In March of this year an unnamed ‘Rogue soldier’ had been reported to have killed sixteen and wounded five civilians, which soon grew to six, in two villages in Kandahar Province. Military officials front-loaded the idea that he was alone during the massacres; some witnesses have claimed that several other soldiers were involved. Patrick Martin at wssw.org has written that nearly every fact the US military has asserted is false according to witnesses and the Karzai government. Nine of the dead were children; in one house eleven bodies were placed in a pile and burned. Eleven of the total dead consisted of one entire family.
An Article 32 hearing is apparently the military equivalent of a grand jury; part of its purpose is to establish whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed with a court martial. The other purposes are to allow defense attorneys to know what evidence prosecutors have against their client/s, and discredit witnesses or evidence as far as possible at this early stage.
For the past seven months, Bales has been incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, where Bradley Manning has been so unconscionably been held for doing the right thing. Bales has been charged with sixteen counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder; he was moved to Joint Base Lewis -McChord in WA state for the hearing. The prosecution team was headed by Lt. Col. Jay Morse, and according to CapitalBay.com, the investigating officer will make a written recommendation within a week, and then:
That recommendation goes next to the brigade command, and the ultimate decision would be made by the three-star general on the base. There’s no clear sense of how long that could take before a decision is reached on whether to proceed to a court-martial trial. If a court-martial takes place, it will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Washington state base south of Seattle, and witnesses will be flown in from Afghanistan.
Prosecutors have alleged that Staff Sergeant Robert Bales slipped out of his base, Camp Bellambay, early on March 11 under cover of darkness, and went on foot to two villages in Southern Afghanistan and committed atrocities hideous enough to warrant the death penalty. Blood on his clothes matched some of the murdered civilians, but it’s unclear when those samples might have been taken; perhaps from the walls? From the ctpost.com: