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The Latest Twist In The Panjwai Massacre Tale: Witnesses Gone

Posted by The Agonist on March 30th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

John Henry Browne, the lawyer for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales:

“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,” Browne said in the earlier statement.

“The next day the prosecution team interviewed the civilians injured. We found out shortly after the prosecution interviews of the injured civilians that the civilians were all released from the hospital and there was no contact information for them.” That means potential witnesses will scatter and could prove unreachable, Browne said.

Prosecutors had not shared their investigative findings with his team, and would not share images captured by a surveillance camera on a blimp above the base which the Army says shows Bales returning to the camp after the alleged shooting, he said.

So Yalda Hakim is liable to remain the only Western journalist to interview the survivors, and it seems certain now we won’t be hearing their testimony under cross-examination at any US trial. Other possible eyewitnesses have already scattered, both villages are deserted, Hakim found.

Browne says “When prosecutors don’t cooperate, it’s because they are concerned about the strength of their case”, but this goes further than just the prosecutors. It looks like the next step in an organized cover-up to me.

Update CNN interviewed Yalda Hakim today about disparities in witness accounts of the killing.

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