Friday, 13 November 2009

Latest News on the the Ft. Hood Shooter

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A Christian man from Florida tried to send flowers to Major Nidal Hasan’s Ft. Hood hospital room. The message on the note accompanying the bouquet told the man accused of murdering 12 soldiers and one civilian in Ft. Hood on November 5 that in “God’s eye … you are a hero.”

Ultimately, the flowers were never delivered as the florist who received the order phoned the FBI and informed them of the request. FBI agents visited the man at home to question him about his motives. At least now the FBI is taking seriously all suspicious correspondence involving Hasan. Too bad the Bureau didn’t manifest this level of due diligence back in December 2008 when it first began monitoring Hasan’s questionable behavior and associations.

In other late-breaking news, John Galligan, the retired military officer and lawyer that will be representing the accused gunman at the forthcoming military tribunal, informed the Associated Press that treating physicians have told Hasan that he may be paralyzed from the waist down as a result of gunshot wounds he suffered during his attack. Galligan further reported that his client’s legs are numb and that he has excruciating pain in his hands. Present discomforts notwithstanding, doctors said that the overall prognosis for Hasan is positive and that his condition is likely to improve.

Next, various news outlets are following up on a National Public Radio (NPR) story relating that several of his supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center counseled Major Hasan, a psychiatrist educated at Virginia Tech and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, that his work at the D.C. facility was unsatisfactory. The warning was rather timid, however, in light of published comments made by Hasan’s Walter Reed co-workers since the shooting indicating that it was a nearly universal belief at the hospital that Hasan’s behavior was “psychotic” and that he was believed capable of harming himself or others if he was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, as was scheduled.

In an ironic twist given their profession, Hasan’s psychiatry department supervisors at Walter Reed tried fervently to avoid the real and disturbing issues at hand and search for a more palatable and less controversial method of relieving Hasan of his duties. According to the report aired on NPR, in the Spring of 2007, “officials at Walter Reed” determined that the best way “to get Hasan out of Army psychiatry” was his weight. All servicemen must conform to strict height/weight guidelines as set forth in Army regulations. The committee charged with approving the strategy determined that if the plan was implemented, then according to Army regulations, Hasan would have to be given time to lose the weight and conform with the standards. They figured he would do so, so consequently the plan was scrapped.

Finally, the FBI continues to search for evidence that Hasan was wiring money to Pakistan to help finance jihadist efforts. It was reported earlier in the week by anonymous law-enforcement insiders that forensic investigators perhaps had uncovered electronic funds transfers from Hasan to accounts in Pakistan tied to Islamic extremist organizations. On Friday sources said that the hunt is ongoing but as of now no credible evidence of such transfers have been discovered.

Photo: AP Images