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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Sponson: "A Hero's Death"

As he should be remembered

Thanks to Sponson for this post

AP obtains more investigative reports on the top brass's cover-up of Pat Tillman's friendly fire death.

Nearby on the same base, a staff sergeant was in his tent when a captain walked in and told him to burn Tillman's bloody clothing.

"He wanted me alone to burn what was in the bag to prevent security violations, leaks and rumors," the staff sergeant testified. The superior "put a lock on communications" in the tent, he testified. Other Army officers said this was probably a directive to the staff sergeant to keep the conversation to himself.

Then he left the staff sergeant to his work: placing Tillman's uniform, socks, gloves and body armor into a 55-gallon drum and burning them.

We knew before that his clothes had been burned, but Is this standard Army procedure? I have a hard time believing this, but even this report seems to leave that possibility open.

Two other sergeants who examined Tillman's vest noticed the bullet holes appeared to be from 5.56-caliber bullets - signature American ammunition. An awful realization dawned on the sergeants, whose names, like those of others who testified in the investigation, were deleted from the recently released testimony.

The redactionss won't prevent the Tillman family from finding them.

Ranger Spc. Russell Baer had witnessed Rangers shooting at Rangers. Afterward, he was directed to travel from Afghanistan to the United States with his friend Kevin Tillman. But he was ordered not to tell Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Ranger that friendly fire was the likely cause of the former football player's death.

He kept the secret, fearing he did not know the whole story. But in a personal protest, Baer later went AWOL and was demoted as punishment.

"I lost respect for the people in charge of me," Baer testified in an earlier Tillman investigation. He had gleaned "part of the puzzle" of Tillman's death, but lamented that "I couldn't tell them about it."

If anyone you know considers volunteering for George W. Bush's military, show them this article. This is what will happens to a valued celebrity recruit and hero when he dies; imagine what happens to the "nobodies."

- posted by Sponson

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