01/03/2024 strategic-culture.su  6 min 🇬🇧 #243945

Aaron Bushnell s'est immolé pour attirer l'attention sur Gaza

Aaron Bushnell, Who Self-Immolated for Palestine, Had Grown Deeply Disillusioned With the Military

"I have been complicit in the violent domination of the world and I will never get the blood off my hands."

Aaron Bushnell, the active-duty U.S. Air Force airman who set himself on fire Sunday to  protest Israel's war on Gaza, appears to have grown disillusioned with the U.S. military and his own role as a service member, according to posts on the online forum Reddit under a handle matching one used by Bushnell.

Bushnell, 25, made international news when he professed that he would "no longer be complicit in genocide" and recorded himself shouting "Free Palestine!" as he burned to death in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Sunday. "I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest," Bushnell had announced on a livestream before his self-immolation, "but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers is not extreme at all."

The Reddit posts, by a user named acebush1 and mostly from the past four years, chronicle a young person's experience struggling with money as the pandemic took hold. The Reddit poster turned to the military and was initially enamored with the Air Force, but quickly came to denounce it.

In the months leading up to Bushnell's act of self-immolation, several of acebush1's posts showed how sharply their view of the military had shifted. On the r/Airforce subreddit, a user asked veterans whether, in hindsight, they would still choose to join the military. Acebush1  answered, "Absolutely not."

"I have been complicit in the violent domination of the world," they said, "and I will never get the blood off my hands."

Aaron Bushnell, Who Self-Immolated for Palestine, Had Grown Deeply Disillusioned With the Military

The Intercept analysis linked the acebush1 Reddit account to Bushnell by analyzing his social media activity. In a post on Facebook the same day as his self-immolation, Bushnell had posted a link to the video streaming platform Twitch with the username LillyAnarKitty. Using a  Twitch username history tool that identifies a user's prior account names, The Intercept found that the same Twitch User ID number used by LillyAnarKitty previously employed the handle acebush1.

A Reddit user with the same username - acebush1 - posted over a thousand times since 2014. The Reddit posts mention details that align closely with Bushnell's life, including being in the Air Force, having a friend who was a conscientious objector, and studying computer science.

As this story was being drafted, acebush1's posts started to be removed from Reddit. The posts were archived and, though Reddit instantly deletes posts from their new interface, visiting the  old-style Reddit user profile page reveals their recently deleted posts.

"A Regret I Will Carry"

The acebush1 Reddit user joined the military soon after posting about their financial struggles at the beginning of the pandemic. On March 19, 2020, acebush1 inquired about becoming an Uber Eats driver. The following month they posted asking for financial help: "HELP - Can't get stimulus or unemployment benefits, about to run out of money."

In May, acebush1 posted a photo with the caption "My Dad getting suited up to give me a goodbye? hug before I leave for BMT" - basic military training. According to  Bushnell's LinkedIn page, he enrolled in "Basic & Technical Training" in the Air Force in May 2020.

Several months into enrollment, acebush1 appeared excited by the Air Force, reposting a video of a military aircraft in August 2020 and giving it a heading that said: "Man, the Air Force does some cool-ass shit."

Acebush1 also regularly posted in various video game Reddit communities, including one dedicated to the video game "Valheim." In Bushnell's self-immolation livestream, the liquid container he is carrying has a sticker with the slogan 'the bees are happy,' a meme from "Valheim."

In November 2021, acebush1 made multiple posts asking about advice in pursuing a computer science degree. Bushnell's LinkedIn  profile, which has been  memorialized "as a tribute to Aaron Bushnell's professional legacy," lists him as having been in the process of pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer software engineering.

Nearly a year later, acebush1's posts shifted from largely video game-based content to posts with titles like " Solidarity with Prisoners!" with a link to a  Guardian article about an Alabama prison strike, and to reposting a  meme image of anarchist philosopher Max Stirner. In 2023, acebush1 made a post with the title " Free Palestine!" and linked to a video of an activist takeover of UAV Tactical Systems, a drone company operated in part by the Israeli  defense contractor  Elbit Systems.

"I didn't realize what a huge mistake it was until I was more than halfway through."

Shortly after the pro-Palestine post, in June 2023, acebush1  wrote, "I'm sticking it out to the end of my contract as I didn't realize what a huge mistake it was until I was more than halfway through, and I only have a year left at this point. However it is a regret I will carry the rest of my life."

The poster mentioned a friend who left the armed services on the basis of conscientious objection; Bushnell's friend Levi Pierpont,  according to the Washington Post, objected and left the military.

Acebush1's posts became more stridently pro-Palestinian as Israel's war in Gaza got underway. In  one, they denounce Israel as a "settler colonialist apartheid state," and exclaim that there are no Israeli "civilians" because the entire country is engaged in oppression. They refuse on several occasion to denounce armed Palestinian resistance, saying in the apartheid post that they "work for the air force and would also have no right to complain about violent resistance against my actions."

In November 2023, acebush1 made  another post describing "the moral necessity of getting out."

In the last few months, acebush1 accelerated their posting across various anarchism-related Reddit communities, as well as on other various communities. "Piracy is always ethical," acebush1 posted. "If you think that you're making a difference with who you do and don't choose to give your money to, you don't understand how markets work."

Acebush1's last Reddit post was on February 24, expounding on  how "whiteness erases culture" - a day before Bushnell's self-immolating direct action. In an earlier post, acebush1 had written, "I've never been one for bullshit."

Original article:  theintercept.com