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News & Politics News & Politics

Fort Hood Victims Demand Attack Be Deemed 'Terrorism'

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM
  • 7 Replies

 Survivors of the Fort Hood massacre released a new video this week calling on the government to classify the November 2009 shooting as a terrorist attack rather than "workplace violence," a change that would make them eligible for specific combat-related benefits.

In the video, uploaded on YouTube Wednesday, witnesses to the shooting, some of whom were wounded in the attack, voiced their frustration with the government's labeling of the attack in which 13 people died and 32 others were wounded in a shooting rampage allegedly carried out by a fellow soldier, Maj. Nidal Hasan. The FBI said Hasan had corresponded with a high-profile al Qaeda recruiter and discussed the merits of jihad months before the massacre.

"Looking at the red tape you've got to get through, we put the video together to try to raise awareness," one of the victims, Army Staff Sgt. Alonza Lunsford, told ABC News.

In the video, police officer Kimberly Munley, who was shot multiple times, says, "It was discovered, has been discovered, re-discovered that this was part of a terrorist activity."

"[The Fort Hood victims] were killed and wounded by a domestic enemy -- somebody who was there that day to kill soldiers, to prevent them from deploying," another victim, Army Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning says in the video. Manning was shot in the chest. "If that's not an act of war or an act of terrorism, I don't know what is."

Donna McWilliam/AP Photo
A memorial to victims of the Fort Hood... View Full Size
PHOTO: A memorial to victims of the Fort Hood shooting is shown before the start of a memorial service, to be attended by President Barack Obama, at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 10, 2009.
Donna McWilliam/AP Photo
A memorial to victims of the Fort Hood shooting is shown before the start of a memorial service, to be attended by President Barack Obama, at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 10, 2009.
 

The Coalition of Fort Hood Heroes, the organization that released the video, said in a statement that unless the government labels the attack terrorism, victims and their families will be "denied the recognition and benefits they are rightfully due," in particular eligibility for the Purple Heart Medal, along with which comes veterans' medical benefits and higher priority for veterans' disability compensation.

But Army spokesman George Wright told ABC News that "the victims who were allegedly killed at Fort Hood in November 2009 did not meet the criteria of the award of the Purple Heart as outlined in the Department of Defense Manual of Military Decorations and Awards."

The manual states that the Purple Heart is awarded to service members who are killed or wounded "in action against an enemy of the United States; as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force; or as the result of an international terrorist attack against the United States, provided the Secretary of the military department concerned recognizes the attack as an international terrorist attack."

As defined by U.S. law, a terrorist act must be "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents," and for it to be an international terrorist act, it must involve "citizens or the territory of more than one country." All of those killed and a majority of those wounded in the attack were either active duty or reserve military personnel.

Some of the victims in this week's video point to Hasan's online correspondence with American-born radical cleric and major al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki, who at the time was based in Yemen, as a reason the Fort Hood shooting should be treated as a terrorist attack. Before his death by drone strike in September 2011, some government officials considered al-Awlaki the greatest individual threat to America.

As ABC News reported in the weeks following the attack, Hasan exchanged at least 18 e-mail messages with al-Awlaki within a six month period between December 2008 and June 2009, in which he asked al-Awlaki questions including when jihad is appropriate and whether it is permissible if there are innocents killed in a suicide attack.

ABC News also reported that U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months before the Fort Hood shooting that Hasan was attempting to make contact with Awlaki, a fact that Coalition of Fort Hood Heroes, said should have raised red flags. The emails were monitored by the FBI, but at the time the bureau "did not assess this guy as a terrorism threat," according to a lengthy FBI review of the case.

The references to "workplace violence" in the video apparently refer to Department of Defense memos in which officials recommend the Department take steps to address workplace violence in response to the 2009 attack. In the Defense Department's final review of recommendations issued by an independent panel following the attack, published in August 2010, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates highlighted workplace violence as an area in which the Defense Department would "strengthen its policies, programs and procedures."

Various official reports on the attack refer to it as a "shooting," "murder," and the result of "extremism," but not terrorism. In President Obama's lengthy remarks at a memorial for the dead days after the attack, he never uttered the words "terror" or "terrorism."

Last week, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying they found it "inconceivable" that the Defense Department "continue[s] to label this attack 'workplace violence' in spite of all the evidence that clearly proves the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terror," and also asked that all those killed and wounded in the attack be given Purple Hearts.

Nidal Hasan stands accused of murdering 13 people in the attack on Fort Hood and will face a military trial. After a short controversy, last week the court ruled that Hasan must shave his beard before appearing for court martial to face the murder charges, in consistency with Army uniform rules. Hasan had said he grew it for religious reasons and forcing him to shave would violate the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM
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Replies (1-7):
imamomzilla
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM

  *Graphic Warning*

He Said Allahu Akbar-The Attack On Fort Hood

                                                             nativity


_Kissy_
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM
As long as all massacres are deemed terrorist attacks.

Still waiting for first responders to get the care and compensation they deserve
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blues_pagan
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I definitely think this was an act of terror.  The Major involved had ties to a terrorist cell and obviously planned this out in advance.  

As for your video that title is so distasteful and a slap in the face to all Muslims.  Yes he may have said "Allah Akbar" but it doesn't make it some demonic or evil call.  

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Oh my gosh..that video was so "telling"..what the hell is wrong with people..if they KNEW he was in contact with that other guy..WHY didn't they do something about it.. I hope he's deemed a terrorist..because he IS a terrorist.

Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Do I think he was a terrorist? Yes.

Do I think they need "combat-related" benefits? No.
The victims of the OKC Bombing (a Terrorist Act) did not receive any such benefits. Many others have been victims of terrorism and do not receive these benefits either...
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Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Also... I've posted about this before but here it is again, "Pentagon press secretary George Little said Friday that the Department of Defense "will not, at this time, further characterize" the shooting because it is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court-martial proceedings against Hasan. There are concerns that formally changing the designation could affect the legal proceedings."

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Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM
1 mom liked this
And one last thing...

The families of the victims and the survivors are not being denied benefits. They are receiving the same as any other service member. Their insurance didnt stop and the service members are still receiving VA benefits for their injuries...
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