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Bales Charged With 17 Counts of Murder

Posted on Mar 23, 2012
AP / DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock, File

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in this Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System file photo from August 2011.

On Friday, the U.S. military took a significant step in the case of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the American soldier accused of killing 17 civilians in Afghanistan on March 11, by formally charging him with 17 counts of murder, along with other alleged crimes. Although the turnaround time for this installment was relatively short, given the international sensitivity of Bales’ case, this is likely to be a long and involved legal process, as USA Today explains below.  —KA 

USA Today:

Bales was also charged with six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault, the U.S. military said in an announcement.

Bales is accused of slipping off a combat outpost in southern Afghanistan and slaughtering villagers as they slept.

He could face the death penalty if convicted, though the military has not executed anyone since the early 1960s.

The charges are an initial step in the military’s legal system. Next, Bales will face an Article 32 hearing, which is roughly equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding. If the charges hold up in that proceeding, he would face a general court-martial.

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By diamond, April 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

4 April 2012
The shadow of a US Marine in Afghanistan.
What is really going on in Afghanistan?

Mike Carey on ‘The Drum’ website:

“What is going on in Afghanistan? The slaughter of 16 women and children (later confirmed as 17) is explained away as the work of one rogue soldier.

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald compiled a US summary of what supposedly motivated Staff Sergeant, Robert Bales to collect his bloody harvest: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty and he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre”.

Compare that with the Afghan, Indian and Russian perspectives.

On March 15, The Pajhwok Afghan News reported the following:

A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.

The report went on to explain that a “delegation of lawmakers” from the Wolesi Jirga or the lower house of parliament examined the scene, in Panjwai district, talking to survivors and bereaved families.

One of the politicians, Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News:

  The attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday…

  The villages are one and a half kilometres from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.

On March 17, Russia Today called the Kandahar massacre “preplanned” murder, according to Afghan Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sher Mohammad Karimi.

On March 18, India’s Siasat Daily headlined, “US Forces raped two Afghan women,” before killing them.

On March 21, the Associated Press reported:

Several Afghans near the villages where an American soldier is alleged to have killed 16 civilians say US troops lined them up against a wall after a roadside bombing and told them that they, and even their children, would pay a price for the attack.”

Patsy alert.

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By PatrickHenry, March 31, 2012 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Am I the only one who is getting tired of being lied to by the Government and news media?

Their collective credibility is falling daily and it is no wonder why disclosures like Wikileaks are so popular because they give us a glimpse of what truth is.

Survivors talk about Bales co-conspirators.

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By oakland steve, March 26, 2012 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Anyone looking for justice in this matter can forget it right now. The US removed the defendant thousand of miles from the scene of the crime.  Bales’s attorney has already stated, on camera, that there is no evidence of any crime having been committed—it’s all back in (surprise!) Afghanistan.

The witnesses, the forensic evidence, the crime scene—all essential factors in determining guilt or innocence—have been left behind in a political ass saving effort by DOD and/or State.

What will take place will be a show trial with justice for none of the victims, much less for the defendant.

Our tax dollars at work.

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By omop, March 26, 2012 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Say your name is Ali and one of children was killed by Sgt. Bales and you
just received a check for $50,000 US dollars. Jump forward several months
and you are requested to appear in the trial of Sgt. Bales. Que passa?

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By Maani, March 25, 2012 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment


Just for the record, $50,000US is about $500,000 Afghani.  Just saying.


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By gerard, March 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

The one “climate change” that would change everything for the better is the
human climate, a rise in the quality of soul.  Having souls, for better or for worse,
it’s up to humans to choose to evolve.  As more and more learn and listen and see,
the climate of the human soul changes, inevitably, gradually.  Each one of us is a
piece of that soul.  Each small choice has its larger significance. 
  A worm becomes a butterfly. If such a marvel was possible even once, who can
prophesy the epiphanies to come? Every one of us lives at the crux of that choice,
minute by minute, as the parts assemble themselves and become whole.
  Inescapably, we are both Bales and his helpless Afghanistan victims, both
generals and taxpayers.  We try to avoid the schizoid double identity, but its
recognition is what will save us from extinction.

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By Tryin' to Believe, March 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a stunning lack of empathy between the two peoples: enither side knows
each other or wants to understand the “other.” Two movies discussed here
afghanistan) give you an insight into how this war looks and works.

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By bluejeanne, March 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Search results Update on the Disposition of Military Insanity Acquittees
The following update reviews the subject ... and must undergo a Medical Evaluation Board, the Army’s ... the adjudication and disposition of military insanity ...

TRUTHDIG did not allow my comment of 3/23 to appear re: military insanity review board

Did you think it was a fabrication ?

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By bluejeanne, March 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It appears Bales will be bailed-out by an insanity plea__ meanwhile U.S. taxpayers will pay the compensation of $50,000 per victim which has become the usual amount for victims’ families in Afghanistan. Who said you can’t put a “price” on human life ?

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By Brenda Koehler, March 25, 2012 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bales had a bad character before he joined the military to escape the consequences of civilian life.

He killed nine children (if he acted alone which I doubt) and deserves nothing but repudiation.  I have zero sympathy for him.  Just the thought of entertaining sympathy for such a butchering monster is ludicrous.

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By Maani, March 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment


You talk about “another world.”  I’m sure you are aware that, for many years,  Dennis Kucinich called for the creation of a “Department of Peace” to balance the Department of Defense - which he rightly called the Department of War.  As you also know, Kucinich was just gerrymandered out of office.

Seems like that “other world” is getting further and further away.


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By Maani, March 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment


You talk about “another world.”  I’m sure you are aware that, for many years,  Dennis Kucinich called for the creation of a “Department of Peace” to balance the Department of Defense - which he rightly called the Department of War.  As you also know, Kucinich was just gerrymandered out of office.

Seems like that “other world” is getting further and further away.


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By gerard, March 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Without wars the Pentagon and its allied agencies would go out of business and shut down. So ...

The Pentagon convinces or forces our young men (and now women) to suit up, shut up and train to become killers.

When a war “happens” somewhere, they become killers, they kill people, and sooner or later it wears them out—the sheer agony of killing.  They cave in, break up, fall apart, strike out. Sit on a park bench and eat peanuts.

The Pentagon’s job is not to bring people back to life.  Who can do that?  What’s the alternative?

Obvious. But sooner or later that means “no more Pentagon.” There’s the rub.

Another world is possible—waiting for you and me and millions of us together worldwide to make it happen. We can.  Will we?

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By bluejeanne, March 24, 2012 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If this case is reviewed by a “military board of insanity”; I implore that same commission to judge the “sanity” of GW, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheyney, Condaleezza Rice, et al.  “They” might as well determine the “sanity” of General Petraus and our current Commander-in-Chief as well.

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By Maani, March 24, 2012 at 7:37 am Link to this comment


Even a “conspiracy theorist” like myself knows that not EVERYTHING is a conspiracy, and that even the U.S. government does the RIGHT thing once in a great while…LOL.


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By omop, March 24, 2012 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

The resolution to this event will in all probability take months. Its
interesting to note that the trial is not being held on a US/NATO base in
Afghanistan where the “evidence” exists and potential witnesses live.

War is definitely hell as it has been said many a time.

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By jimmmmmy, March 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Maani Your so credulous it hurts. this is the same military that said Pat Tillman was killed by enemy action and is now claiming that this poor bastard acted alone. And Oswald was a lone gunman, give your head a shake.

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By Maani, March 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

At the risk of sounding decidedly right-wing (which those who know me here know is 180 degrees from my political leaning), aren’t we forgetting something?  Yes, the policy that put this on a fourth tour was outrageous, and that should be addressed.  But…

This guy went out, on his own, and flagrantly murdered 17 civilians in cold blood.  I consider it a “good” thing that he is being charged with 17 murders instead of just getting a “slap on the wrist” - which would only go to prove that the U.S. doesn’t care - and will support a soldier - even when they do something as horrific as this.

I’m trying to understand why all of you think this guy should just “walk”...  ??

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By PatrickHenry, March 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

If we were to ‘give up’ Bales to the Afghans to be tried by their people it go a long way to prevent another massacre where have American soldiers wastefully garrisoned.

The Afghans would be playing polo with his head by sundown.

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By Blueokie, March 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

jimmmmmy - To your point, in 2009, in the eastern Afghan province of Farab south of Herat three villages were bombed killing 147 civilians.  Since it was in a “dangerous” area there wasn’t much of an investigation.  The official military explanation was that the Taliban were responsible and destroyed the villages by throwing grenades into the houses.  This was in spite of the three villages being pockmarked with large iron bomb craters.

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By traynorjf, March 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment


It was Medina and his immediate in command who should have been hung out to
dry, but they knew where the bodies were, not Calley, that piece of inconsequential

In regards Sgt. Bales: I hope he gets a square shake, but it doesn’t look good.  A
poor bastard in a long line of poor bastards. A bullet in the back of the neck
would have been merciful.

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By radson, March 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Is there a problem with ‘Management’ here ,shouldn’t the higher ups be brought to bear for this obvious snow ball effect .

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By gerard, March 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

What IS this gruesome charade going on here:
  An illegal, unnecessary war lasting beyond all sane limits, stressing two nations to the breaking point because the much bigger nation wants to “win” and can’t?
  Individuals being used and used again under tremendous stresses, doing immoral things day after day that injure others and themselves.
  Horrible breaks occur; then people are further punished for breaking—all because of false pride and stubbornness. And money-making exploitation.
4. People self-righteously pretending to be “better”
“superior” “different” “not guilty” “not as guilty as” ... ad naseum. Driving each other insane. It’s all self-destruction.
  This guy did nothing worse than his own commanders. Why should he be punished and they not?
And what good will punishment do anyway?  Will it cure the evil?  No, it will simply add to the horror.

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By jimmmmmy, March 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

My sympathy is with Mr. Bales He took an illegal short cut and is now being pillored by the media. Just goes to show timing is everthing. As a Vietnam vet I recall the rule being it was “legal” to drop a 5000 pounder from 30000 feet on a village killing dozens but it was “illegal” for ground troops to light up the same village. I think Mr Bales is a victim of these rules as well as being at a confluence of negative events over their. Poor bastards being hung out to dry like Calley from Mai Lai. Calley was pardoned later of course and did no time, but I don’t see that happening here.

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