, worsening depression, aggressive behavior, impulsive behavior, and abnormal excitement. [4]

The Real Causes of Depression

While many wish to brush off one example of antidepressants and violent behavior as a mere coincidence, we can’t ignore the many other cases of suicides, murders, and violence in the country at the hands of those drugged with these psychiatric pharmaceuticals. [5] Depression isn’t a Zoloft deficiency; it’s a real illness that, at its root, contains one or more causative factors. Improper nutrition is virtually ignored by today’s psychiatrists, but it just so happens that all neurotransmitters responsible for mood stabilization require nutrients for proper functioning. Tryptophan, for instance, requires zinc, copper, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium in order to perform efficiently.

Another hidden and rarely discussed factor related to depression is mold exposure. Mold can remain hidden in a home for years, but the effect it has on your health is insurmountable. Studies have shown that mold exposure, whether you know you’re being exposed to it or not, contributes to neurobehavioral issues. These health issues include worsening memory, mood impairments, and even Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms. [6] [7] [8]

One Final Thought

When it comes to psychiatric illness, it is up to you and your doctor to find the best way you can to improve your wellbeing. Always keep in mind that there are a number of components playing into disease, including mental illness, so speak to your doctor and do your research to determine the plenitude of factors associated with your particular case. If you are taking pharmaceutical drugs for any kind of mental distress, it is important to not stop taking them, because this action could lead to adverse symptoms, including worsening depression. Supplementing with probiotics can also be a helpful measure, as could physical exercise, meditation, and socialization.

References:

  1. Tomljenoivc L. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease: after a century of controversy, is there a plausible link? J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;23(4):567-98. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-101494.
  2. Paul A. Eubig, Andrea Aguiar, and Susan L. Schantz. Lead and PCBs as Risk Factors for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec; 118(12): 1654-1667. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901852.
  3. Health Day. Do Certain Medicines Raise Murder Risk? Medline Plus.
  4. Medline Plus. Trazodone. NIH. National Library of Medicine.
  5. David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer, and David B Menkes. Antidepressants and Violence: Probles at the Interface of Medicine and Law. PLoS Med. 2006 Sep; 3(9): e372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372.
  6. Kilburn KH. Indoor mold exposure associated with neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment: a preliminary report. Arch Environ Health. 2003 Jul;58(7):390-8.
  7. Crago BR, Gray MR, Nelson LA, et al. Psychological, neuropsychological, and elctrocortical effects of mixed mold exposure. Arch Environ Health. 2003 Aug;58(8):452-63.
  8. Rutgers University. Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Fungus. Rutgers Today.

Survivor Contestant and Iraq War Vet Currently Being Held Against His Will in VA Hospital

Vet says being held indefinitely until he agrees to take “cocktail of drugs”
Survivor Contestant and Iraq War Vet Currently Being Held Against His Will in VA Hospital

by Mike Sawyer | Free Thought Project | June 6, 2015


Iraq Veteran and Freedom Fighter Shamar Thomas is currently being held against his will at the Northport Medical VA Center in Northport, NY. Thomas released a statement earlier today stating:

“Hello everyone this is Shamar Thomas and I’m in trouble. I’m at North Pork[sic] Veterans hospital and I’m being held here against my will.”

As we reported in May of last year, a YouTube video was published showing Thomas asserting his disappointment and outrage at the NYPD. Thomas was expressing his anger at the relentless and brutal violence he witnessed being used against peaceful demonstrators during the Occupy Wall Street Protests.

The veteran lambasted the NYPD for violating the rights of and brutalizing the very citizens he and many others fought to protect. Facing the mob of uniformed thugs, he repeated “There is no honor in this….there is no honor in hurting unarmed people,” and asked, “How do you sleep at night?”

Almost four years later, he is being held hostage after going to the VA for help. Thomas spoke with The Free Thought Project today and explained that he went in Tuesday when he experienced suicidal thoughts while drinking. This is not uncommon for war veterans, as statistics show that 22 veterans take their own lives every day.

Thomas explained to us that when he sobered up, he expressed that he was no longer having thoughts of hurting himself and wished to be released to seek counseling. He was told by Dr. Gregory Gunyan that he was not permitted to leave or even be evaluated until he agreed to swallow a cocktail of drugs, to which Thomas refused. According to Thomas, he was then informed he would be held indefinitely.

Four days later he is still being held hostage. The Free Thought Project reached out to hospital administrators but were met with hostility.

When asked for a statement, Assistant Director of the Hospital JoAnne Anderson told our investigator, “I have lots of information, but I’m not giving it to you.” Public Affairs Officer of the Hospital Joseph Sledge simply stated, “No comment.”

Even more disturbing, Thomas was then informed by Dr. Gunyan that his outside privileges were being taken away as punishment for the phone calls made to the hospital seeking a statement. Thomas expressed to The Free Thought Project that he is concerned that if any more calls are made, he may be further punished.

Thomas was also a contestant on the CBS reality show Survivor: Caramoan. He told CBS his motivation for being on the show was “to bring awareness to economical/social injustices and to bring honor and respect back to my community while inspiring the forgotten.

Shamar Thomas once fought for his country’s freedom. Now he’s fighting that country for his own freedom.

Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers: What U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You To Know

U.S. military personnel have moved into Africa in ever-increasing numbers
Sex, Drugs, and Dead Soldiers: What U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You To Know

by Nick Turse | CJournal | April 29, 2015


Six people lay lifeless in the filthy brown water. Three of the dead were American commandos.  The driver, a captain nicknamed “Whiskey Dan,” was the leader of a shadowy team of operatives never profiled in the media and rarely mentioned even in government publications.  One of the passengers was from an even more secretive unit whose work is often integral to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which conducts clandestine kill-and-capture missions overseas.  Three of the others weren’t military personnel at all or even Americans.  They were Moroccan women alternately described as barmaids or “prostitutes.”

The six deaths followed an April 2012 all-night bar crawl through Mali’s capital, Bamako, according to a formerly classified report by U.S. Army criminal investigators. From dinner and drinks at a bar called Bla-Bla to more drinks at La Terrasse to yet more at Club XS and nightcaps at Club Plaza, it was a rollicking swim through free-flowing vodka. And vodka and Red Bull. And vodka and orange juice. And vanilla pomegranate vodka. And Chivas Regal.  And Jack Daniels.  And Corona beer. And Castel beer. And don’t forget B-52s, a drink generally made with Kahlúa, Grand Marnier, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The bar tab at Club Plaza alone was the equivalent of $350 in U.S. dollars.

At about 5 a.m. on April 20th, the six piled into that Land Cruiser, with Captain Dan Utley behind the wheel, to head for another hotspot: Bamako By Night. About eight minutes later, Utley called a woman on his cell phone to ask if she was angry. He said he’d circle back and pick her up, but she told him not to bother. Utley then handed the phone to Maria Laol, one of the Moroccan women. “Don’t be upset.  We’ll come back and get you,” she said. The woman on the other end of the call then heard screaming before the line went dead.

A Command With Something to Hide

In the years since, U.S. Africa Command or AFRICOM, which is responsible for military operations on that continent, has remained remarkably silent about this shadowy incident in a country that had recently seen its democratically elected president deposed in a coup led by an American-trained officer, a country with which the U.S. had suspended military relations a month earlier. It was, to say the least, strange. But it wasn’t the first time U.S. military personnel died under murky circumstances in Africa, nor the first (or last) time the specter of untoward behavior led to a criminal investigation. In fact, as American military operations have ramped up across Africa, reaching a record 674 missions in 2014, reports of excessive drinking, sex with prostitutes, drug use, sexual assaults, and other forms of violence by AFRICOM personnel have escalated, even though many of them have been kept under wraps for weeks or months, sometimes even for years.

“Our military is built on a reputation of enduring core values that are at the heart of our character,” Major (then Brigadier) General Wayne Grigsby Jr., the former chief of AFRICOM’s subordinate command, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), wrote in an address to troops last year.  “Part of belonging to this elite team is living by our core values and professionalism every day. Incorporating those values into everything we do is called our profession of arms.”

But legal documents, Pentagon reports, and criminal investigation files, many of them obtained by TomDispatch through dozens of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and never before revealed, demonstrate that AFRICOM personnel have all too regularly behaved in ways at odds with those “core values.”  The squeaky clean image the command projects through news releases, official testimony before Congress, and mainstream media articles — often by cherry-picked journalists who are granted access to otherwise unavailable personnel and locales — doesn’t hold up to inspection.

“As a citizen and soldier, I appreciate how important it is to have an informed public that helps to provide accountable governance and is also important in the preservation of the trust between a military and a society and nation it serves,” AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez said at a press conference last year.  Checking out these revelations of misdeeds with AFRICOM’S media office to determine just how representative they are, however, has proven impossible.

I made several hundred attempts to contact the command for comment and clarification while this article was being researched and written, but was consistently rebuffed.  Dozens of phone calls to public affairs personnel went unanswered and scores of email requests were ignored.  At one point, I called AFRICOM media chief Benjamin Benson 32 times on a single business day from a phone that identified me by name.  It rang and rang.  He never picked up.  I then placed a call from a different number so my identity would not be apparent.  He answered on the second ring.  After I identified myself, he claimed the connection was bad and the line went dead.  Follow-up calls from the second number followed the same pattern — a behavior repeated day after day for weeks on end.

This strategy, of course, mirrored the command’s consistent efforts to keep embarrassing incidents quiet, concealing many of them and acknowledging others only with the sparest of reports.  The command, for example, issued a five-sentence press release regarding those deaths in Bamako.  They provided neither the names of the Americans nor the identities of the “three civilians” who perished with them.  They failed to mention that the men were with the Special Operations forces, noting only that the deceased were “U.S. military members.”  For months after the crash, the Pentagon kept secret the name of Master Sergeant Trevor Bast, a communications technician with the Intelligence and Security Command (whose personnel often work closely with JSOC) — until the information was pried out by the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock.

“It must be noted that the activities of U.S. military forces in Mali have been very public,” Colonel Tom Davis of AFRICOM told TomDispatch in the wake of the deaths, without explaining why the commandos were still in the country a month after the United States had suspended military relations with Mali’s government.  In the years since, the command has released no additional information about the episode.

True to form, AFRICOM’s Benjamin Benson failed to respond to requests for comment and clarification, but according to the final report on the incident by Army criminal investigators (obtained by TomDispatch through a FOIA request), the deaths of Utley, Bast, Sergeant First Class Marciano Myrthil, and the three women “were accidental, however [Captain] Utley’s actions were negligent resulting in the passengers’ deaths.”  A final review by a staff judge advocate from Special Operations Command Africa found that there was probable cause to conclude Utley was guilty of negligent homicide.

AFRICOM’s Sex Crimes

The criminal investigation of the incident in Mali touched upon relationships between U.S. military personnel and African “females.”  Indeed, the U.S. military has many regulations regarding romantic attachments and sexual activity.  AFRICOM personnel have not always adhered to such strictures and, in the course of my reporting, I asked Benson if the command has had a problem with sexual misconduct.  He never responded.

In recent years, allegations of widespread sex crimes have dogged the U.S. military.  A Pentagon survey estimated that 26,000 members of the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2012, though just one in 10 of those victimsreported the assaults.  In 2013, the number of personnel reporting such incidents jumped by 50% to 5,518 and last year reached nearly 6,000.  Given the gross underreporting of sexual assaults, it’s impossible to know how many of these crimes involved AFRICOM personnel, but documents examined by TomDispatch suggests a problem does indeed exist.

In August 2011, for example, a Marine with Joint Enabling Capabilities Command assigned to AFRICOM was staying at a hotel in Germany, the site of the command’s headquarters.  He began making random room-to-room calls that were eventually traced.  According to court martial documents examined by TomDispatch, the recipient of one of them said the “subject matter of the phone call essentially dealt with a solicitation for a sexual tryst.”

About a week after he began making the calls, the Marine, who had previously been a consultant for the CIA, began chatting up a boy in the hotel lounge.  After learning that the youngster was 14 years old, “the conversation turned to oral sex with men and the appellant asked [the teen] if he had ever been interested in oral sex with men.  He also told [the teen] that if the appellant or any of his male friends were aroused, they would have oral sex with one another,” according to legal documents.  The boy attempted to change the subject, but the Marine moved closer to him, began “rubbing his [own] crotch area through his shorts,” and continued to talk to him “in graphic detail about sexual matters and techniques” before the youngster left the lounge.  The Marine was later court-martialed for his actions and convicted of making a false official statement, as well as “engaging in indecent liberty with a child” — that is, engaging in an act meant to arouse or gratify sexual desire while in a child’s presence.

That same year, according to a Pentagon report, a noncommissioned officer committed a sexual assault on a female subordinate at an unnamed U.S. base in Djibouti (presumably Camp Lemonnier, the headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa).  “Subject grabbed victim’s head and forced her to continue having sexual intercourse with him,” the report says.  He received a nonjudicial punishment including a reduction in rank, a fine of half-pay for two months, 45 days of restriction, and 45 days of extra duty.  The latter two punishments were later suspended and the perpetrator was, at the time the report was prepared, “being processed for administrative separation.”

At an “unknown location” in Djibouti in 2011, an enlisted woman reported being raped by a fellow service member “while on watch.”  According to a synopsis prepared by the Department of Defense, that man “was not charged with any criminal violations in reference to the rape allegation against him. Victim pled guilty to failure to obey a lawful order and false official statement.”

In a third case in Djibouti, an enlisted woman reported opening the door to her quarters only to be attacked.  An unknown assailant “placed his left hand over her mouth and placed his right hand under her shirt and began to slide it up the side of her body.”  All leads were later deemed exhausted and no suspect was identified.  According to Air Force documents obtained byTomDispatch, allegations also surfaced concerning an assault with intent to commit rape in Morocco, a forcible sodomy in Ethiopia, and possession of child pornography in Djibouti, all in 2012.

On July 22nd of that year, a group of Americans traveled to a private party in Djibouti attended by U.S. Ambassador Geeta Pasi and Major General Ralph Baker, the commander of a counterterrorism force in the Horn of Africa.  Baker drank heavily, according to an AFRICOM senior policy adviser who sat with him in the backseat of a sport utility vehicle on the return trip to Camp Lemonnier.  While two military personnel, one of them an agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), sat just a few feet away, Baker “forced his hand between [the adviser’s] legs and attempted to touch her vagina against her will,” according to a classified criminal investigation file obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

“I grabbed his hand and held it on the seat to try to prevent him from putting his hand deeper between my legs,” she told an investigator. “He responded by smiling at me and saying, ‘Cat got your tongue?’ I was appalled about what he was doing to me and did not know what to say.”  She later reported the offense via the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Hotline.  According to a report in the Washington Post, “Baker was given an administrative punishment at the time of the incident as well as a letter of reprimand — usually a career-ending punishment.”  Demoted in rank to brigadier general, he was allowed to quietly retire in September 2013.

A Pentagon report on sexual assault lists allegations of three incidents in Djibouti in 2013 — one act of “abusive sexual contact” and two reports of “wrongful sexual contact.”  The report also details a case in which a member of the U.S. military reported that she and a group of friends had been out eating and drinking at a local establishment.  Upon returning to her quarters at the base, one of her male companions asked to enter her room and she gave him permission.  He then began to kiss her neck and shoulders.  When she resisted, according to the report, “he grabbed her shorts and began to kiss and lick her vagina.”  That man was later charged with rape, abusive sexual contact, and wrongful sexual contact.  He was tried and acquitted.

The Pentagon has yet to issue its 2014 report on sexual assaults and AFRICOM has failed to release any statistics on its own, but given that military personnel fail to report most sexual crimes, whatever numbers may emerge will undoubtedly be drastic undercounts.

Sex, Drugs, and Guns

On the morning of April 10, 2010, a Navy investigator walked through the door of room 3092 at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa, Kenya.  Two empty wine bottles sat in the trash can.  Another was on the floor.  There were remnants of feminine hygiene products on the bathroom countertop, Axe body spray in an armoire, unopened condoms on a table, and inside a desk drawer, a tan powder that he took to be “an illicit narcotic,” all of this according to an official report by that NCIS agent obtained byTomDispatch through the Freedom of Information Act.

Three days before, on April 7th, Sergeant Roberto Diaz-Boria of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard had been staying in this room.  On leave from Manda Bay, Kenya — home of Camp Simba, a hush-hush military outpost in Africa — he had come to Mombasa to kick back.  That night, along with a brother-in-arms, he ended up at Causerina, a nearby bar that locals said was a hotspot for drugs and prostitution.  Diaz-Boria left Causerina with a “female companion,” according to official documents, paid the requisite fee for such guests at the hotel, and took her to his room.  By morning, he was dead.

A news story released soon after by Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa stated that Diaz-Boria had died while “stationed” in Mombasa.  The cause of death, the article noted, was “under investigation.”  CJTF-HOA failed to respond to a request for additional information about the case, but an Army investigation later determined that the sergeant “accidentally died of multiple drug toxicity after drinking alcohol and using cocaine and heroin.”  Where he obtained the drugs was never determined, but according to the summary of an interview with an NCIS agent, a close friend in his infantry unit did say that there were “rumors within the battalion about the easy access to very potent illegal narcotics in Manda Bay, Kenya.”

Kenya is hardly an anomaly.  Criminal inquiries regarding illicit drug use also took place in Ethiopia in 2012 and Burkina Faso in 2013, while another investigation into distribution was conducted in Cameroon that same year, according to Air Force records obtained by TomDispatch.  AFRICOM did not respond to questions concerning any of these investigations.

In late 2012, when I asked what U.S. personnel were up to in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, AFRICOM spokesman Eric Elliott replied that troops were “supporting humanitarian activities in the area.”  Indeed, official documents and other sources indicate U.S. personnel have been carrying out aidactivities in the region for years.  But that wasn’t all they were doing.

The Lonely Planet guide says that the Samrat Hotel provides the best digs in town, with a “classy lobby” and “a good nightclub and restaurant.”  The one drawback: “stiff mattresses.”  That apparently didn’t affect the activities of at least nine of 19 U.S. military personnel from the 775th Engineer Detachment of the Tennessee Army National Guard.  After an unidentified “local national female” was seen emerging from a “secured communications room” in the hotel, a preliminary investigation was launched and found “military members of the unit allegedly routinely solicited prostitutes in the lobby of the hotel and later brought the prostitutes back to their assigned rooms or to the secured communications room,” according to documents obtained via FOIA request.  A later report by Army agents determined that personnel from the 775th Engineer Detachment and the 415th Civil Affairs Battalion “individually engaged in sexual acts in exchange for money” at the hotel between July 1 and July 22, 2013.  In the room of a staff sergeant, investigators also found what appeared to be khat, a popular local narcotic that offers a hyperactive high marked by aggressiveness that ultimately leaves the user in a glassy-eyed daze.

A sworn statement by a medic who served in Dire Dawa that month — obtained by TomDispatch in a separate FOIA request — paints a picture of a debauched atmosphere of partying, local “girlfriends,” and a variety of sex acts.  “Originally, before we departed to Ethiopia, I grabbed around 70 condoms.  However, I was told that was not going to be enough,” said the medic, noting that it was his job to carry medical supplies.  Instead, he brought 200. He confessed to obtaining a prostitute through the bartender at the Samrat Hotel and admitted to engaging in sex acts with another woman who, he said, later revealed herself to be a prostitute.  He paid her the equivalent of $60.  Another service member showed him pictures of a “local national in his bed in his hotel room,” the medic told the NCIS agent.  He continued:

“I know this girl is a prostitute because I pulled her from the club previously.  The name of the club was ‘The Pom-Pom’… I had hooked up with this girl before [redacted name] so when he showed me the photo I recognized the girl.  [Redacted name] stated how she had a nice booty and was good in bed… I want to say that [redacted name] told me he paid about 1,000 Birr (roughly $30 US dollars), but I can’t recall exactly.”

Army investigation documents obtained by TomDispatch also indicate similar extracurricular activities by members of the 607th Air Control Squadron and the 422nd Communications Squadron in neighboring Djibouti.  An inquiry by Army criminal investigators determined that there was probable cause to believe three noncommissioned officers “committed the offense of patronizing a prostitute” at an “off-base residence” in June 2013.

AFRICOM failed to respond to repeated requests for comment on or to provide further information about members of the command engaging in illicit sex.  It was similarly nonresponsive when it came to criminal inquests into allegations of arson in South Africa, larceny in Burkina Faso, graft in Algeria, and drunk and disorderly conduct in Nigeria, among other alleged crimes.  The command has kept quiet about violent incidents as well.

On April 19, 2013, for instance, something went terribly wrong in Manda Bay, Kenya.  A specialist with the Kentucky Army National Guard, deployed at Camp Simba and reportedly upset by a posting he saw on Facebook, got drunk on bourbon whiskey — more than a fifth of Jim Beam, according to witnesses — stole a 9mm pistol, and shot a superior officer.  He would also point the pistol at a staff sergeant and a master sergeant and then barricade himself in his barracks room.  A member of the Army’s Special Forces serving at the base told an NCIS agent what he saw when the soldier emerged from his quarters:

“He had a gun in his hand and he was waving it around with the barrel level.  He was saying something to the effect of ‘Fuck you!’ or something like that.  I heard the [redacted] say something like ‘put the gun down!’ a couple of times and then the [redacted] shot at the subject 2-3 times with his handgun.”

The drunken soldier was hit once in the leg and later surrendered.  An investigation determined that the specialist had probably committed a host of offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including wrongful appropriation of government property, failure to obey an order, and aggravated assault, although a charge of attempted murder was deemed “unfounded.” The incident, detailed in previously classified documents, was never made public.

General Malfeasance

AFRICOM has certainly had its troubles, starting at the top, since it began overseeing the U.S. military pivot to Africa.  Its first chief, General William “Kip” Ward, who led the fledgling command from 2007 until 2011, was demoted after a 2012 investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office found he had committed a raft of misdeeds, such as using taxpayer-funded military aircraft for personal travel and spending lavishly on hotels.

During an 11-day trip to Washington, for example, he billed the government $129,000 in expenses for his wife, 13 employees, and himself, but conducted official business on just two of those days.  According to the Inspector General’s report, Ward also had AFRICOM personnel ferry his wife around and run errands for the two of them, including shopping for “candy and baby items, picking up flowers and books, delivering snacks, and acquiring tickets to sporting events.”  He even accepted “complimentary meals and Broadway show tickets” from a “prohibited source with multiple [Department of Defense] contracts.”

Ward was ordered to repay the government $82,000 and busted down from four stars to three, which will cost him about $30,000 yearly in retirement pay.  He’ll now only receive $208,802 annually.  An AFRICOM webpage devoted to the highlights of Ward’s career mentions nothing of his transgressions, demotion, or punishment.  The only clue to all of this is his official photo.  In it, he’s sporting four stars while his bio states that “Ward retired at the rank of Lieutenant General in November 2012.”

Ward’s wasteful ways became major news, but the story of his malfeasance has been the exception.  For every SUV that plunged off a bridge or general who was busted down for misbehavior, how many other AFRICOM sexual assaults, shootings, and prostitution scandals remain unknown?

For years, as U.S. military personnel moved into Africa in ever-increasing numbers, AFRICOM has effectively downplayed, disguised, or covered-up almost every aspect of its operations, from the locations of its troop deployments to those of its expanding string of outposts.  Not surprisingly, it’s done the same when it comes to misdeeds by members of the command and continues to ignore questions surrounding crimes and alleged misconduct by its personnel, refusing even to answer emails or phone calls about them.  With taxpayer money covering the salaries of lawbreakers and the men and women who investigate them, with America’s sons dying after drink and drug binges and its daughters assaulted and sexually abused while deployed, the American people deserve answers when it comes to the conduct of U.S. forces in Africa.  Personally, I remain eager to hear AFRICOM’s side of the story, should Benjamin Benson ever be in the mood to return my calls.