President Trump should immediately free Army LT Clint Lorance unjustly convicted of murdering Taliban attacking his platoon

On July 2, 2012, in broad daylight, in Taliban-controlled territory, three men on a motorcycle were speeding towards Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance’s dismounted infantry platoon subordinates. They had ignored signs on the road saying it was to be used only by ISAF and Afghanistan military and police units. The Taliban had recently conducted several suicide attacks upon U.S. forces using motorcycles, the platoon had been repeatedly attacked during the past month, and they had been sniped at from that same road the day before. Then 27-year old Iraq War veteran Lorance had assumed command of the platoon 3 days earlier after the previous platoon leader and another soldier were badly wounded by an IED nearby. An endangered American soldier asked Lorance for permission to fire.

Lorance gave the order to shoot. Had he not given it, within seconds more American soldiers would most likely be dead or maimed for life.

Two Taliban riders died and the third escaped. (More about them in a moment.) While the motorcycle did not explode, it could not be recovered to check for bombs as an attack from another direction loomed. Villagers dragged off the bike and the dead riders were buried by locals without an autopsy to determine if the bullets that killed them were fired by U.S. troops of by Afghanistan Army troops who also fired at the motorcycle.

Even without knowing the exculpatory evidence – proof positive bio-metric and other evidence that the riders were Taliban bombers – which the prosecution later withheld from his defense lawyers and the jury, Lorance knew enough to make giving the order to shoot his duty.

A year later, Lorance was acquitted of ROE violations. Yet, incredibly, he was convicted of murder and is spending the prime years of his life in Fort Leavenworth’s prison for making the right, split-second decision. After nearly 10 years of honorable and heroic service in the Army, he may spend 19 years in a cell and be nearing 50-years old before he is freed.

President Trump has the authority to disapprove Lorance’s conviction with prejudice, restore him to military duty with back pay, and, by doing so, begin to reverse this travesty of justice.

According to military prosecutors, when the enemy acted as though they were about to attack, our troops were required under the Rules of Engagement (ROE) to delay firing their weapons until determining whether the fast-approaching motorcycle displayed a “hostile intent.” They then were to make a battlefield determination as to whether the fast-moving inbound motorcycle constituted a “hostile act.” But doing so would have increased the risk to themselves and the lives of their fellow troops. In other words, they were to play battlefield lawyer when all they did was sign up to defend our nation.

While Lorance was acquitted of ROE-related charges, his chain of command’s gutless, political and self-serving decision to charge him was all about ROE that should never been formulated or enforced. The chain of command – from the then President down to his company commander – more than failed Clint Lorance; they failed our country. They made an example of him. Yet they also empowered our nation’s sworn enemies with strategic and tactical advantages.

President Trump doing the right thing by Lorance would send two main messages to our military: stop prosecuting your troops for doing their sworn duty; and your mission is to win battles and help prevent further attacks upon our homeland and interests abroad.

An experienced and decorated American combat veteran soldier was convicted and incarcerated for the very thing his superiors gave him the authority and responsibility to do. Moreover, he did what the American people expect our small unit leaders to do. Clint Lorance made a combat decision to protect our side’s troops.

The American people don’t expect our troops to commit suicide to accomplish the missions we send them on. If anyone made that same decision 70 years earlier during WWII while fighting the suicide-for-their-emperor-loving forces of Imperial Japan, they’d have received praise from their superiors.

President Trump should act immediately. Clint Lorance has already spent 6 years in a cell.

Post updated at 12:22 PM, May 16, 2019.

  5 comments for “President Trump should immediately free Army LT Clint Lorance unjustly convicted of murdering Taliban attacking his platoon

  1. Tim Sumner -- Post author
    May 16, 2019 at 10:31 am

    “Three insurgents had been riding on the motorcycle that morning. Two had been shot, and the third escaped. Clint later learned — but did not know at the time [because he was between above-head-level grapevine covered walls and, from first sighting of the motorcycle to the last shots fired by the Afghan Army squad and his gun truck, it had all happened within seconds] — that the two men shot had dismounted the motorcycle, and were walking toward the ANA at the time of the shooting. The third rider was later captured.

    “Wingo and Leon did not find any weapons on the bodies of the two insurgents, which — unbeknownst to Clint — the government would later use as an excuse to prosecute him for murder. They could not verify either way if the motorcycle was rigged with bombs, because the villagers removed the bike from the street, and the Army never found it. But they did find identification cards.”

    Brown, Don. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lt. Clint Lorance (pp. 215-216). WildBlue Press. Kindle Edition.

  2. Tim Sumner -- post author
    May 16, 2019 at 10:05 am

    “Capt. Catherine McNair, the lead pilot in the helicopter squadron that arrived on station, described the suspicious individuals in a sworn, written statement, given to investigators on July 19, 2012, 17 days after the shooting.

    “The Chainsaw element requested we maintain overwatch of them, and conduct recon of the area for any suspicious activity. Our team complied, and we were eventually able to identify a large group of adult males, massing and then departing the objective area, a common TTP for insurgents.”

    “By using the phrase TTP, Capt. McNair used an acronym that stands for Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. In other words, the air team had spotted military-aged males amassing on the ground and acting in a manner that would suggest the high probability of threat to the squad, at some point during the mission.

    “Because they were massing out on the village’s northwest corner, Clint worried that they might try to strike from the west end of Old Cornerbrook, as the squad emerged onto the dirt street from the grape field.”

    Brown, Don. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lt. Clint Lorance (pp. 184-185). WildBlue Press. Kindle Edition.

  3. Tim Sumner -- post author
    May 14, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Pvt Skelton asked 1LT Lorance for permission to fire as the motorcycle was headed south on the restricted road towards dismounted U.S. troops crossing it. While Skelton had a visual from atop a grapevine wall, Lorance was in a ditch preparing to climb over the next 8-foot high mud-baked wall covered with grapevines one or perhaps two rows behind Skelton and could not see the motorcycle to their east from where he was.

    At the same time, to their northwest, Taliban were gathering and presented a threat to Lorance’s patrol force. Lorance had been notified of this via radio by the attack helicopters providing CAS. He had sent his heavy weapons squad in that direction to get eyes on them as Lorance intended to enter the village somewhere near its center-point from the south. (The weapons squad later engaged armed Taliban communicating with each other via ICOM radios, killing one and wounding a second.)

    The troops crossing the road to Lorance’s east were the patrol’s trail element.

    It had been alleged (elsewhere in a commentary) that they fired upon the motorcycle too soon as it was still 200 yards away. But a motorcycle travelling at an estimated 40 MPH covers 200 yards in about 10 seconds. (Do the math: Divide 58 feet per second into 600 feet.) Skelton fired and missed. It was not a warning shot as they were not authorized. Regardless, it did not deter the motorcycle’s advance. If the motorcycle was a rolling IED, it would be in close proximity to the patrol’s trail element within seconds. Lorance was well-aware that vehicle-borne-IEDs motorcycles had recently been used as suicide bombers by the Taliban against U.S. troops.

    Lorance could not see the road or motorcycle and he was getting radio reports that the Afghan army squad was screaming they were about to fire. Lorance had to assume the threat was rapidly closing in on his dismounted trail element. He first radioed his troops to tell the Afghans to cease fire and then ordered the gun truck (with its mounted 240) covering the road to fire two shots to eliminate the threat.

    No one could say for sure afterwards whether the Afghans or U.S. troops fired first or at the same time.

  4. Tim Sumner -- Post author
    May 12, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    And there was a fourth Taliban related to all three riders:

    Abdul Ahad
    The Bomb Maker and American Killer
    Related to the Three Motorcycle Riders

    But the government coverup of evidence that would have exonerated Clint only gets worse. On the date of the shooting, July 2, 2012, the Army picked up another Afghan in the village, identified as Abdul Ahad. Now this Abdul Ahad was interviewed by U.S. Army CID agents and provided invaluable information concerning the three motorcycle riders, who are the subject of Clint’s conviction for murder, and the shameful 20-year prison sentence that followed. Mr. Abdul Ahad, as it turns out, is related to all three motorcycle riders who were fired on by Clint’s men. Here’s how. Abdul Ahad is the brother to Ghamai, the motorcycle rider whose bomb killed Staff Sgt. Israel Nuanes. So Ahad’s motorcycle-riding brother is an American-killer.

    Abdul Ahad is the nephew of the motorcycle riding Haji Karimullah (whose fingerprints were found all over bombs designed to kill Americans). Ahad’s father, Mohammad Aslam, was also one of the three motorcycle riders. So, Abdul Ahad’s brother Ghamai (who killed an American soldier); his uncle, Haji Karimullah (who planted many bombs designed to kill American soldiers); and his father, Mohammad Aslam (the so-called “village elder”), were all motorcycle riders charging the American platoon. But not only do Ahad’s relatives on the motorcycle have ties to bombmaking American killing, so does Mr. Ahad himself. On four separate occasions, Ahad’s DNA was found on bombs aimed at killing Americans. These IED events are as follows: 1) Nov. 26, 2010, Abdul’s DNA was found on bomb components in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province; 2) March 11, 2011, Abdul’s DNA and fingerprints were found on IED components in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province; 3) March 16, 2011, Abdul’s DNA and fingerprints were found on IED components in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province; 4) March 18, 2013, Abdul’s DNA and fingerprints were found on IED components in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province.

    Brown, Don. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lt. Clint Lorance (pp. 314-315). WildBlue Press. Kindle Edition.

  5. Tim Sumner -- Post author
    May 12, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Contrary to commentaries elsewhere, the third rider was not immediately captured:

    “Of the men riding on the motorcycle, two of the three left their prints and DNA on IEDs at GRID coordinates where American soldiers were killed or wounded. In other words, at least two of the three motorcycle riders that Clint’s men opened fire on were enemy combatants. This fact, that at least two of the motorcycle riders were enemy combatants, was withheld from the defense and the jury. And the third rider left his prints and DNA on IEDs. The prosecution led the military jury to believe that the men were merely civilian casualties, with no interest in the war effort, completely innocent and shot by the order of an overzealous lieutenant.”

    Brown, Don. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lt. Clint Lorance (pp. 306-307). WildBlue Press. Kindle Edition.

    ” … on Aug. 31, 2012, fewer than 60 days after July 2nd, one of the bombs handled by the motorcycle-riding Karimullah exploded on an American soldier in Kandahar Province. Fortunately, that attack was not fatal. But nonetheless, it marked an act of war against U.S. forces, showing that Karimullah, who was not even struck by a bullet, was anything but a civilian, as the prosecution claimed. The motorcycle-riding Karimullah’s activities as an anti-American bombmaker go even beyond the Aug. 31, 2012, incident. The motorcycle-riding Karimullah’s fingerprints were found on bombs planted at Military Grid Coordinates 41RQQ3810598507, in the Panjwai District in Kandahar Province. Those military grid coordinates are located at a specific latitude and longitudinal point, and to be precise, at 31°35’49.4” north latitude, and 65°30’34.4” east longitude. At that specific location, where Karimullah’s prints were found on bombs, six American soldiers were killed by bombs planted by the Taliban.”

    Brown, Don. TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: The Shocking Prosecution of Lt. Clint Lorance (pp. 310-311). WildBlue Press. Kindle Edition.

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