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Vocapedia > USA > Law, Justice > Military justice

 

 

 

After Bales' arrest, military tried to delete him from Web

McClatchy

March 21, 2012

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/03/21/142710/after-bales-arrest-military-tried.html

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/03/21/142710/after-bales-arrest-military-tried.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

war crime

 

 

 

 

war criminal

 

 

 

 

 Naval Criminal Investigative Service

 

 

 

 

military justice / military justice system        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/us/two-cases-one-conclusion-on-military-justice.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/opinion/a-broken-military-justice-system.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/time-to-change-military-justice.html

 

 

 

 

military investigator

 

 

 

 

military hearing

 

 

 

 

an Article 32 investigation

the military's equivalent

to a grand jury proceeding

 

 

 

 

military court        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/aug/08/usa.iraq

 

 

 

 

military appeals court

 

 

 

 

in a military courtroom

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/us/
governments-last-witness-takes-stand-at-bradley-manning-hearing.html

 

 

 

 

military judge

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/us/
a-marine-is-convicted-on-two-counts-of-desertion.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/19/us/
judge-in-manning-case-allows-charge-of-aiding-the-enemy.html

 

 

 

 

judge

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/
9-11-defendants-face-arraignment-in-military-court.html

 

 

 

 

military prosecutor 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/us/
manning-to-face-more-serious-charges-in-leak.html

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/06/us-usa-afghanistan-
trial-idUSBRE8A407T20121106

 

 

 

 

prosecute

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/
opinion/no-need-to-prosecute-sgt-bowe-bergdahl.html

 

 

 

 

charge > aiding the enemy

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/19/us/
judge-in-manning-case-allows-charge-of-aiding-the-enemy.html

 

 

 

 

be charged

with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/us/
politics/in-bowe-bergdahl-case-the-rare-charge-of-misbehavior.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/us/
army-bowe-bergdahl-desertion-charges.html

 

 

 

 

seek death

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/06/us-usa-afghanistan-
trial-idUSBRE8A407T20121106

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

military commission        UK / USA

http://www.npr.org/2016/08/03/
488477344/lawyers-for-sept-11-plotters-try-to-save-defendants-from-death-penalty

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/06/guantanamo-bay-torture

 

 

 

 

charge sheet

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/us/
staff-sgt-robert-bales-faces-murder-charges-in-afghan-killings.html

 

 

 

 

be charged with N

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/us/
staff-sgt-robert-bales-faces-murder-charges-in-afghan-killings.html

 

 

 

 

arraignment

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/
9-11-defendants-face-arraignment-in-military-court.html

 

 

 

 

defendant

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/
9-11-defendants-face-arraignment-in-military-court.html

 

 

 

 

guilty plea

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/06/us/
sergeant-robert-bales-testimony.html

 

 

 

 

lawyer

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/
9-11-defendants-face-arraignment-in-military-court.html

 

 

 

 


Robert Bales

 

is the Army sergeant

accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians,

including 9 children,

during a methodical rampage on March 11, 2012,

that threatened to undermine

the American military mission in Afghanistan.

 

Staff Sgt. Bales, a 38-year-old Army veteran,

was said to have walked

more than a mile from his base

in a rural stretch of southern Afghanistan

before going from house to house,

firing at or stabbing unarmed civilians he met.

 

Afterward,

he walked back to the base

and turned himself in.

 

He was charged on March 23

with 17 counts of premeditated murder

and six counts of assault and attempted murder,

American forces in Afghanistan said.

Updated: March 23, 2012
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/robert_bales/index.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/robert-bales 

 

 

 

 

cartoons > Cagle > Robnert Bales / Afghan shootings        March 2012

http://www.cagle.com/news/afghan-shootings/

 

 

 

 

court-martial

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/14/
459712455/sgt-bowe-bergdahl-to-face-court-martial-for-desertion

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/us/
jailed-ex-army-officer-has-support-but-not-from-his-platoon.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/us/
north-carolina-marine-sentenced-in-desecration.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/
army-officer-convicted-in-shooting-deaths-of-2-afghans/2013/08/01/
6ec9aca6-fae0-11e2-a369-d1954abcb7e3_story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/us/
general-sinclair-sex-assault-court-martial.html

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/23/
marines-accused-court-martial-execution-afghan-insurgent

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/us/
politics/court-martial-recommended-for-private-manning-in-wikileaks-case.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/
calvin-gibbs-convicted-of-killing-civilians-in-afghanistan.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/us/
trial-opens-in-court-martial-of-soldier-tied-to-afghan-killings.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/us/
12awolmom.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-19-
marines-haditha_N.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-07-
watanda_x.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/19/iraq.
suzannegoldenberg

 

 

 

the court martial of Pfc. Lynndie R. England        2005

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/05/
national/05abuse.html

 

 

 

 

be court-martialled

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/
us-soldier-accused-killing-taliban-prisoner

 

 

 

 

trial

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/us/
trial-opens-in-court-martial-of-soldier-tied-to-afghan-killings.html

 

 

 

 

mistrial

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-07-
watanda_x.htm

 

 

 

 

declare a mistrial in the case of N

 

 

 

 

be charged with 12 counts of violations

of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

for seven separate offenses

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-04-28-
army-charges_x.htm

 

 

 

 

plea deal

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-10-20-
marines-shooting_x.htm

 

 

 

 

military jury

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/nyregion/
army-jury-acquits-sergeant-of-driving-pvt-danny-chen-to-suicide-in-afghanistan.html

 

 

 

 

verdict

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/
opinion/a-mixed-verdict-on-manning.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/us/
bradley-manning-verdict.html

 

 

 

 

be convicted on two counts of desertion

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/us/
a-marine-is-convicted-on-two-counts-of-desertion.html

 

 

 

 

be acquitted of aiding the enemy

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/
us/bradley-manning-verdict.html 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army Seeks Death Penalty

in Afghan Massacre

 

November 13, 2012

The New York Times

By KIRK JOHNSON

 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — A military prosecutor on Tuesday said the evidence against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, presented over the last week here in a pretrial inquiry into the killings of 16 Afghan civilians, was so damning that the case should go forward as a capital crime.

“Terrible, terrible things happened — that is clear,” said the prosecutor, Maj. Rob Stelle. “The second thing that is clear,” he added, “is that Sergeant Bales did it.”

But a lawyer for Sergeant Bales, Emma Scanlan, making the defense team’s final argument, said the lingering questions about the crime, and especially the defendant’s mental and physical state, were far too great to proceed with anything but caution.

“Alcohol, steroids and sleeping aids,” Ms. Scanlan said, citing the prosecution’s own evidence about what Sergeant Bales, an 11-year Army veteran, may have had in his system in the early morning hours of March 11 when two villages in Kandahar Province were attacked. What would a cocktail of substances like that do to a man’s mind, Ms. Scanlan asked the court, in the “kinetic and high-pressure” environment of a combat zone?

“We don’t know,” she said.

The Army has charged that Sergeant Bales, 39, who was serving his fourth combat tour, walked away from his remote outpost in southern Afghanistan and shot and stabbed members of several families in a nighttime ambush in the villages. At least nine of the people he is accused of killing were children. In the decade of military conflict since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001, it was the deadliest war crime attributed to a single American soldier, with consequences that rippled through relations between the American and Afghan governments.

The hearings here, called an Article 32 investigation, beyond offering the first open-court airing of the evidence, are also intended to provide a sort of road map for where prosecutors might go from here in seeking a military trial. The investigating officer who presided over the inquiry, Col. Lee Deneke, said on Tuesday that he would have a written opinion by the end of the week. Higher-ups in the Army, in making a final determination, are not bound by the colonel’s findings, however. The military has not executed a service member since 1961.

In the end, Sergeant Bales, who did not testify, and has not entered a formal plea, remained enigmatic. His own words, as reported by other soldiers who testified about what he said on the night of the killings — that he had “shot up some people,” as one witness recounted — were used against him. And he had blood from at least four people on his clothes when taken into custody, a lab examiner testified.

“It’s bad, it’s bad, it’s real bad,” Cpl. David Godwin, testifying for the prosecution, quoted Sergeant Bales as saying after he returned to the base.

Statements like that, Major Stelle said in his closing remarks, “demonstrate a clear memory of what happened and consciousness of guilt.” He said that the “heinous, brutal, methodical, despicable” nature of the crimes, especially the murder of small children, elevated the case to death-penalty significance.

But some of the most damning evidence, including the “real bad” quote, came from soldiers who Ms. Scanlan suggested in her final remarks were not particularly believable. Two men who reported hearing Sergeant Bales make incriminating comments, including Corporal Godwin, also admitted drinking with him earlier in the evening on the base, in violation of Army rules, and testified under immunity from prosecution. Ms. Scanlan urged Colonel Deneke to evaluate that testimony carefully.

“They drank a ton and they were all drunk,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Bales family, Stephanie Tandberg, the sergeant’s sister-in-law, read a statement urging people who have followed the case in the news not to “rush to judgment.”

“We want to make sure this American soldier, citizen, husband and father has a fair trial with the due process that is guaranteed to all Americans,” she said. “We in Bob’s family are proud to stand by him.”

A claim before the hearings by another lawyer for Sergeant Bale, John Henry Browne, that his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, went largely unexplored in the proceeding, and Ms. Scanlan, in comments to reporters after Tuesday’s adjournment, said the defense was still investigating those issues. Before the hearings began, she entered into the record a formal objection that the defense had been given insufficient time to prepare.

Major Stelle said the evidence revealed a man who knew exactly what he was doing when he left the base intent on mayhem. Eyewitnesses and victims who testified through a video link from Afghanistan over the weekend, in extraordinary night sessions here at the base where Sergeant Bales was stationed, about an hour south of Seattle, described a figure in the dark, illuminating his victims with a bright light before shooting them.

Ms. Scanlan said the prosecution’s portrait of a steely-cool killer conflicted with the strange and anything-but-standard item of clothing that witnesses said Sergeant Bales was wearing when he returned to the base early on the morning of March 11: a cape.

“Why in the world is somebody who is supposedly so lucid wearing a cape?” she said.

Army Seeks Death Penalty in Afghan Massacre,
NYT,
13.11.2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/
us/army-seeks-death-penalty-for-robert-bales-in-massacre.html

 

 

 

 

 

Pretrial Hearing Starts

for Soldier Accused

of Murdering 16 Afghan Civilians

 

November 5, 2012
The New York Times
By KIRK JOHNSON

 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — A military prosecutor on Monday laid out a chillingly flat recitation of the government’s case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the Army officer who is accused of murdering 16 civilians this year in Afghanistan, as a pretrial hearing began in one of the nation’s worst war crimes cases in decades.

“He was lucid, coherent and responsive,” Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, the Army prosecutor, told the court in describing Sergeant Bales’s demeanor on arriving back at an Army post in Kandahar Province with blood on his clothes that, the prosecutor said, had seeped all the way through to the sergeant’s underwear.

Local families in a poor area with no electricity, Colonel Morse said, awoke early on March 11 to find a figure cloaked in darkness inside their homes, firing a weapon with apparent intent to kill. Children were shot through the thighs or in the head, he said. In one place, 11 bodies — mostly women and children, the prosecutor said — were “put in a pile and put on fire.”

Sergeant Bales, 39, an 11-year-military veteran, could face the death penalty if found guilty of the most serious charges, and the decision is specifically made to advance the case as a capital crime.

The hearing that began Monday, here at the base where Sergeant Bales was stationed, about an hour south of Seattle, was the first step in the military justice process. An Article 32 Investigation, as it is called, is roughly the equivalent of a grand jury inquiry in civilian law, aimed at determining whether sufficient evidence exists to continue to a full court-martial.

At least 35 witnesses are expected to testify, some through live video uplink from Afghanistan, over the investigation, which could last two weeks or more. The presiding officer, Col. Lee Deneke, will then make his recommendation to superiors as to the next steps, including the question of whether the death penalty should be considered, as the prosecution has requested.

Sergeant Bales’s defense lawyers on Monday reserved their opening comment for later.

If the Kandahar killings sent a shudder through U.S.-Afghan relations and through the military itself this spring as the horror of the case emerged, it seemed clear from the day’s opening testimony — and the sharp cross-examination by Sergeant Bales’s defense team — that the Article 32 hearing itself could continue the aftershocks.

One of the first witnesses, for example, Cpl. David Godwin, testifying under immunity from prosecution, told the court he had violated Army rules on the night of the killings by drinking alcohol with Sergeant Bales and another soldier.

Under direct examination by prosecutors, Corporal Godwin said the three had a couple of drinks — Jack Daniel’s, concealed in a water bottle — in one of the soldier’s rooms while watching a movie, “Man on Fire,” about a former intelligence operative who seeks violent revenge after a girl’s kidnapping. Using a word that Colonel Morse had used in outlining the case, Corporal Godwin repeatedly said that Sergeant Bales was “coherent,” and that neither Sergeant Bales nor the other soldier, as far as Corporal Godwin could tell, was intoxicated.

One of Sergeant Bales’s defense lawyers, Emma Scanlan, suggested in her cross-examination that Corporal Godwin underestimated the alcohol use and misread Sergeant Bales’s state of mind when the sergeant returned to camp in bloody clothes just before 5 a.m. Under her questioning, Corporal Godwin admitted that he had exchanged perhaps five or six sentences with Sergeant Bales outside the camp gate at the sergeant’s return, as the unit hurried to respond to reports of civilian casualties and a missing soldier.

That brief exchange, she said, is the “basis of saying he was coherent.” Sergeant Bales was also wearing a cape when he returned to the unit, and Ms. Scanlan’s questions suggested that this also indicated something odd.

“Is that normal behavior?” she asked the witness.

“No,” Corporal Godwin said.

“Do you wear a cape?” she asked.

“No,” he said.

Another of Sergeant Bales’s lawyers, John Henry Browne, has said Sergeant Bales suffered post-traumatic stress. Mr. Browne, who was en route to Afghanistan to be there for witness testimony this week, said in an interview over the weekend that issues of Sergeant Bales’s hospitalizations, for a foot wound and a head wound, and his previous deployments — three in Iraq, the fourth in Afghanistan — would also be explored in the Article 32 inquiry.

In the charge sheet that is the basis for the hearing, Sergeant Bales faces 16 counts of murder with premeditation, six counts of attempted murder with premeditation, six counts of assault, as well as other charges of impeding the investigation, use and possession of steroids and the consumption of alcohol, which is forbidden to Army soldiers in Afghanistan.

Colonel Morse, the prosecutor, said in his remarks that the blood on Sergeant Bales’s clothes forensically matched the blood of some of the victims, and Sergeant Bales’s own words, documented at the time, would show a “chilling premeditation.”

But witnesses talked about the strangeness they saw that night.

One of them, a soldier in the unit, Sgt. First Class Clayton Blackshear, described Sergeant Bales at one point in the evening as “ghostlike.” Then he shrugged. “There’s no word in the English language,” he said.

    Pretrial Hearing Starts for Soldier Accused of Murdering 16 Afghan Civilians,
    NYT, 5.11.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/us/
    hearing-begins-for-robert-bales-accused-in-afghan-murders.html

 

 

 

 

 

Sergeant Acquitted of Driving a Suicide

 

July 30, 2012
The New York Times
By KIRK SEMPLE

 

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A military jury on Monday acquitted a sergeant on the most serious charges in the death of Pvt. Danny Chen, a Chinese-American from Manhattan who killed himself last year while deployed in Afghanistan, but found him guilty on lesser charges.

The jury determined that the sergeant, Adam M. Holcomb, was not guilty of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and hazing. Sergeant Holcomb was convicted on two counts of maltreatment and one count of assault consummated by battery.

Prosecutors had sought to convince the jury that Sergeant Holcomb’s treatment of Private Chen, which the prosecutors said included hazing and racial taunts, led directly to his suicide.

The 10-member jury of Army officers and enlisted soldiers reached its verdict after about two hours of deliberations on Monday afternoon. The court-martial began last Tuesday. Sergeant Holcomb was one of eight soldiers charged in the case and the first to be tried.

After the verdict was announced, the court-martial moved into the sentencing phase. The jury heard arguments from both sides and was expected to begin sentencing deliberations on Tuesday. He faces up to two years in prison, officials said.

In testimony during the sentencing hearing, Sergeant Holcomb expressed regret and said he was suffering from symptoms that resembled post-traumatic stress disorder after three deployments to war zones.

He said he had not had a brain scan, but added, “I know there’s issues up there.” Private Chen’s suicide resonated deeply in the Chinese population in New York City and around the country and became a rallying cause for activists and others who have pressed the Army to improve conditions for Asians.

More than a dozen supporters of the Chen family traveled here from New York for the court-martial, which was covered by numerous local and national reporters, including correspondents for at least four Chinese-language media organizations.

Margaret Chin, a New York City councilwoman who attended three days of testimony last week, said Monday that she was “very disappointed” by the mixed verdict.

Private Chen’s death, she said, had called into question the military’s relationship with the country’s Asian population.

“How can we in good faith encourage our young people to join the military,” she said in an interview, “to serve our country when they’re not being protected?”

Private Chen’s mother and father, both working-class Chinese immigrants who testified at the trial, declined to comment.

The trial revolved around what caused Private Chen to take his own life.

Military prosecutors have asserted that Private Chen’s motivations for killing himself took shape after his arrival in Afghanistan last August. Sergeant Holcomb, they said, made Private Chen miserable by subjecting him to racial harassment and hazing.

“You’ve seen the last six weeks of Danny’s life,” Maj. Steve Berlin, one of the prosecutors, told the jury on Monday during closing arguments. “No wonder death seemed like the only option.”

Sergeant Holcomb’s lawyers, however, contended that Private Chen was despondent because of his failures as a soldier and because he had a fraught relationship with his parents.

“Private Chen killed Private Chen,” said Capt. Anthony Osborne, one of Sergeant Holcomb’s lawyers, during closing arguments.

Defense lawyers said Private Chen’s personal troubles were evident before he went to Afghanistan.

Pvt. Bryan Johnson, a soldier in Private Chen’s unit who became a close friend, testified last week that Private Chen was excited to deploy. But he also described an incident in which he found him curled up in the fetal position on his bunk.

Private Chen told his friend that his parents had disowned him because he was about to deploy to Afghanistan. Defense lawyers said Private Chen told at least four other soldiers the same thing.

Though Private Johnson said his friend had rebounded by the next day, defense lawyers argued that this episode revealed that Private Chen’s relationship with his parents was undermining his duties.

Private Chen’s parents testified at the trial that they had never disowned him.

In Afghanistan, Private Chen was “ostracized,” the prosecutor, Major Berlin, declared on Monday.

He was so weak and inexperienced that he was not allowed to go out on patrol, fellow soldiers testified.

He also made frequent mistakes, soldiers said, and was repeatedly subjected to “corrective training.”

Prosecutors argued, however, that Private Chen’s inexperience was normal for someone new and that the problem lay with the way superiors were addressing his deficiencies.

In a pivotal episode several days before Private Chen’s death, Sergeant Holcomb, angry with him, yanked him from his bunk and dragged him across the outpost, soldiers testified. Private Chen’s offense was leaving the shower’s water pump on. The assault count and one count of maltreatment related to the dragging episode. The other maltreatment count related to Sergeant Holcomb’s use of racially disparaging terms.

Several days before his death, Private Chen told a fellow soldier that he was so fed up with the treatment he was receiving at the hands of Sergeant Holcomb and other superiors that he was contemplating suicide, according to testimony.

On Oct. 3, he shot himself while on guard duty in a tower.

According to the doctor who performed the autopsy, a message was scrawled in black on his forearm: “Tell my parents I’m sorry.”

    Sergeant Acquitted of Driving a Suicide, NYT, 30.7.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/nyregion/
    army-jury-acquits-sergeant-of-driving-pvt-danny-chen-to-suicide-in-afghanistan.html

 

 

 

 

 

Defendants in 9/11

Disrupt Hearing at Guantánamo

 

May 5, 2012
The New York Times
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER

 

An arraignment for the self-described architect of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and four other detainees descended quickly into a chaotic scene Saturday, as the defendants refused to answer — or even listen to — the judge’s questions, and their lawyers sought to cast doubt on whether a fair hearing was possible given their clients’ treatment at Guantánamo Bay.

The rocky beginning comes as the United States chases dual goals at the restart of the tribunal: to prosecute, and ultimately execute, the five detainees; and to demonstrate to the world that the tribunal system is legitimate.

According to news reports on Saturday, the lead defendant, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed , removed the headphones intended to provide Arabic-English translations of the judge’s questions. The other defendants did the same, forcing the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl , to recess briefly. The hearing resumed after an interpreter began providing a translation that could be heard by the whole court.

But news reports depict a day filled with other interruptions. A co-defendant, Walid bin Attash , was strapped to a chair after refusing to come to court voluntarily. He was freed from the chair after pledging to behave inside the courtroom.

At one point, another detainee, Ramzi bin al-Shibh , rose suddenly, then knelt on the floor of the courtroom to pray. A team of guards in camouflage uniforms watched closely, but did not intervene.

As the case is restarted, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, the chief prosecutor in the military commissions system, has sought to rebrand the system by highlighting changes that Congress made in 2009. These included a higher bar for “hearsay” evidence and a prohibition against using statements made during cruel or degrading treatment. Obama administration officials have cited these changes in arguing that the current tribunals are fair, unlike those in place during the Bush administration.

But lawyers for the defendants say that the improvements are exaggerated. During the hearing, Cheryl Bormann , a civilian lawyer for Mr. Attash, told the court that her client’s treatment at Guantánamo had impeded his ability to take part in the proceedings. “These men have been mistreated,” Ms. Bormann said, according to Reuters.

The judge said the defendants’ participation in the tribunal was not a matter of choice. As he questioned each defendant, he noted for the record, “The accused refuses to answer,” according to The Associated Press. He ruled that the defendants would be represented by the lawyers assigned to them.

Several family members of victims came to the naval base to watch the new arraignment. Others watched via satellite at military bases in the United States.

Mr. Mohammed wore a white turban. His flowing beard, which appeared to be graying in previous hearings, was tinged with red, according to news reports.

Tara Henwood-Butzbaugh of Manhattan, whose brother, John Henwood , died in the attacks, traveled to Guantánamo to watch.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said before the hearing, “and I do think it’s in the right place because it was an act of war.”

In 2008, Mr. Mohammed was among the defendants who sent a note to a military judge at Guantánamo, asking to confess and to plead guilty. Almost a year later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that the men would be tried in civilian court in Manhattan, rather than by a military tribunal. But faced with a political uproar, led by Republicans and some Democrats, the administration backpedaled, moving the trial out of New York. No other location was ever secured, and Mr. Holder announced last year that he had cleared military prosecutors at Guantánamo Bay to file war-crimes charges against the five detainees.

    Defendants in 9/11 Disrupt Hearing at Guantánamo, NYT, 5.5.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/
    9-11-defendants-face-arraignment-in-military-court.html

 

 

 

 

 

Guantánamo Trials Should Be Open

 

April 18, 2012
The New York Times
By DAVID A. SCHULZ

 

LAST week I stood before a military judge at Guantánamo Bay to argue that the press and public had a constitutional right to observe the proceedings of military commissions. It is an argument I’ve made scores of times on behalf of news organizations objecting to closed proceedings in criminal and civil trials, but this was the first time that a military commission — part of a system of tribunals created in 2006 to try terrorism suspects — agreed to hear such arguments from the press.

Whether this marks a new openness, or is another in a long line of false starts, remains to be seen. But the government has a real opportunity to show its commitment to the rule of law by acknowledging that the public’s First Amendment rights apply at Guantánamo. The values served by open criminal proceedings — public acceptance of the verdict, accountability for lawyers and judges, and democratic oversight of our government institutions — apply there with particular urgency.

The controversy over public access to the Guantánamo trials has come to a head in the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of masterminding the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer Cole. Mr. Nashiri’s lawyers want to meet with him unshackled, asserting that shackling brings back memories of torture and interferes with his ability to assist in preparing his defense. They proposed to call both Mr. Nashiri and a psychologist to testify in support of their request.

The government still considers its interrogation techniques “classified information.” Under this logic, Mr. Nashiri’s own testimony about his own treatment must be kept secret.

But so much is already known about Mr. Nashiri’s interrogation that a secret proceeding on its psychological impact is unwarranted. A report, prepared in 2004 by the inspector general for the Central Intelligence Agency and partly released in 2009, disclosed that Mr. Nashiri had been waterboarded twice, threatened with use of a handgun and a power drill, and held in stress positions that could have dislocated his arms from his shoulders. What real threat would justify preventing the public from hearing his first-person account of this interrogation?

In May 2010, four journalists were expelled from Guantánamo for reporting the name of the chief interrogator of a terrorism suspect, Omar Khadr — even though the interrogator had sought out the press years earlier to tell his story. After an uproar, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, Jeh C. Johnson, facilitated the reinstatement of the reporters on their promise that they would abide by rules governing the commissions, and then set out to revise the rules. Under new rules announced in September, reporters may now make their objections to secrecy to the presiding judge in writing. The decision to hear my argument in person by the top judge in the Nashiri case, Col. James L. Pohl, was an important step forward.

The motion for access, which was filed by 10 news organizations (including The New York Times, a client of mine), argues that the First Amendment obliges that Mr. Nashiri’s testimony be taken in an open courtroom. Under the Constitution, the fact that a specific piece of information might technically be “classified” should not be sufficient to close a hearing if the information is already known to the public (and easily found on the Internet).

On April 11, Colonel Pohl granted Mr. Nashiri’s motion for unshackled visits without taking testimony, so he sidestepped, for now, a decision on the standard that will govern requests to close proceedings at the Guantánamo trials. But the issue will undoubtedly return, and the military’s commitment to openness will again be tested.

In recent weeks the lead prosecutor for the military commissions, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, has made the case that military tribunals are uniquely suited for the prosecution of a narrow class of terrorism suspects and that the use of these tribunals should be recognized as consistent with commitment to the rule of law. But the world will never accept the Guantánamo verdicts if significant testimony is closed for fear of embarrassment over detainee mistreatment.

The thought of a Guantánamo defendant taking the stand to testify about his treatment, in his own words, may not be appealing for many reasons. But we must be prepared to lay out all the facts, wherever they lead, if we are to demonstrate to the world that the verdicts ultimately rendered at Guantánamo are justifiable, however they turn out.

As Chief Justice Warren E. Burger observed in 1980, on the importance of the Constitution’s protection of public access to the courts: “People in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing.”

 

David A. Schulz is a First Amendment lawyer

and a lecturer at Yale Law School.

    Guantánamo Trials Should Be Open, NYT, 18.4.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/opinion/open-proceedings-at-guantanamo.html

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Sergeant

Charged With 17 Counts of Murder

in Afghan Killings

 

March 23, 2012
The New York Times
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG
and WILLIAM YARDLEY

 

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was charged on Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder in connection with a March 11 attack on Afghan civilians, American forces in Afghanistan said.

If convicted of premeditated murder, Sergeant Bales could face the death penalty, according to the announcement, which was made by American officials in Kabul.

Afghan and American officials have said that Sergeant Bales, a 38-year-old soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State serving his fourth combat tour overseas, walked away from his remote outpost in southern Afghanistan and shot and stabbed members of several families in a nighttime ambush. Many officials initially said that 16 people were killed in the rampage; at least 9 were children and others were women. But the military said Friday that Sergeant Bales was accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians.

Afghan officials on Friday, however, stuck to the initial death toll. None of the six people whom Sergeant Bales is accused of assaulting and attempting to murder had died from wounds sustained in the attack, though three remain hospitalized, said Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the government of Kandahar Province, where the killings took place.

The deaths were listed individually in a spare charge sheet that redacted the names of victims and provided no narrative description of how the attack took place other than to locate the alleged crimes “at or near Belambay, Afghanistan, on or about 11 March 2012.” In two cases, no victim name appears to have been listed.

Multiple reports have said that Sergeant Bales also stabbed and set fire to some victims, but the charge sheet says only that the dead were killed by a firearm. It also does not specify which of the murder victims were children.

Eric S. Montalvo, a private lawyer involved in many military cases, including the recent defense of one of the “kill team” defendants at Lewis-McChord, said the brevity of the charge sheet does not necessarily mean the Army does not believe other crimes were committed.

“What they’ve been getting in trouble with is overcharging the case and having to backpedal,” said Mr. Montalvo, whose client in the kill team case was charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2010 killings of Afghan civilians. “There’s no rush to pack the charge sheet at this point. They can let the Article 32 investigation come up with additional facts.”

The completion of an Article 32, in which the Army broadens its investigation and formally decides on charges, could be several months away. Sergeant Bales is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but the Army said Friday that future legal proceedings would take place at Lewis-McChord.

The charge sheet did not address how the Army concluded Sergeant Bales acted with premeditation. John Henry Browne, a lawyer for Sergeant Bales, has said his client cannot remember some of the events at the time of the attack. Mr. Browne said in interviews this week that the sergeant had not sought or received treatment for a concussion he apparently suffered during a vehicle rollover in Iraq in a previous deployment.

“There’s definitely brain injury, no question about it,” Mr. Browne said.

 

Jawad Sukhanyar contributed reporting.

    U.S. Sergeant Charged With 17 Counts of Murder in Afghan Killings,
    NYT, 23.3.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/us/
    staff-sgt-robert-bales-faces-murder-charges-in-afghan-killings.html

 

 

 

 

 

March 30 1971

 

Calley found guilty of 22 murders

 

From The Guardian archive

 

March 30 1971
The Guardian

 

Lieutenant William L. Calley was last night convicted of murdering 22 people in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai during a massacre of civilians by American soldiers.

Calley (27) had been charged with murdering 102 people. He was charged with killing or ordering to be killed 30 people in My Lai, killing or ordering to be killed 70 people in a ditch, killing an elderly monk, and killing a baby.

The jury convicted Calley of premeditated murder and assault with intent to kill. It found him guilty of one of the 30 deaths in the village, and 20 of the 70 deaths in the ditch. He was convicted of murdering the monk, and of assaulting the baby with intent to kill.

The jury will decide the sentence later today. Calley's conviction is likely to spark public indignation almost everywhere in the US, except, surprisingly, in the army itself.

Liberals and conservatives, for different reasons, are united on the issue. Conservatives say it is an outrage for an American soldier to risk his life in combat, and then come home to be tried. Liberals believe it is wrong to single out one man for punish ment while letting go everyone else involved in the My Lai massacre.

Calley [is said to have] received thousands of letters of support and only about 10 attacking him. Local citizens are upset about the trial. "They ought to give him a medal," a waitress said: "I think they're going too far." Restaurants where Calley dines refuse to allow him to pay for his meals. If he stops for a glass of beer, a customer usually pays for him.

But army officers seem to have hoped that the jury would find against him. Two young captains stormed into the press room to chastise a local television reporter. They said his stories were biased in favour of Calley, who had admitted killing at least some civilians in My Lai.

"You're not presenting a fair picture," one said. "It's important that we know the prosecution's side of the story. If he is let go, it will give a licence to everyone who walks out of Officers' School to go to Vietnam and kill anyone they feel like."

A young captain, who — like Calley — had been a platoon leader in Vietnam, said: "If he did what they said he did, they should hang him. I crawled around on my belly for eight months over there, and I didn't rape anyone, and I didn't shoot them either, unless they shot at me."

 

Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment

but freed by a federal judge after three and a half years' house arrest.

From The Guardian archive > March 30 1971 >
Calley found guilty of 22 murders,
G,
Republished 30.3.2007, p. 38, http://digital.guardian.co.uk/guardian/2007/03/30/pages/ber38.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

On This Day: March 30, 1971

 

From The Times Archive

 

Lieutenant William Calley
was the only person to be convicted
in connection with the My Lai massacre.
Although he was sentenced
to life imprisonment with hard labour
he was free by 1974

 

LIEUTENANT WILLIAM CALLEY was found guilty at a court martial today of murdering South Vietnamese civilians at My Lai on March 16th 1968. The verdict was announced at Fort Benning, Georgia, after the jury had spent 13 days weighing up the evidence in the four-month trial.

The jury must now determine the sentence, which has to be either death or life imprisonment. In deciding his guilt, the jury of six Army officers rejected the defence that Lieutenant Calley, who is 27, was obeying orders from above — a practice which he said had been instilled into him since he joined the Army.

There were four charges against Lieut. Calley: that he murdered at least 30 “oriental human beings” at a junction of two trails; that he killed 70 others in a ditch; that he shot a man who approached him with hands raised begging for mercy; and that he killed a child running from the ditch where the 70 died. Lieut. Calley was found guilty on the first three charges, although the figures of the dead in the first two were reduced. On the fourth he was found guilty of assault with intent to kill the child, a lesser offence.

The hearing to determine the sentence will begin tomorrow. Three of Lieut. Calley’s superior officers remain to be tried on charges arising from the massacre. Two men junior to Lieut. Calley have been tried and acquitted and charges against 19 others have been dropped.

Massacres like the one at My Lai “occur in every war — it’s not an isolated incident even in Vietnam”. Lieutenant Calley is reported to have told an American news agency before the verdict. “I will be extremely proud if My Lai shows the world what war is and that the world needs to do something about stopping wars.”

From The Times Archives > On This Day: March 30, 1971,
Times, 30.3.2005,
http://www.newsint-archive.co.uk/pages/main.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

U.S. Constitution,

U.S. Supreme Court, State Supreme Courts

 

 

justice, law > USA

 

 

justice, law > death penalty > USA

 

 

prison, jail > USA

 

 

justice > courtroom artists / miscarriage of justice > UK / USA

 

 

War > Casualties > Civilians

 

 

Terrorism > USA > Guantánamo

 

 

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Related > Anglonautes > Documents

 

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