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Nearly four years after Islamist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar!” (“Allah is greater!”) and brutally murdered 14 people (including an unborn baby) and injured 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas, he now receives free helicopter rides from the local jail nearly every day, lives in a private room built to accommodate his medical needs, wears a beard against Army regulations, travels with his own security detail, has received numerous trial delays and collects a full salary of about $80,000 a year – all while many of his victims say they’ve been forgotten.
According to KXAS-TV, the NBC News affiliate in Dallas, the Army psychiatrist has been paid more than $278,000 since the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting because the military has said it cannot suspend his pay without a conviction.
Hasan, 42, is facing 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder as his trial begins Tuesday. The New York Times reported the Army has spent more than $5 million on Hasan’s case and secured the courthouse with massive sand-packed barriers to protect him from explosions.
The Army has paid for Hasan’s military defense lawyers, paralegals and experts for his defense. Hasan also enjoys a heavily guarded trailer near the courthouse. The court-martial is expected to last at least a month.
No other inmate at the Bell County jail is treated the same way.
After struggling to cope with the tragedy, Staff Sgt. Josh Berry, 36, a soldier who survived Hasan’s attack committed suicide on Feb 13.
In what his father described as the “his absolute proudest moment in the United States Army,” Berry met President Obama at a service for victims of the brutal attack. During the memorial service, Obama never once used the word terrorism.
Berry, who had suffered from post-traumatic stress in Afghanistan, injured his shoulder as he leaped for cover in the storm of bullets at Fort Hood.
“He was in a war zone 24/7,” his father, Howard Berry, told NBC. “He honestly was.”
After he survived the worst shooting on an American military installation, the Army sent Berry to receive treatment at a VA hospital in Cincinnati, but his condition worsened as he no longer felt safe at home.
“He was never at peace,” Howard said. “He was never at peace. Every day, since the Fort Hood shooting, he suffered.”
According to his father, Sgt. Berry felt the Obama administration had forgotten the victims of that tragic day. The victims were denied Purple Heart medals and combat-related benefits because the Army determined the shooting was not an act of terrorism – despite Hasan’s own admission that he killed innocent Americans to defend the Taliban.
Here’s video of the KXAS-TV investigation of the case:
As WND reported, for years, the Obama administration has maintained that the victims of the 2009 shooting simply were in the crosshairs of “workplace violence.”
"He felt that there were considerations being given to the shooter that weren't being given to the victims, and he couldn't understand," Howard Berry said.
Maj. Greg Majewski, Berry's former commander, said the government's delays and treatment of the victims "weighed heavily" on Berry.
"It affected his ability to cope because he would definitely get obsessive about it," Majewski said. "It was something that was constantly on his mind. … I just cannot imagine Josh taking his life if the events at Fort Hood had not happened that day."
Howard Berry said, "I can understand why [Josh] did what he did, because he felt that our country left a wounded soldier on the battlefield. And he felt that he wasn't given the same consideration that our enemies were, and he didn't understand."
Hasan had been on federal officials’ radar screen for at least six months prior to the shooting over postings he made on the Internet. He likened a suicide bomber who kills women and children to a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to give his life in a “noble cause.”
Intelligence officials also intercepted at least 18 emails between Hasan and the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Hasan told al-Awlaki in one of the emails, “I can’t wait to join you” in paradise. He also asked al-Awlaki whether it was appropriate to kill innocents in a suicide attack, when jihad was acceptable and how to transfer funds without attracting government notice.
Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning was shot six times in the attack, yet he is denied the same benefits a soldier shot in a similar action overseas would receive.
Fellow soldiers that day “were killed and wounded by … somebody who was there that day to kill soldiers, to prevent them from deploying,” Manning said. “And if that’s not an act of war, an act of terrorism, I don’t know what is.”
Staff Sgt. Alonzo M. Lunsford Jr. was shot once in the head and six times in the body. He pretended to be dead and then tried to get out of the building, but Hasan shot him again in the back.
Now, according to the New York Times, Lunsford will face Hasan in court Tuesday when he testifies at the trial. Lunsford told the Times the Army garnished his pay when he sought treatment at a military post-traumatic stress disorder program and rejected his request to pay for an operation to remove a bullet still lodged in his back.
“We don’t get passes the way Major Hasan got passes,” Lunsford said. “Each one of us has gotten a raw deal somewhere down the line.”
Spc. Logan Burnett, another survivor of the attack who was shot three times, said he feels the Army has catered to the needs of Hasan but forgotten his victims. Burnett told NBC he was particularly disturbed by the government's refusal to designate the shooting as a terror attack.
"The day that came out was the day the government looked at every single one of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting and spit in our faces."