Disturbing Questions About The Civilian Massacre In Afghanistan: UPDATE

Posted: March 21, 2012 in law
Tags: , , , ,
Afghanistan Boy (photo: UN Photos/flickr)

Afghanistan Boy (photo: UN Photos/flickr)

Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com has a report this morning linking to an AP article in The Australian that U.S. soldiers lined up against a wall all of the adult males in the village of Mokhoyan after an IED blew up a tank injuring American soldiers at a location near the village.

According to the report, the villagers said the Americans told them they knew they were responsible for the IED and they were going to kill at least 20 villagers, including children, to avenge the attack.

According to the villagers, the incident occurred on March 8th. Mokhoyan is in the vicinity of the two villages (Balandi and Alkozai) where Staff Sergeant Robert Bales allegedly murdered 16 civilians, including 9 children, setting some of the bodies on fire during the predawn hours of March 11th.

Jason Ditz also reports today that Bales’s attorney, John Henry Browne, said his client has no memory of the incident and he denies drinking more than a sip or two alcohol that night.

Mr. Browne also said that Bales told him that a friend lost a leg in an IED explosion while on a patrol on March 9th.

The U.S. military has neither confirmed nor denied that the IED explosion reported by the villagers of Mokhoyan is the same incident that Staff Sergeant Bales mentioned to his attorney.

The villagers in Balandi and Alkozai claim that a group of U.S. soldiers committed the murders. The military insists that Staff Sergeant Bales was the only soldier involved.

Appears that the bodies may have been buried before autopsies could be performed to determine specific facts, such as,

(1) the time of death for each victim;

(2) whether more than weapon was involved;

(3) whether the fatal shot or shots were fired from close range;

(4) what was the trajectory of bullet or bullets;

(5) whether there were any exit wounds;

(6) whether there was any evidence (i.e., ligature marks) that the bodies were bound (e.g., wrists tied behind the back);

(7) whether there were any puncture or slashing type wounds consistent with the use of a sharp piercing or cutting instrument like a knife; and

(8) whether there was any evidence of physical torture prior to death.

We also do not know if the houses in which the murders took place were investigated as crime scenes. For example, were any slugs and casings recovered and, if so, how many weapons and what type were involved. Another question I have is whether any bloody fingerprints or footprints were found.

I also wonder if there were any cigarette butts or empty bottles or cans of beer or booze at the crimes scenes. If there were, there would likely be recoverable saliva residue that could be DNA tested to determine the identity of the person or persons who contributed the saliva.

Even if no saliva residue were found, which is unlikely, the presence of more than one brand of cigarette would indicate more than one smoker.

I know from my personal experience in all of the homicide cases I handled, that the most common reason for a killer to burn or dismember a dead body is to prevent identification of the victim and/or to obstruct or prevent a determination of the cause of death and identification of the perpetrator. Staff Sergeant Bales would not have had any reason to burn the bodies, if he acted alone.

I am having a difficult time believing that one person is responsible and today’s news about soldiers lining men up against a wall and telling them they were going to kill at least 20 villagers, including children, is deeply troubling.

Given Staff Sergeant Bales’s convenient loss of memory, I am beginning to suspect that this matter, including the murders and his surrender, was planned and staged to obstruct an investigation to prevent anyone from being convicted.

Therefore, I am going to hazard a guess and predict that no bloodstains were found on his uniform or hands and his weapons had not been fired.

Also based on my experience, I would expect to find high velocity blood spatter on the clothing worn by any shooter who fired a shot within 12 to 18 inches from a victim. The sleeves, shirts, pants, and pockets would be a good place to look for blood spatter, smeared blood, and gunshot residue.

Staff Sergeant Bales will not be convicted if there is no physical evidence tying him to the murders, he did not confess, and he does not recall anything.

If my suspicion is correct, how far up the chain of command does the cover-up go and who had advance knowledge of the massacre?

Did Staff Sergeant Bales even participate in the homicides?


USA Today has reported that Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder, plus some additional charges related to the civilian massacre on March 11th.

No surprise there, but the question is whether they can prove it.

Here’s a surprise. According to the report his lawyer, John Henry Browne, said,

“I’m not putting the war on trial,” Browne has said, “but the war is on trial.” He added: “If I can help create a discussion about the war, that would be a great way for me to go out.”

That’s a rather odd remark for a lawyer to make. Sounds like he views the case as being more about him than his client.

I don’t want to be too hasty in criticizing him, but I find this remark disquieting.

(h/t to Madhoosier @ Smirking Chimp for the link to the USA Today story)


Cross posted from my law blog.

  1. ed nelson says:

    This is good forensics thinking… in this ” Post Rule of law era… ( how long will that scenario play our or last?…[some of that has always alive and well: just to witness your interesting story, e,g,.? ) but they use the term… “post industrial”… “post modern”… I am always just guessing at the meanings to these “intellectual” creations/ log jams,…

    going away from the rule of law… who benefits? (0.1ners…) pretty much and their Satanic origin.

    Not a thumper but you got to be daft not to see some of that… some of that meaning/signifyin’ because “don’t matter how you get there… dead reckoning… what ever. it is real plain, that the people need to resist the pressure that is exerted on them 24/7 to do “social atomization” for one!!

    Which leads me to where I thought I would like to answer Crane Say’s thing… delving into the net blogging stuff… I almost wonder if I in my person/blogg comments, might even have had some promt effect, to add reason to… do some enquirey… wonder, where the heck do these… bloggers come from and why, and conversely, obviously, what is our own motive force.

    Other than any prosaic to gain crap..

    Alex Jones was completely on fire on yesterdays “radio show”, online.

    I am always skeptical… but got to say… righty wingy stuff, isn’t always off the table… He made some wing dingin’ comments today… so’s I thought I should clue you in… it might be a good one to watch.


  2. ed nelson says:

    Revision… (humorous, I hope…) I will change it to: Geofdog… has a kinda ring…. (haha.

    Proff, or others.. just want to get it right… because see, one can antagonize so easy… and then you lost em. I don’t know jack shit… but as I start putting my little twinkel to work, I see so many of these hidden mine fields that deffinately derail any good meaning you would wish to impart.

    Please Sir… I certainly would never be whimsical with the likes of your… f”n reputation. Since it is bloggosphere,,, I get to say that… but tell you what… I means some of that… and I also mean, that I don’t mean to be in any way disrespectfull. Mostly it is just typing practice… like a 66 yr old guy is going to land a wonderful front desk job in oh… one of those horrible high rises…. I went down there with a (old friend…who owns a “company” that services… “computors”… but the guy is a phoney… I don’t exactly know how convoluted that particular story might be… I am synthesysing some of the long time info….. I think he may have been sidlined… or INOW’s. probably was some kind of bot.. asshole who could be counted on to never figure that out…

    a close to 100 scoure for sure.. if you added in the electrical knowledge he would go up to 125.

    Oh well guess, I ain’t much of a happy camper… but it was a good life… com se cum sawr” I would preffer a more vital planet to live on… ( Tunnel in the Sky” Robert Heinlein ) where you would have to make some protection from the “Stobar” ape like creatures that came in waves, weirdly like the migration of thos African “Wilderbeasts”.. (did anybody ever ask what the African name for the wimpy version of a bison was??… [wimpy looking… not whimpy in reallity… so stipulated…)

    • Geofdog does have a nice ring. I am meaning to listen to the music sometime today, thank you! There is no sound on my computer, so I have to share and sometimes this is a bit difficult, so bear with me.

  3. ed nelson says:

    Of course all any of us is doing is to provide…. To provide a type of “calibration” deal… to put in lights some way that… well guess it will come in handy, when one day… and so videra.

  4. ed nelson says:

    Revise: we provide that data… so that some of what I guess we used to reffer to as “social scientists”… or “Sociologists”… haha… (don’t think that thay don’t have any power… They just might have power… and their fellow travelers… psychologists, and worse: “social ‘workers'”,) boy if you want to mine that ore.

    And the so called “intelectuals” sick bastards.

  5. ed nelson says:

    Geof dog it is… geofdog! you created a monstra… note that is not you know… which i would not abide… not to be one, and not to be called one neither… not untill the time is ripe for some serious action… my deal is: you only want to just do them in. not to torture.

    That’s my point. I use insecticide… I like stuff like Volk oil spray, which kills those plant lice things… like aphis… and their monster ant helpers… the exotic Argentine and that is out of control and will bring down the whole northern American Continent… give them time… !

    The oil kills those lice and really cool, is that and this is remarkable… the ant helpers… they don’t come back… like they have… hate to say it… they have some connection to… hate to say it… only between you/ me/ and the fence post”: they are hooked into that thing ole Dr. Jung was talkin’ bout… a kind of collective conscience….

    Rats are not able to read and write… Right? But if you have had rats in your place, one thing you will find out, is thay ain’t all that… dumb… collectively…. a little like birdies too… they have some features of awarness… that we … big monster apes.. ( Eliphants…. ) don’t even understand.

  6. ed nelson says:

    That did sound like a lame ass drunk comment… well fine, study it for a couple years… I meant it in every way. I have seen evidence of how these little critters operate. E,g. the rats to start with… I don’t enjoy to kill even these critters. But you know you can’t live with em, they are disease ridden and hungry, so just keep em out of our living quarters, if that is possible.

    You can poison some, and you can trap some, and you could play other angles… get a good ratter cat and rat terrier too… but there is always a rat… they have a real survival instinct/ tool in their little tool chest: a range of behaviour, a ranging none quantifyable range of unknown possibilities…

    Oh well that is my point, hope you dig what I said.

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