A US soldier charged with murdering civilians and other crimes in Afghanistan made his first court appearance on Monday. Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock is the first of twelve US soldiers accused of forming a secret “kill team” in Afghanistan that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies. Earlier this year, Morlock was interviewed by Army investigators and acknowledged his role in the deaths of the three Afghans. Video of part of Morlock’s confession to Army investigators has been leaked to the media. In the video, Morlock admits Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs ordered him to kill an innocent unarmed Afghan civilian.
Jeremy Morlock: “And then he kind of placed me and [Spc. Adam] Winfield off over here, so we had a clean line of sight for this guy. And, you know, he pulled out one of his grenades, American grenade, popped it, throws the grenade, and then tells me and Winfield, 'Alright, wax this guy. Kill this guy, kill this guy.'”
Investigator: “Did you see him present any weapons? Or did he —- was he aggressive at you at all? Did he -—”
Jeremy Morlock: “No, not at all. Nothing.
Jeremy Morlock: “He wasn’t a threat.”
On Monday, Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock’s attorney defended his client.
Michael Waddington: “First of all, he did not cause the death of any of those individuals. And he was present, as was everyone else in that platoon, at the time of all those shootings. But many of the individuals went along for the ride. They didn’t really have a choice. If your sergeant says, ’Let’s go to this village. We’re going to sweep through this village,” and he throws a grenade at someone, and he threatens you that if you don’t — if you’re not on his team, and you’re a possible snitch, and you’re going to get beaten or killed by him, then you’re going to role-play along with it.”
The Army is attempting to prevent the release of dozens of photographs that reportedly show Jeremy Morlock and other soldiers posing with the murdered Afghan civilians. A top Army official recently ordered that any images of dead or wounded Afghans may not be made public during Morlock’s hearing.