The following information related to the case of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is currently sitting on the desk of President Donald J. Trump for consideration to invoke his statutory powers under 10 U.S. Code Sections 822 and 860 to disapprove the findings and the sentence, or provide a full and unconditional pardon, or commutation of sentence to 20 years.
Bales conducted, what he believed to be, a pre-emptive strike against Taliban fighters who had previously harmed U.S. Servicemen and were coordinating another attack. The Afghans claimed Bales killed sixteen (16) “civilians,” including women and children. Bales claimed he killed twenty (20), including Taliban enemy combatants.
The U.S. Government:
- DID NOT AFFORD BALES THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE – President Obama instructed the military to “prosecute the case aggressively” and Defense Secretary Panetta said Bales could face the “death penalty,” prior to any charges or investigation
- DID NOT CHALLENGE ALLEGATIONS the Afghan’s made against Bales, a US Soldier
- DID NOT EXAMINE THE BODIES nor conduct autopsies/forensics to confirm allegations
- DID NOT CONFIRM IF THOSE KILLED WERE ENEMY COMBATANTS via biometrics
- THREATENED BALES WITH THE DEATH PENALTY to coerce an inaccurate/incomplete confession
- DID NOT PROVE THEIR CASE IN A TRIAL, went straight to sentencing after the confession
- DID FLY IN CONFIRMED ENEMY COMBATANTS, with aliases, to testify against Bales.
- DID NOT APPROPRIATELY EVALUATE BALES’ “MENS REA” (mindset/intent for murder)
- DID NOT DISCLOSE THE ARMY ADMINISTERED BALES “MEFLOQUINE” – an anti-malaria drug with psychotic effects, but stopped administering it to Soldiers after Bales’ incident
- CONVICTED BALES: 16 COUNTS OF MURDER & SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE
Bales is married and the father of two young children. He is a decorated infantry Soldier with four combat tours, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) as the result of being exposed to ten (10) IED attacks. Of note, Bob’s wife moved close to the prison so she could maintain her relationship with Bob and for Bob to spend visiting hours helping their children with homework.
MAJOR ISSUES IN BALES’S CASE
- ENEMY COMBATANTS AS WITNESSES: U.S. Army prosecutors used Taliban as witnesses during the Article 32 hearing to gain the death penalty and then flew 9 Afghans in to testify against Bales during sentencing. They failed to disclose that the DNA from 5 had been found on IEDs used against Americans, i.e. they were enemy combatants. A FOIA revealed prosecutors worked with State Department to conceal identities of these Taliban and placed them on Delta Airlines flights, among unaware U.S. civilians.
- COLLATERAL DAMAGE: The outcome for Bales may have been very different had the U.S. Government conducted autopsies, forensics, or biometric assessments and confirmed that any of those Bales killed were actually enemy combatants. The alleged “civilians” Bales killed might then have been considered “collateral damage” (similar to when the U.S. dropped bombs on the Haska Meyna wedding party in Afghanistan which killed 39 women and children to take out one insurgent “target of opportunity”).
- POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY: The media’s coverage of Bales’ killings stoked Afghan anger toward the U.S., especially after incidents in which U.S. Servicemen burned Qurans and urinated on Taliban fighter’s corpses. A quick conviction was sought to facilitate President Obama getting President Karzai to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Afghanistan and America.
- MEFLOQUINE: The Army had evidence Mefloquine causes behavioral issues, including suicide and homicide, effects which can be exacerbated in individuals with TBI or PTSD. The Army stopped administering Mefloquine after Bales’ incident, but the prosecution did not disclose that Bales was ordered to take Mefloquine. If Bales was laboring under the psychotic effects of Mefloquine poisoning, his “mens rea,” (mindset/intent for murder) is called into question and Bales might have been found not guilty due to diminished mental capacity and responsibility (i.e., insanity) (similar to accused U.S. mass murderer Michael Hayes in 1989).
STATUS OF CASE
August 2013, Bales was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, presently at USDB, Ft. Leavenworth.
Consistent with the President’s vow to end the “endless war” in Afghanistan and in light of recent negotiations between the US and the Taliban which led to the freeing of thousands of Taliban prisoners, 150 of whom are on death row for heinous “war crimes,” —
BALES IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES INVOKE HIS STATUTORY POWERS UNDER 10 USC SECTIONS 822 AND 860 TO DISAPPROVE THE FINDINGS AND THE SENTENCE, OR PROVIDE A FULL AND UNCONDITIONAL PARDON, OR COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE TO 20 YEARS.