I will no longer be complicit in genocide. Free Palestine!

Bushnell then doused himself with a flammable liquid and ignited it while shouting “Free Palestine!”

As per a BBC report, the incident occurred around 1 p.m. in north-west Washington, with Secret Service officers rushing over. At first they trained their guns on him, and called for him to lie down—whether in surrender or to extinguish the flames remains unclear, but a firefighter is heard saying in exasperated tones on the live video “I don’t need guns, I need fire extinguishers!”.

When they managed to put the fire out, Bushnell was finally moved to a local hospital.

Despite efforts to save him, Bushnell succumbed to his injuries on 26 February, sparking a thorough investigation by local police, the Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the report added.

Bushnell’s profound act of self-immolation was captured on video and aired live on streaming site Twitch, wherein he expressed his refusal to be complicit in what he termed “genocide” against the Palestinian people.

Even the usually circumspect CNN and the New York Times—which have been widely pilloried for their euphemisms on the subject of the situation in Gaza and Israel’s relationship with Palestine and Palestinians—made note of the incident, which clearly could not be ignored.

That the Air Force confirmed Bushnell’s identity and revealed his role as a cyber defense operations specialist assigned to the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing, and that he was on active duty until his death lent particular power to his act of protest— given that the US has been sending military aid and arms to Israel and supported its ‘right to defend itself, repeatedly vetoing global sanctions against it in the UN.

For an active duty member of the armed forces to protest against its diplomatic stance carries a certain extra weight, certainly.

Col. Celina Noyes, commander of the 70th ISR Wing, extended condolences to Bushnell’s family and emphasised the need for privacy during this difficult time.

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