Bay Area soldier caught up in Afghan scandal


ABC7 spoke briefly on the phone with Bram, who is back at his base in Washington State. A half dozen members of his unit are accused of plotting to kill innocent civilians, a few going so far as to take photos of the victims and even keep body parts as war trophies.

From a U.S. military base in the Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, a few American soldiers are accused of plotting to kill innocent civilians just for the sport of it.

The Army has now filed charges against Bram, who was part of a Stryker unit that conducted patrols in Kandahar. He's accused of solicitation to commit premeditated murder, aggravated assault on Afghan nationals, failing to report crimes and planting evidence. He's the sixth unit member to be charged, including Cpl. Jeremy Morlock who has pleaded guilty and pointed the finger at another squad member during an interrogation.

"You don't want to cross paths with Gibbs, ever, at all. When it comes to killing people, it's too easy for that guy," said Morlock during an interrogation.

Members of the unit, from the in Lewis-McChord Base near Seattle, are accused of killing three civilians last year by individually luring them into a trap and opening fire under the guise they were enemy combatants. National Security expert Thomas Henriksen of the Hoover Institution says this case involves a tiny fraction of the U.S. military.

"When you take young men and divorce them from their normal surroundings and place them in this sort of surreal atmosphere, where they're literally one footstep away from being blown up or losing their limbs, you're going to get once in a while some sort of aberrant behavior on the part of a few of them," said Henriksen.

Retired Brig. Gen. Ralph Marinaro says discipline can break down when soldiers aren't sure of the mission.

"There is no reason for this kind of conduct and I would suspect that there may be other instances like this. The longer we're there, the more these problems will surface," said Marinaro.

Bram attended the Buckingham Charter School in Vacaville in 2001 and 2002 where he was said to be a good student. He is not charged with actually killing any civilians. Tuesday night, he referred all questions to his attorney. ABC7 attempted reach to his lawyer, but have not heard back.

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