Lawyer for soldier accused of Afghan slaughter: ‘almost complete information blackout’

By End the Lie

John Henry Browne, the attorney for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the man accused of single-handedly massacring 17 Afghan villagers, is now accusing the United States government of “an almost complete information blackout” which is blocking him from preparing a proper defense for Bales.

Browne alleges that he and his legal team has been prevented from being able to interview the witnesses to the tragic incident as well as the injured civilians in southern Afghanistan.

“We were expecting a lot more cooperation. The prosecutors in this case promised us a lot of cooperation which we’re just not getting,” Browne said to reporters in Seattle, Washington.

“We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” he added.

38-year-old Bales allegedly strolled out of his base in Kandahar, a southern Afghan province, without being stopped or questioned, early on March 11, after which he conducted a merciless, calculated assault on two villages killing 17 civilians, including women and children.

However, this case has been rife with inconsistencies and unanswered questions, especially surrounding the possibility of multiple soldiers being involved in the tragic killings.

Indeed, an Afghan parliamentary probe concluded that there were 15-20 U.S. soldiers involved in the murders. This finding was seemingly contradicted by a report from AP which cited alleged statements from two officials who did not participate in the probe and the U.S. government has claimed that only Bales was involved from day one.

Furthermore, child witnesses provided accounts to a journalist for Australia’s SBS Dateline which completely contradict the U.S.’s official account.

Yalda Hakim, the journalist who covered the story, says that American investigators attempted to prevent her from interviewing the children, although she gained access through appeals directly to Afghan village leaders.

The eyewitness testimony of the children is quite detailed and it seems to be in line with the testimony of other Afghans who have cast doubt on the official story.

It has also now emerged that the killings might have been conducted in two separate outings, which makes it even harder to explain how the base’s leadership was unaware of the fact that Bales had left the base for an extended period of time, or potentially two extended periods separated by a visit to the base.

Browne just met Bales earlier this month at the Fort Leavenworth military base in Kansas, where Bales is being held. Currently, Bales is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder.

Browne has complained that his team made very little progress with their investigation on the ground in Afghanistan.

“When we tried to interview the injured civilians being treated at Kandahar Hospital, we were denied access and told to coordinate with the prosecution team,” the team said.

The following day, prosecutors were allowed to interview the injured Afghan civilians, but Browne’s team then discovered that “the civilians were all released from the hospital and there was no contact information for them” shortly after the prosecutors finished questioning them.

“In addition, we are being denied access to the injured civilians medical records that are in the possession of the government which makes it even more impossible for us to try to locate and interview these crucial witnesses,” the team added.

“The prosecution is withholding the entire investigative file from the defense team while the potential witnesses scatter into unknown and potentially inaccessible areas in Afghanistan,” the team noted, which would be wholly unacceptable in any traditional legal context.

The notion of prosecutors withholding their files from the defense’s legal team is diametrically opposed to everything that the American justice system is supposed to stand for.

Furthermore, Browne says that his team has not been shown the video which allegedly shows Bales. One must wonder if this is the same video viewed by the Afghan parliamentary probe which apparently was not compelling enough to bring them to agree with the American government’s conclusions.

However, since this is a military trial, the defense does not have the right to what is known as “shared discovery” information until 30 days before the preliminary hearing, known as an Article 32 hearing.

“In this case, they actually promised us that if we sent people to Afghanistan… they would cooperate, and make witnesses available for us. And they’ve obviously violated that promise,” Browne said, according to AFP.

Due to the lack of cooperation from the government, Browne has actually threatened to withhold their cooperation. This could have a significant impact since the defense will have access to the results of Bales’ “sanity review,” which will not be made officially available the prosecution.

“If they want cooperation from us they better start cooperating more,” Browne said.

Earlier this week, Browne said that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will likely play a large part in their defense. He also claimed that government prosecutors will not be able to easily prove their case against Bales.

It remains to be seen if details will continue to emerge which question the official account of the tragedy, or if all of the witnesses will mysteriously disappear or be unavailable for interview as they were when Browne’s legal team attempted to reach them.

Did I miss anything or would you like to submit some of your own original writing or perhaps send a story tip or some other information my way? Email me at [email protected]

Please support our work and help us start to pay contributors by doing your shopping through our Amazon link or check out some must-have products at our store.

5 Responses to Lawyer for soldier accused of Afghan slaughter: ‘almost complete information blackout’

  1. Pingback: CONSPIRACY.CO

  2. f. Lindsay April 1, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Sad TRUTH Mr.Browne WE CAN NOT TRUST OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to be Honest with us. THERE IS OBVIOUSLY a COVER-UP INVOLVED, and we KNOW from EXPERIENCE that if it SERVES the MILITARIES Objective to with Hold INFORMATION,they will. We are NOT SURPRISED by your TREATMENT from US OFFICIALs, but WE ARE SYMPATHETIC to your BATTLE FOR THE TRUTH. IT IS DISGUSTING that we are DEPENDING on a the RESULTS of ANOTHER GOVERNMENTS INVESTIGATION for HONEST INFORMATION rather than OUR OWN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE THE AMERICAN CIVILIANS SUPPORT YOUR EFFORT TO UN COVER THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE ASSAULT.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous April 1, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Blatant cover up underway here, just like Mai Lai

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Lawyer for Soldier Accused of Afghan Slaughter: ‘Almost Complete Information Blackout :

  5. Anonymous April 7, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    this is the most blatant cover up I’ve seen since 9/11!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Advertise on End the Lie

Would you like to have your business or service exposed to thousands of people every day here at End the Lie? We have a wide variety of options available all at unbeatable prices. At the same time you will be supporting a truth-oriented alternative news outlet as well as hardworking independent journalists across the United States and the world.

If you would like to know more please email us and please be sure to include the details of what you are advertising, what your budget is and what type of advertising format you are looking for, including size(s), length of advertising period and any other pertinent details. The more information you give us, the more accurate the quote will be. We might also be able to work out some unique advertising tailored to your needs so feel free to contact us with questions and ideas.

Note: our advertisers have absolutely no input in what we cover or how we cover it. If this is problematic, you might want to seek out another news outlet. Here at End the Lie we put the truth first and thus no sponsor will be able to control our content. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and we will not advertise pornography, gambling, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or anything that might otherwise be illegal.