I offer this to square the circle on the Kandahar massacre story. With this information, you're up to date.
The other news recently — other than radio silence from both the British and American press on the multiple eyewitness accounts opposed to the "lone gunman" thesis — is the weekend payments by the U.S. military to the victims of the slaughter and their families.
The Boston Globe puts it this way (my emphasis):
The families of 16 [sic] Afghan villagers killed this month in a massacre blamed on a US soldier [sic] were given $50,000 by the United States for each of their slain relatives, Afghan and US officials said.Interesting parsing. This Guardian story, which covers the payments near the end of the article, characterizes the U.S. as seeking "to appease Afghans by providing assistance".
The payments were made Saturday by US military officers at the office of the governor of Kandahar Province, where the killings took place. Those wounded in the violence were each given $11,000, said Haji Agha Lalai, a member of the Kandahar provincial council.
Haji Jan Agha, who lost cousins in the killings, said he and other relatives of the deceased were invited to the governor’s office by foreign and Afghan officials, according to the Reuters news agency. “They said this money is an assistance from Obama,’’ Agha was quoted as saying.
Lalai also described the payments as “assistance’’ to the wounded and the families of the dead, not as any kind of traditional compensation that would absolve the accused of responsibility for the crimes.
About the number of victims, the Globe adds in the same piece:
Bales, who was flown out of Afghanistan soon after the killings, was formally charged on Friday with 17 [sic] counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder. He is being held at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.Two things to note: First, that story syncs up with Marcy Wheeler's work, which we discussed here. Second, the Globe has both U.S. and Afghan "officials" holding to the "lone gunman" story, which we first discussed here.
According to Afghan and US officials, Bales walked off his small combat outpost in a rural area of Kandahar in the early hours of March 11 and shot and stabbed at least 16 [sic] people to death. ... Neither Afghan nor US officials have explained the discrepancy between the official Afghan government death toll of 16 and the 17 counts of murder that Bales was charged with by the US military.
Let's see if it sticks — not the "lone gunman" story; the media's failure to report the eyewitness accounts. So far, the silence makes my ears hurt.
1. Even Al-Jazeera is walking the "alleged lone gunman" line with no report of the Afghan commission finding that I could locate. Here's their latest — note the parsing. Not a whitewash exactly, but no offsetting reporting either. Try a search of their site yourself; see if you get different results. Silence is all I hear.
2. And then there's this.
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