imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Did she commit sucide or was she murdered by the U.S. Military?

by Kevin Elston Monday, Nov. 06, 2006 at 5:44 PM

Soldier opposed interrogations - Ariz. specialist killed herself in Iraq weeks after objection

FLAGSTAFF - A Flagstaff soldier who in 2003 became the third woman to die in Iraq killed herself two weeks after objecting to the interrogation techniques being used on Iraqi prisoners, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Spc. Alyssa Peterson, 27, an Arabic-speaking interrogator who trained at Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona, was assigned to a unit at Tal Afar Air Base in northwestern Iraq. According to a criminal investigation report recently released by the military under the Freedom of Information Act, Peterson had been in Iraq for two weeks and participated in two interrogations in late August 2003.

She objected to interrogation techniques after the first session, the documents show, and after the second session she told her supervisor that she "could not carry out" the interrogation methods that were being used and asked to be reassigned.

Her objections came seven months before the prisoner abuse allegations at Abu Ghraib prison in central Iraq became public.

The investigative report states that a sergeant and team leader both "detailed the aversion she had towards applying the interrogation methods to detainees."

Peterson's first sergeant, identified as James D. Hamilton, told investigators, "It was hard for her to be aggressive to prisoners/detainees, as she felt that we were cruel to them," the report states.

Army representatives declined to comment on Peterson's death or describe the interrogation techniques she objected to. Valerie Florez, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act officer at Fort Campbell, Ky., said all records of those techniques have been destroyed.

She attended a routine suicide-prevention training Aug. 29 and shortly afterward was reassigned to a base gate where she was directed to monitor Iraqi guards for duplicitous behavior. She also used her language skills to interpret for Iraqi civilians in liaison work.

However, her fellow soldiers reported that she kept to herself and did not make attempts to integrate herself into her team environment.

She avoided eating with her interrogation team and spent time reading at her desk when she did not have other assignments. No one in the unit reported signs of impending suicide.

On the evening of Sept. 15, 2003, she got off work at about 9 p.m. and was not seen again that night.

According to the documents, the company executive officer heard two gunshots at about 9:30 p.m. but did not investigate.

At 9 the next morning, an aircraft passing over the nearby landing zone reported seeing Peterson's body in a grassy field next to her service rifle.

Documents disclosed that she had two gunshot wounds - her weapon apparently had been set on burst - beneath her chin.

Although the criminal investigations report concluded Peterson killed herself with her M-4 service rifle, the autopsy report has not been released. The military investigation offers no explanation of why Peterson would commit suicide.

Family members did not want to comment. A family spokesman, who asked not to be named, said family members did not want to know the details of her death.

In an interview a year after her death, Peterson's family told The Arizona Republic how their daughter was born in a leap year, on Feb. 29, 1976, in Greeley, Colo.

Because her "real" birthday came only every four years, her father would threaten to wake her up at midnight between Feb. 28 and March 1 to celebrate. But he never did.

In elementary school, she played the clarinet, was a standout soccer player and excelled in academics.

Her family moved to Flagstaff when Peterson was in fifth grade. She quickly joined soccer and ran cross country in junior high. In high school, she was a peer counselor.

She worked at McDonald's, saved her money and went to Northern Arizona University on a full academic scholarship, eventually graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

At 21, she served a mission in the Netherlands for the Mormon Church.

When she was told where she would be going, she bought books and tapes to learn Dutch and showed a remarkable aptitude for foreign languages that would serve her later in the military.

While in school, Peterson also attended classes at the Flagstaff Institute of Religion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

David C. Jay, director of the institute, remembered her as very unassuming.

"She was reserved to the point of being what some people would perceive as shy," Jay said in 2004. "But she was such a wonderfully gifted young lady.

"Initially you would never have suspected that here this little girl would go off and learn to speak these difficult languages in parts of the world we know so little about," Jay said.

Peterson enlisted in the Army in July 2001, telling her parents afterward, "It's already done."

"We were resigned to it," her mother said in the 2004 interview. "We feel strongly that evil exists. That you cannot escape from it, but have to stand up to it."

Peterson got the best score on a language skills test that the local recruiter had ever seen, and she was chosen for military intelligence training at Fort Huachuca after basic training in Fort Sill, Okla.

After Fort Huachuca, she was sent to the Presidio of Monterey in California for a 15-month course in Arabic so she could help with interrogations and translation.

In August 2003, she shipped out to Iraq with the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division.

Her parents did not know she was in Iraq at the time of her death, thinking she was still stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

After she died, her company commander called her family and said she had been a great asset to the unit. He said she was well-liked and had never been happier than when she was talking with the local residents, helping to make their lives happier.

He said she exemplified compassionate service.

Her death has been difficult for the Petersons, who went to Phoenix to meet their daughter's coffin.

"When the door of the cargo hangar opened, and that casket was there with a flag on it ... that was hard," her mother said.

Alyssa Peterson was buried with full military honors in Citizens Cemetery in Flagstaff.

Kevin Elston is a reporter for National Public Radio station KNAU in Flagstaff, which originally aired this report.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
women don't shoot themselves I Monday, Nov. 06, 2006 at 5:50 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy