Identity of CIA bomb victims spill forth

khost victim of CIA bomberUS forces in Afghanistan suffered an unprecedented setback this weekend when a suicide bomber was able to blow to smithereens a gathering of CIA operatives in an outpost in Khost Province. Seven agents were killed and six injured, and a great tragedy is that these covert deaths, like that of the security contractor killed with them, are not counted as official casualties of war, to weigh against the public conscience for us to wonder, was it worth it? These were professional killers and torturers whose names are now withheld to protect their families.

But some Americans –God bless them– will not be denied the deification of their downed warriors, and so some families have gone public about the loss of their mercenary kin. Thus we have names, and Facebook memorials, to the men and women who commit the clandestine crimes for which the rest of the world holds us accountable. But first, a word about what they were doing.

Forward Operating Base Chapman caught my attention because that’s the kind of military post which protects the celebrated school building projects of Greg Mortenson, and Khost Province is one of his territories. It turns out that the US Army is also busy [re]-building schools, and boasts 53 in Khost. Also, for reasons of deteriorating security, FOB Chapman was no longer housing US military, but instead was strictly for private firms contracted to the reconstruction, except now journalists are at liberty to say that the camp was always known to be “not regular” — code for CIA.

“Although Chapman was officially a camp for civilians involved in reconstruction, it was well-known locally as a CIA base. Over the past couple of years, it focused on gathering information on so-called high-value targets for drone attacks, the unmanned missile planes that have played a growing role in taking out suspected terrorists since President Barack Obama took office. The Haqqanis were their principal target.

” ‘That far forward they were almost certainly from the CIA’s paramilitary rather than analysts,’ said one agent.”

So FOB Chapman was used for a drone command post. Not controlling drones, but gathering intelligence about where to target their missiles. I’d be curious that what had been an “underground gym” for US soldiers, where the dozen CIA officers were meeting their informant/surprise-bomber, wasn’t being put to an altogether more menacing function by the CIA. Obviously on this particular occasion it was a briefing room/wake.

It’s conjectured that the CIA at FOB Chapman was targeted because the local Taliban had suffered one too many CIA drone attacks. Other accusations emerge that the CIA had recently killed Afghan detainees while in custody, in their effort to break the Haqqani network. One reporter’s source phrased it: “Those guys have recently been on a big Haqqani binge.”

The CIA is not releasing the name of the bomber, reportedly an informant “candidate,” but strangely his name is being reported in the Arabic press. He was a Jordanian doctor named Khalil Abu Hammam Mellal Al-Balawi, of the Beer Al-Saba’a family, codenamed “Abu Dajana Al-Kharasani,” a supervisor on the Al-Hisba internet forums, where so-called official al-Qaeda communications are regularly transmitted. His identity might explain how a visit with this “informant” warranted the attendance of a dozen agents, including a high ranking officer from Kabul and the Khost station chief.

The station chief was reported to have been an agent in Afghanistan for 14 years, since the days of the so-called Alec Station which was tasked with tracking the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. She was a loving mother of three, so it’s possible her identity is being concealed until her family can be extracted from the region.

The first agent to be identified publicly was Harold Brown Jr., 37, of Bolton, Mass., whose father thought he worked for the State Department. Before the “State Department,” Brown worked for Science Applications International Corp.

The next to be identified was Scott Michael Roberson, 39, of Akron, Ohio. He was a policeman when he wasn’t a CIA security officer. Robertson co-founded the Metro Atlanta Police Emerald Society and was a member of the Iron Pigs, a national motorcycle club for police and firefighters.

Another of the CIA agents wasn’t American at all, but a member of the Jordanian royal family. The body of Capitan As-Sharif Ali bin Zeid Al Awn has been returned to Jordan with much pomp and ceremony, without an official report of the incidence of his death, the family unable to explain what he was doing in Afghanistan, except to deny accusations that he was employed by the CIA.

The lone non-CIA victim was security contractor and former Navy SEAL, Jeremy Jason Wise, 35, of Virginia Beach. Wrote the WSJ: “Today, the CIA and President Obama acknowledged that seven of those killed were CIA agents. No one would say who employed the eighth American.”

(Except he was really the seventh American, because one of the dead was a Jordanian.)

UPDATE: It’s now revealed that Jeremy Wise was employed by Xe/Blackwater, who admit now that two of the CIA victims were Blackwater.

With suicide bombers all over the news, from the successful to the pantywaist, as blogs spill over with nuke-em-all comments which reveal Americans seem perfectly comfortable with the idea that peoples are collectively accountable for the deeds of criminals among them.

Or the deeds of insurgents aka freedom fighters, about whom you or I might disagree.

US Blackwater goons for example, have been let off the hook for the Nisour Square atrocity in Iraq. According to our neoliberal world order, Iraq should be able to track miscreants with drones, and since we refuse to bring them to justice, lay waste entire American neighborhoods and schools if informants report they are nearby.

I’ve certainly always argued that Americans are all of us responsible for the crimes our government is committing. Even with our combatant criminals killed in battle, I’m not sure that the people who cheered them on don’t still owe their victims responsibility.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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5 Responses to Identity of CIA bomb victims spill forth

  1. Avatar Neo Politicus says:

    When you see the bodies of your family members burning in the streets, you’ll understand how wars are fought – and why we’re losing this one. It will be too late for you, but you’ll have gotten what you deserve.

  2. you’re losing this war because your leaders started it in order to advance their wealth at the expense of everybody else in the world.

    As to seeing family members burning in the street, isn’t that exactly what the “terrorists” see after every American Air Raid? Seeing their children burning? There’s a disproportionate amount of children killed in Aerial Bombardments, the U.S. and Royal Air Forces made note of that during the Blitzkrieg. It’s because children don’t know, yet, to get out of the way. Military personnel are far less likely to die in Air Raids.

    So any bombing carried out by YOUR military in defense of YOUR leaders and THEIR wealth, by their own prior admission, Targets Children and other Civilians disproportionately. The actions of the U.S. Air Force in this current war, just like in the bombings of Hanoi, are every bit as unlawful, and for the same reasons, as the 9/11 attacks.

  3. Avatar ahmadqabil says:


  4. Avatar Nathan says:

    I love how you use this blog to talk shit about men with accomplished military records. Set your facts about CIA operators straight, those in the field are men of intergrity, un like the likes of you seeing that you wouldn’t honor the sacrifice of a fellow American. Espicially that SEAL seeing that their whole morality is valued more then their skills.
    If the military isn’t fighting a just war, beleive me the CIA is, the actual threats to the United States? They truthfully exist, and if you doubt this. I recomend you take a trip to Afghanistan, or Iraq. By yourself, with no escort. You’ll learn soon enough, and our GI’s will have another educational beheading video to show that those who wish to do us harm will, and a wanna be liberal blogger is no exception.

  5. Yeah, right.
    Your CIA is top-down servants of the Very Rich and your war is propagated to gain more Wealth to the very richest people on the earth. They even wrote out a plan for a DECADE beforehand detailing how they would accomplish total domination of the World Economy, called “New American Century”.
    What they considered vital to their plan is the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq and a perpetual war which would allow them to suspend civil liberties “for the duration”.

    They, Rumsfeld, Neil Bush, Jeb Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Wolfowicz, Rove, North, Secord, Poindexter… A regular Who’s Who of CIA connected Murderers and Thieves, boasted that they could simply lie to the American people and enough of us would believe YOU, Nathan, and your fellow liars, that the rest of could be mocked into irrelevance just as you tried to do here.

    Too bad for your side that you’re losing YOUR war which YOU started for nothing short of the absolute Domination of the entire World by YOUR Wealthy Masters.

    You’re a good little slave-propagandist. Maybe the Boss will let you sleep in the Big House,

    …on the floor with the rest of his dogs….

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