The medic, Sgt. First Class James Stillwell, said he asked Sergeant Bales where the blood came from and where he had been.
Sergeant Bales responded with a shrug, Sergeant Stillwell testified, and then said, “If I tell you, you guys will have to testify against me.”
The hearing, which began on 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. The Article 32 hearing, as it is called, is roughly the equivalent of a grand jury inquiry, intended to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to continue to a full court-martial.
 
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The New York Times



November 6, 2012

At Hearing, Focus Turns to Soldier’s Mind-Set




JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — An Army medic testified on Tuesday that he saw Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, covered in blood and that he knew from experience that the blood was not his own.
The medic, Sgt. First Class James Stillwell, said he asked Sergeant Bales where the blood came from and where he had been.
Sergeant Bales responded with a shrug, Sergeant Stillwell testified, and then said, “If I tell you, you guys will have to testify against me.”
The hearing, which began on 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. The Article 32 hearing, as it is called, is roughly the equivalent of a grand jury inquiry, intended to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to continue to a full court-martial.
During the hearing, which could last two weeks or more, at least 35 witnesses are expected to testify, some through live video uplink from Afghanistan. The presiding officer, Col. Lee Deneke, will then make his recommendation about what the next step should be and whether the death penalty should be considered, as the prosecution has requested.
Prosecutors said the medic’s statement was one of many attributed to Sergeant Bales that suggested that he knew what he was doing the night he surrendered.
The remarks, offered by soldiers testifying for the government, could pose a high hurdle for defense lawyers, who have indicated that Sergeant Bales’s mental health would be a big part of their defense.
Defense lawyers have noted that Sergeant Bales was serving his fourth deployment, and that he had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as a concussive head injury in Iraq.
Sergeant Bales, 39, an 11-year military veteran, faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder in the March 11 attack on the villages of Balandi and Alkozai, where nine children were among the victims.
A prosecutor’s opening statement and witness testimony suggested that Sergeant Bales spent the evening before the massacre at his remote outpost of Camp Belambay with two other soldiers, watching a movie about revenge killings, sharing contraband whiskey and discussing an attack that cost one of their fellow soldiers his leg.
Soldiers testified that after being taken into custody, Sergeant Bales told them, “I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Sergeant Stillwell, the medic, said Sergeant Bales had told him that the soldiers at Camp Belambay would appreciate his actions once the fighting season intensified: “You guys are going to thank me come June.”
Sergeant Bales was largely calm and compliant when he turned himself in, several soldiers testified on Tuesday. He followed orders and sometimes sat with his head in his hands, as though the magnitude of what he had done was sinking in, one said.
At one point, they said, he made a joke — pointing his hand in the shape of a gun at two soldiers guarding him — in what they took as a failed effort to ease the tension.
Sergeant Bales has not entered a plea and is not expected to testify.
Defense lawyers called their first witness on Tuesday, a soldier who bagged the blood-soaked clothes that Sergeant Bales had been wearing. The testimony focused primarily on how the evidence was handled.

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via NYT > World by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on 11/6/12
At the hearing of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, several soldiers testified that Sergeant Bales was calm and compliant when he turned himself in.


via NYT > World by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on 11/6/12
Opposition lawmakers and rights groups criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday for saying that Christianity was “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”


via NYT > World by By ANNA KORDUNSKY on 11/7/12
A lawmaker appealed to Russia’s top prosecutor on Tuesday to investigate the reasons for Matt Romney’s recent visit to Moscow.


via NYT > World by By RICK GLADSTONE on 11/6/12
The arrests came a day after a deadly bombing in Bahrain’s capital, a sharp intensification of the violence that has simmered in the island nation since the beginning of a pro-democracy uprising 21 months ago.


via NYT > World by By REUTERS on 11/6/12
The trial in absentia of four former Israeli military commanders charged in the 2010 killings of nine people aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship opened Tuesday in Istanbul.


via NYT > World by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on 11/6/12
South Korea’s nuclear watchdog is investigating a forgery scandal that is forcing the shutdown of two reactors, an official said Tuesday.


via The New York Times's Facebook Wall by The New York Times on 11/6/12
Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term tonight, winning over Mitt Romney in the majority of states considered battlegrounds.

View an in-depth breakdown of state-by-state results: http://nyti.ms/SsoaNG.


Obama Wins New Term as Electoral Advantage Holds
www.nytimes.com
Voters returned President Obama to the White House, but he will face a Congress with the same divisions that marked his first term.

via NYT > U.S. by By PETER BAKER on 11/7/12
The next battle for President Obama is to decide what he wants to accomplish in a second term and how to go about it.

via NYT > U.S. by By JODI KANTOR on 11/6/12
President Obama’s victory gives him a second chance to deliver the renewal he still promises, but without a clear mandate, a healthy economy or willing Republican partners.