Saturday, May 10, 2008

Justice for Ciara Durkin

Harking back on a story that I discussed a while ago, Massachusetts Army National Guard Specialist Ciara Durkin was found dead on a secure army base in Afghanistan with a single gunshot wound to the head. Her September 28, 2007 death occurred under highly suspicious circumstances, but the Army eventually ruled it a suicide. Those circumstances surrounding her death, however, seem to paint a different story.

Durkin had been home only three weeks prior to her death in Afghanistan and had told her family that if anything happened to her while she was overseas that they should have it thoroughly investigated. Additionally, she had told her sister that while working as a finance specialist at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan (the same base on which she was killed) that she had discovered some information that had made her some enemies on the base. Only three weeks after this she was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head.

As if this were not suspicious enough, the Army initially lied to the Durkin family about what really happened to their daughter. The Army told them that Ciara had died in a combat situation in Afghanistan, which immediately aroused suspicion because Durkin was a finance specialist who rarely, if ever, saw combat. When pressed, the Army conceded that, in fact, Durkin had died not in combat, but next to a church on a secure part of the airbase.

Recent scrutiny of the case has come on the heels of a column by Ann Wright, a 29 year Army and Army Reserve veteran who recently retired in protest to the war in Iraq. Colonel Wright highlights numerous other cases of women dying in secure areas that are suspiciously labeled "suicide" by the Army. Some of the cases are quote shocking, as there are damning statistics cited by Wright (she says that 1/3 of women in the Armed Forces will be sexually assaulted or raped by their male military peers). The cases involve cover-ups of rape and murder on military bases, with evidence to go with it. The incident involving Ciara Durkin's "suicide" is one of the highlighted cases for its very suspicious circumstances, given Durkin's comments to her family less than a month prior and her unlikeliness of taking her own life (her family and co-workers cite no unusual or depressing behavior).

Something about Durkin's death is amiss, here, and it appears that there are several things that the Army is not telling the Durkin family. Senators Kennedy and Kerry have looked into it, but have resolved little. The Durkin family deserves to know the truth about what happened to their daughter, who was serving this country in Afghanistan. Given the Army's past cover-up attempts and the VA's disgusting treatment of post-war veterans, it is time to demand the truth. It's bad enough that over 4,000 soldiers have died in a war that was sold to the American public on bad intel, but to lie to the families of those making the ultimate sacrifice for this country is unconscionable. I am urging anyone who feels that nothing less than justice is warranted in this case to write to the public officials who will be listed after this post and ask them to press for information in this case. Peace.

Photos - Ciara Durkin (, Durkin's casket following funeral services in Quincy, MA (

Public Officials to Write To:

Bill Delahunt (Congressional Representative to the 10th District of Massachusetts, which includes Durkin's hometown of Quincy)
Congressman Bill Delahunt
1250 Hancock Street, Suite 802-N
Quincy, MA 02169

Ted Kennedy (Senator to Massachusetts)
Senator Ted Kennedy
2400 JFK Building
Boston, MA 02203

John Kerry (Senator to Massachusetts)
Senator John Kerry
One Bowdoin Square
Tenth Floor
Boston, MA 02114

Ike Skelton (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee)
Congressman Ike Skelton
1401 Southwest Blvd, Suite 101
Jefferson City, MO 65109-2429

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