Military could visit Afghan shooting site
April 3rd, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Military could visit Afghan shooting site

By Barbara Starr

U.S. military investigators may travel as early as this week to the Afghan villages where an American soldier is alleged to have shot and killed 17 civilians last month in a shooting rampage.

It would be the first visit by U.S. investigators who had been staying away out of respect to the villagers angry about the shooting.

The military is coordinating details of the visit with the Afghans, a U.S. official told CNN.

So far, the U.S. Army had been relying on evidence collected by Afghan officials at the two villages. Little forensic evidence may be left, the official said, but American investigators hope to dig out of walls whatever bullets are left and examine their trajectories.

The attorney for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of the shooting, has questioned how solid the evidence against his client is.

"There's no forensic evidence. There's no confessions," attorney John Henry Browne said on March 23.

The military is also responding to claims by Browne that it has not provided crucial evidence to the defense team.

"The SSG Bales investigation is still ongoing. The prosecution will provide the defense with evidence in accordance with the Rules for Courts-Martial and the Military Rules of Evidence. Within these guidelines the prosecution is and has been communicating with the defense," said Maj. Chris Ophardt, a spokesman for 1st Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Bales' home base.

Prosecutors do not have to provide evidence until an Article 32 hearing is ordered. At such a hearing, authorities would determine whether to proceed with charges or let experts find out if Bales' mental health may be a factor in his defense.

Military prosecutors have been discussing with Browne the possibility of moving Bales from confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to his home base, according to a U.S. Army official familiar with the discussions.

"We are in discussions on the timing, if it happens," the official said, emphasizing that Bales could still be ordered to remain at Fort Leavenworth.

The official declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of discussions about moving Bales to Lewis-McChord. But he said the reasons for moving him could include easier access to his civilian attorney, as well as potential future visits with his family. But he emphasized that the Army could still decide to leave Bales at Leavenworth.

The two sides are also discussing the timing of a potential mental health evaluation as well as the next legal step, which would be the Article 32 hearing to review the evidence against Bales.

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  9. Valera

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    October 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  10. beezy

    for u people out there blasting America for what this guy did, saying the US government will cover it up is just plain stupid. first off we would not do that. the US Army and the United States has integrity. obama may not but thats another topic. do we make mistakes? yes. do we have some bad apple? yes. but for you (i am assuming britts said this cuz of the word yanks used) that are trashing this country, you should be so lucky to live here. oh! and I do not hate the brittish btw but yall sure seem to hate us.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply
  11. doc

    i just want to say how sick of all of you whiney people i am. i am here right now, and am living with these people. in the past few months, i have fought the taliban, the pashtuns, the pakistanis, and the farmers who just want us gone, i am not political at all but if you havent served over here, then shut your suck hole. i have been shot at, blown up, booby trapped, and just about everything else you can think of. i have loaded my friends and my enemies on to choppers wounded, and a good friend even KIA. we cant even return fire, for the fear that the american media will crucify us. its sad really, you people have no idea what is going on over here, however you want to voice your opinion on every little thing that happens over here. how do you know what this man was going through, maybe he lost his friend from that village the day before, maybe he was injured? the american media makes me sick, all you want is the juicy story of how a u.s. servicemember is in the wrong for killing a few "innocent" people. i can tell you this, there are very few truly innocent people over here. they may not be the ones activly blowing us up, or shooting at us, but they are covering for the people who are. case and point, we get shot at, when we come back and ask questions the locals say "no, no one here would shoot at you, we dont know who did it" but fire came into my platoon last night from this same village. a village of no more than 15-20 people.

    April 4, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
  12. God Bless America

    Bales didnt act alone....heez just the patsy.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
    • doc

      and you my friend are uninformed.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  13. the news guy 225

    lots of you people think its smart to say its good we got that guy to kill tons of people but you dont under stand because even if you hate the country you need to act as if you like it because its small things like this that make other countries hate us and say bad things about us and if we keep it up in future wars the middle east may be friends with our enemies for these reasons

    April 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  14. Zoglet

    I am shocked and disgusted that the US military investigators have not yet visited the sitet. Its fairly obvious they are not going to try very hard to convict this man and that his vicitms will not know justice. Unbeleivable!

    April 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Golgotha

      Genius, the Afghan government refused access to American investigators.

      April 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply
      • Hector

        Yes, the smart thing to do was to check out the scene first just to make sure the U.S. wont try to cover it up. Wouldn't you do the same if in their shoes?

        April 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    well spoken guys

    April 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  16. i am sam

    [QUOTE who="Faith"]Because Israel is a responsible and rational nation and Iran is a terroristic, crackpot theocracy. [/QUOTE]

    Israel is a proven terrorist state, that has carried out aggressive actions against their own allies, not to mention innocent civillians.

    White phosphorous...

    Bomblets in lebannon..

    And AIPACS enourmous influence in American politics.

    That is the face of true terrorism.

    April 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • Hector

      Yes, that is the truth that they don 't want the rest of the world to know. Israel was born through terrorism from its very beginning before it was even recognized as a state. They murdered, terrorized, and evicted the Palestinian population which far outnumbered the Zionists. Prior to its recognition as a state by the U.N. these Zionists moved into the territory of Palestine from post war Europe in order to legitimize their occupation and recognition as Israeli citizens. Only problem was that there were a huge Arab population that had been there living in peace with a small Jewish population. So, yes, Israel is the real terrorist state long before the Palestinians were forced to fight back .with whatever means at their disposal – considering the huge financial and military aid that the Zionists get from the U.S.A. and other Western powers plus international Jewish financiers who wield strong influence in the governments of the West.

      April 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  17. Warren macdonald

    americans are such idiots. Your coments are mindblowing. Aholes!

    April 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Hector

      That is the American flag-waving mentality that this nation was built by.

      April 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
      • Hector

        Or I should say – built on. First it was the Native people who stood in their way, the Negro slaves to make them rich, then it was the Mexicans whose land they coveted, and now its the Arabs with the huge oil reserves followed by the Chinese economic powerhouse and their natural and human resources. In the meantime, watch all the fools cheer on! Ignorance is bliss.

        April 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  18. Firefighter

    All of you idiots that are wanting him dead and on the front lines need to be right there with him and get shot first. Do yall idiots not remember September 11, when thousands of INNOCENT people lost their lives?!?!? You cannot trust anyone over seas cause when you turn your back on them they will try to shoot you for trying to help their country. I will stand up for him and the U.S. Get a brain or get out of the America please!

    April 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Well said

      Send him back to do some more killing.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • Amazing

        You know, not all of them are bad. But everyone has there own opinions. And you can't tell the difference in Friend or Enemy until someone pulls the cord and everyone explodes. Just saying. We need to get out of there and worry about our own Goddamn economy before we step into anyone else's. Lets worry about our own problems before trying to fix others.

        April 4, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • sanityisreallyoverrated

      I agree, he should be sent free and get cake. After all, life of one uberme-, uh, American soldier is worth way, way more than some brownskinned subhumans.
      Any bets how much jihadists and terrorists this man created this night? If something like this happened to my family, I certainly would want to kill as much of you Yankees as possible. See, exactly same reason like that caused this rampage in first place.

      "try to shoot you for trying to help their country"
      LOL. You probably even sincerely believe this crap about "helping". Gullible idiot.
      "Get a brain or get out of the America please!"
      Maybe America should first get out of few places, eh.

      April 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  19. joe

    We gotta stop spending American blood, on Israeli interests.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  20. Lars

    There is no choice but to put SSGT Bales in front of a firing squad and shoot him.

    April 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  21. Signed

    just sayin, if they put this man to death they should be made to put their own heads on the block. US needs no martyrs. It is a shitty place to be. The ironic part of the whole thing is the mentality of our citizens is we are still lining up to "go again". Now what are all these soldiers going to do when we get them home? You think this looks bad, wait til were all home. More than ten years of this cycle have gone by now. What are the numbers of servicemembers signing since 11? We need to get out of there and reboot our operating system. This man is blatent proof. Get him help. Get this countrys moral compass calibrated. Get on with evolution. Just sayin.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  22. gemini

    Research israels aparteid policies.

    Investigate AIPAC contributions to politicians.

    Israel is the leading cause of anti-semtism.

    Don't support pro zionist politicians.

    Copy and paste. Change perspectives.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • Hector

      Agreed! I'll check out the site.

      April 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  23. oxpecker

    Less than a week after signing the surrender of germany and japan an amreican soldier could walk down any street in those countries. 10 years in Afghanistan billions in aid and thousands of lives on both sides. And you can't go outside the wire anywhere with out being attacked. It's 9 years past time to get out of Afghanistan

    April 3, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
  24. oxpecker

    Helicopter crashes and kills 14 servicemen near Gazni Afghanistan! What does cnn report? a police camera with a guy singing bohemian rapsody! You can't get news from cnn fox nbc cbs or abc. It's incredible what the US doesn't know from the Us media.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  25. Rodeo_Joe

    The evidence doesn't lie. Grissom. Sgt Bales is going down.
    As for comments about foreign barbarism, our USA Headlines today betray any superiority complexes.
    After all. wasn't Sgt. Bales an American?

    April 3, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
    • DRTSAT

      We cannot, based on the action of a few or a government, label all who are a part of a society as barbarians. Not all muslims are bloodthirsty jihadists any more than our troops are. It is worth noting that, Americans, SSG Bales excluded, do not just run around killing everything in site. The Taliban have killed more Afghans in the name of religion than the U.S. or our Allies have killed in combat operations.

      April 3, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
      • Hector

        I know what you mean, but this is a very racist country which you can conclude by its history. Of course you have exceptions and there is a great number of compassionate and progressive thinking Americans too, but intolerance and racial hatred runs deep in the American mentality – it doesn't help either that politicians and other leaders play on the people's fears and apprehensions toward other nationalities, especially when they want to use it to wage a war against a country. Recall how the Japanese Americans were treated in contrast to German or Italian Americans. Just look at the racist and hostile comments against Middle Eastern people. These are the facts my friend!

        April 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  26. Sgt Dev

    Let him go and get help, it is ok for him to go kill whoever we allow but for god sake he take some avenge out on people that have been aiming harm at them everyday. I pray SSGT Bales and his family, And the family of those killed and injured that are innocent. This is in no way ok but people need to understand what they do for a living!

    April 3, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
  27. scranton

    When these illiterate Afghans show as much concern and outrage by the thousands killed in Mosque, School, and Hospital bombings by the Taliban maybe then their protests would be more legitimate. Throw some acid into the faces of two little boys and kill them and it is business as usual on the streets of Kabul. This country is still a 100 years behind in the evolving process.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • Germania

      blah blah blah. You're just a parrot with limited capacity to think on your own. The Afghans are happy that they're being blown up by the Taliban? The Taliban don't care about protests. The US (at least its image) claims it does. What does them being 100 years behind us have to do with protesting the killing of their family members by the US?

      April 3, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  28. ivanhoeguy

    Military justice is not same. Not the beyond a reasonable doubt, but preponderence of the evidence. So the legal hurdles for conviction much lower. It is possible to convict on circumstantial evidence and the defense is playing this wounded soldier, insanity defense. He did do it alone i bet, he was pisssed that the Army was not going to let him stay in at the end of his contract. Only E6 after that much time in and on 4th deployment means he is unpromotable or had loss of rank not covered yet. All we have heard from id defense, bet he was trying to stay in Army and they were pushing him out.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • Hello

      I read that one of bales close friends had his leg blown off either the same day or the day before, which triggered him to attack. Coming from some of the villagers, they said bales told them he would be back for vengeance. Also eye witnesses say their were more than one soldier involved....

      April 3, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
  29. chachouu

    Let the cover up begin,a few soldiers went on a rampage which by the way is not the first time,so as always we sugarcoat it and blame it on a single one so we don,t look 10 times worse.

    April 3, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
    • ssgduke53

      And you know this how? Were you there when it happen? Present FACTS! Not BS from Wikileaks.....

      April 3, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
      • Hello

        If you listen to the witnesses they say their was more then one soldier involved. Now whether there was more then one shooter thats a different story. They say their were others outside with lights, but none of the witnesses say there was another soldier besides Bales doing the shooting.

        April 3, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Why there is no way to get to the truth now.

    April 3, 2012 at 7:07 am | Reply
  31. justmeanddog

    Any evidence found at that scene would be so contaminated by now that it would be useless. Other than establishing the site of the killings, and even that finding is suspect by now, I see no useful evidentiary purpose in making this trip. Statements taken from potential witnesses could be taken from them at any location.

    April 3, 2012 at 6:37 am | Reply
  32. KEVIN21261

    This Court Martial is going to be a very slow and maticulus process. I don't see this case going to court for about a year. I also don't see this soldier being moved to Fort Lewis/McCord anytime soon

    April 3, 2012 at 5:51 am | Reply

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