PM 120513

EU ban on Iranian oil will stop insurance on its tankers anywhere in the world

 

(1) EU ban on Iranian oil will stop City of London insurance on its tankers anywhere in the world

(2) China mulls guarantees for ships carrying Iran oil

(3) Indian shipping firms to carry Iran crude despite reduced insurance

(4) State Department seeks a global drone fleet

(5) Interjecter at Drone address was handcuffed and taken to basement of the building

(6) US Soldiers promised a Massacre, days before Rampage, as retaliation

 

(1) EU ban on Iranian oil will stop insurance on its tankers anywhere in the world

 

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre84806k-us-iran-eu-insurance/

 

Britain seeks delay to EU’s Iran ship insurance ban

 

By Dmitry Zhdannikov

 

and Justyna PawlakPosted 2012/05/09 at 1:26 am EDT

 

LONDON/BRUSSELS, May 9, 2012 (Reuters) — Britain is seeking to persuade fellow European Union members to postpone by up to six months a ban on providing insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil, arguing that it could lead to a damaging spike in oil prices, European diplomats said.

 

A European Union ban on importing Iranian oil, which takes effect on July 1, will also prevent EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying its crude anywhere in the world.

 

The impact of the measure is likely to be felt strongly in London’s financial district, the centre for marine insurance.

 

Iran exports most of its 2.2 million barrels of oil per day to Asia. The four main buyers – China, India, Japan and South Korea – have yet to find a way to replace the predominantly Western insurance shipping cover provided by London insurers.

 

The sanctions seek to stem the flow of petrodollars to Tehran to force it to halt a nuclear program that the West suspects is intended to produce weapons.

 

Some Indian and Chinese firms have already asked state insurers to step in and provide coverage by offering government guarantees.

 

The situation is more complicated for Japan and South Korea, which have already cut imports of Iranian oil under pressure from Washington, but need Western protection and indemnity (P&I) ship insurance to continue importing the remaining volumes.

 

“Britain will be pushing the EU to postpone the ban on P&I insurance by six months,” said one diplomatic source.

 

“The main reason is pressure from Japan and South Korea as they would struggle to buy oil after July 1,” the source said.

 

He said Britain feared oil prices could rise sharply as a result of disruptions caused by the lack of insurance after July 1, as Japan and South Korea would be forced to bid aggressively for alternative supplies to meet their needs.

 

A second European diplomatic source said he was aware of the British initiative.

 

PROPOSAL YET TO BE DISCUSSED

 

Both sources said Britain’s proposal had yet to win support from other EU members, including France, which has been pushing for the toughest stance on Iran.

 

But in Asia, some shippers welcomed the proposal.

 

“A six-month delay would give more time for alternative arrangements to be made or for the situation to become clearer,” said Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association and a supporter of Britain’s actions.

 

“It could also be an opening for a more permanent arrangement to be worked out.”

 

It was not yet clear when the measure could be debated by EU officials as a meeting to review the embargo on Iranian oil has been rescheduled from the middle of May to an unspecified date.

 

Japan, South Korea and India have lobbied EU officials for exemptions to the sanctions. “One keeps hearing about positive developments on this issue, so we are hopeful that some positive outcome may come out,” said S. Hajara, chairman of the Shipping Corp of India.

 

Negotiations between Iran and major world powers on nuclear issues resumed in Turkey in April after a 15-month hiatus. Another round of talks is scheduled for May 23 in Baghdad, but Iran has said it wants a softening of sanctions first.

 

(Additional reporting by Richard Mably and Jonathan Saul in London, Randy Fabi in Singapore, Clare Baldwin in Hong Kong and Swati Pandey in Mumbai; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

 

(2) China mulls guarantees for ships carrying Iran oil

 

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre83t03y-us-china-iran/

 

By Alison LeungPosted 2012/04/30 at 1:38 am EDT

 

BEIJING, Apr. 30, 2012 (Reuters) — China is considering sovereign guarantees for its ships to enable the world’s second-biggest oil consumer to continue importing Iranian crude after new EU sanctions come into effect in July, the head of China’s shipowners’ association said.

 

Tough new European Union sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s oil exports to Europe also ban EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iranian crude anywhere in the world. Around 90 percent of the world’s tanker insurance is based in the West, so the measures threaten shipments to Iran’s top Asian buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea.

 

Global crude oil prices have risen nearly 20 percent since October, partly on fears over supply disruptions from Iran.

 

“(Ship) operators are worried that if the insurance issue cannot be resolved, they will not be able to take orders for shipping Iranian oil any longer,” Zhang Shouguo, secretary general of China Shipowners’

Association, told Reuters in a rare interview with foreign media.

 

“We have put forward our concern and related government departments are studying the issue.”

 

Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, exports most of its 2.2 million barrels of oil per day to Asia, and major buyers have yet to find a way around pending EU sanctions.

 

“We are paying great attention to this, the country has the need for oil and it’s our responsibility to move the crude,” said Zhang. “But we need a solution from the government so we can avoid such risk.”

 

Like China, India and South Korea were also mulling sovereign guarantees for their tankers. Indian shipping firms indicated last week they would continue to transport Iranian oil even if limited insurance cover exposed them financially to a spill or accident.

 

Chinese insurers and shipowners would not take the risk on themselves and government intervention was necessary, Zhang said. Major ship insurer, China P&I club, told Reuters earlier this month it would not provide replacement cover for domestic tankers carrying Iranian oil.

 

Most of China’s tanker fleet, owned by firms such as China Shipping, COSCO Group and Nanjing Tankers, were covered by European insurers, analysts said.

 

Most maritime insurers pool their coverage and tap into the reinsurance market when coverage exceeds $8 million. A typical supertanker – the biggest can ferry some 2 million barrels of oil – is covered for $1 billion against personal injury and pollution claims.

 

Several government departments were considering the industry’s request, including the Ministry of Finance, China Insurance Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Transport and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Zhang said. He did not say when a decision might be made.

 

Until recently, China was Iran’s top customer, taking more than 20 percent of its crude exports but customs data last week showed China halved its Iranian crude imports in March compared with the same month in 2011.

 

On the broader shipping market, Zhang said he expected the troubled industry would return to a normal growth path in 2014. The freight market, which includes oil tankers, dry bulk ships and container vessels, has been in one of the worst downturns in recent memory due to an oversupply of vessels and slow global economic activity

 

(Editing by Randy Fabi and Ed Davies)

 

(3) Indian shipping firms to carry Iran crude despite reduced insurance

 

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre83n0dm-us-india-oil-iran/

 

By Nidhi Verma

 

and Randy FabiPosted 2012/04/24 at 5:33 am EDT

 

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE, Apr. 24, 2012 (Reuters) — Indian shipping firms will continue to transport Iranian crude even if limited insurance coverage due to tightening Western sanctions leaves them financially exposed to a spill or accident, a top executive and industry sources said.

 

Tough new European Union sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s oil exports to Europe also ban EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iranian crude anywhere in the world from July. Around 90 percent of the world’s tanker insurance is based in the West, so the measures threaten shipments to Iran’s top Asian buyers China, India, Japan and South Korea.

 

The sanctions seek to stem the flow of petrodollars to Tehran to force the OPEC member to halt a nuclear program the West suspects is intended to produce weapons.

 

Shipping Corp of India, which is the country’s largest shipping firm, Great Eastern and other Indian tanker firms have asked state insurers to step in and provide up to $50 million in third-party liability coverage per tanker voyage.

 

The amount is a fraction of the typical $1 billion coverage that a supertanker carrying around 2 million barrels of crude would have from reinsurers against personal injury and pollution claims.

 

India’s shipping companies would run the risk of shipping the crude even though they would be liable for any claims above $50 million in the case of an incident, industry sources said.

 

“To the best of our knowledge, over the last 10 years, none of the Indian shipping companies carrying Iranian crude oil into India has had any major incident relating to pollution or anything,” Shipping Corp Chairman S. Hajara told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Singapore.

 

“Since there have been no claims in 10 years, we felt if we have cover of $50 million as a commercial organization it would be worthwhile for us to continue in that business.”

 

India is the world’s fourth-largest oil importer and one of the biggest customers for Iran’s 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports.

On average, there are 10 crude shipments a month from Iran to refineries on the west coast of India.

 

A major oil spill from one of these tankers could leave Indian shipowners liable for billions of dollars in damages.

 

The most expensive oil spill was the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989, which industry groups estimate has cost as much as $7 billion so far in clean-up, fines, penalties and claims.

 

“Exxon Valdez happens once in decades. If you think all your risk must be covered, then you should not be in business,” Hajara said, adding that liability limits for an oil spill have extended beyond $1 billion and $3 billion for other incidents.

 

“We have been very clear that Indian insurance companies will have a tough task, if not impossible, to get reinsurance if the sanctions really set in. We know if we ask for a huge amount of cover we will never get it.”

 

The biggest reinsurers are located in Europe and according to some industry experts the only way to cope with the loss of European reinsurers would be for governments of importing countries to provide federal guarantees to cover any expenses relating to personal and pollution claims.

 

Shipowners have asked the government for sovereign guarantees, but have not received a response, Hajara said. Indian firms, along with Japan and South Korea, have also lobbied European officials for exemptions to the EU sanctions.

 

India’s refiners are already cutting imports to comply with a separate set of U.S. sanctions requiring Iran’s crude clients to significantly cut purchases. Refiners could cut imports by about a quarter in the

2012-2013 year that began on April 1, but are keen to keep the remaining imports coming.

 

In the fiscal year that ended on March 31, India’s imports from Iran were less than 340,000 bpd, compared with the 362,000 bpd committed under annual term contracts. India is currently importing about 280,000 bpd.

 

A finance ministry source said the Indian government would consider any action necessary to keep oil flowing from Iran, India’s second-biggest supplier after Saudi Arabia, including offering sovereign guarantees to shipments.

 

The shipping firms have sent their request to state insurers United India Insurance, General Insurance Company, New India Assurance Co.

Ltd., National Insurance Co. Ltd. and the Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., said a shipping source. The shipping and finance ministries were also looking at the proposal.

 

A final decision is expected “very soon,” Hajara said.

 

Japanese insurers have also warned ship owners they will only cover one tanker at a time carrying Iranian crude through the Middle East because their ability to provide cover is limited without the European reinsurance market.

 

That will reduce the number of tankers carrying Iranian oil to three or four a month as each ship takes about a week to 10 days to travel in and out of the Gulf, sources said, compared with about 10 ships a month last year.

 

Japan has cut its April crude loadings from Iran by nearly 80 percent compared to the first two months of the year.

 

(Additional reporting by Clare Baldwin in HONG KONG and Manoj Kumar in NEW DELHI; Editing by Jo Winterbottom, Simon Webb and Clarence Fernandez)

 

(4) State Department seeks a global drone fleet

 

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20120404_3715.php

 

BY BOB BREWIN 04/04/2012

 

The State Department wants to acquire its own fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to help protect diplomats posted to Iraq and other dangerous countries and in March, issued a request for proposals for contractors to provide the aircraft, crew and support on a turnkey basis.

 

State already operates UAVs over Iraq to help provide protection for the

2,000 diplomats and 14,000 contractors at the $750 million 440,000-square-foot embassy, The New York Times reported in January.

 

The procurement released last month and updated Monday marks the start of a project to provide the department with UAV assets that could be deployed anywhere in the world. State did not say how many aircraft it eventually planned to deploy.

 

In its 2011 annual report, State’s Diplomatic Security Bureau said it tested UAVs in December 2010 in cooperation with the Defense Department and planned to deploy them to Iraq in 2011.

 

The mission of the UAV program is to provide real-time air surveillance of fixed installations and the ground routes that diplomats travel “thereby improving security in high-threat environments,” State said.

The UAVs will help identify operational problems and potential threats, the department noted in the performance work statement.

 

State intends to acquire two types of aircraft in conformance with standards established by the Air Force. It wants to operate Tier I hand-launched UAVs such as the Gnat-750, manufactured by General Atomics, which can operate at altitudes of 500 to 2,000 feet and at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. These aircraft should be equipped with video and heat sensors that downlink still and streaming video and use built-in GPS navigation with a range of 250 miles.

 

The RFP also calls for contractors to supply Tier II and Tier II UAVs and aircraft such as the General Atomics predator, which can fly as high as 18,000 feet and has a range of 250 miles. The original RFP sought aircraft with a range of 900 miles. Tier II UAVs must also be able to downlink still and streaming video and use GPS navigation.

 

In addition, the winning bidder should provide pilots, analysts and navigators, global logistics support, and deploy the UAVs on a task-order basis, State said.

 

The State UAV project has attracted 62 interested bidders, including manufacturers such as General Atomics and a number of aerospace companies, as well as systems integrators such as Computer Sciences Corp., General Dynamics Information Technology, L-3 Communications and Lockheed Martin Corp. Bids are due April 23.

 

(5) Interjecter at Drone address was handcuffed and taken to basement of the building

 

Why I interrupted Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan

 

Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 07:11:33 +0900 From: chris lancenet <chrislancenet@gmail.com>

 

http://original.antiwar.com/mbenjamin/2012/05/01/why-i-interrupted-obama-counterterrorism-adviser-john-brennan/

 

‘Shame on You’: Why I interrupted Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan

 

by Medea Benjamin on May 2, 2012

 

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington DC on April 30 to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. It was the first time a high level member of the Obama Administration spoke at length about the U.S. drone strikes that the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command have been carrying out in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

 

“President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts,” Brennan explained.

 

I had just co-organized a Drone Summit over the weekend, where Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar told us heart-wrenching stories about the hundreds of innocent victims of our drone attacks. We saw horrific photos of people whose bodies were blown apart by Hellfire missiles, with only a hand or a slab of flesh remaining. We saw poor children on the receiving end of our attacks—maimed for life, with no legs, no eyes, no future.

And for all these innocents, there was no apology, no compensation, not even an acknowledgement of their losses. Nothing.

 

The U.S. government refuses to disclose who has been killed, for what reason, and with what collateral consequences. It deems the entire world a war zone, where it can operate at will, beyond the confines of international law.

 

So there I was at the Wilson Center, listening to Brennan describe our policies as ethical, “wise,” and in compliance with international law.

He spoke as if the only people we kill with our drone strikes are militants bent on killing Americans. “It is unfortunate that to save innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives – the lives of terrorists who seek to murder our fellow citizens.” The only mention of taking innocent lives referred to Al Qaeda. “Al Qaeda’s killing of innocent civilians, mostly Muslim men, women and children, has badly tarnished its image and appeal in the eyes of Muslims around the world.”

This is true, but the same must be said of U.S. policies that fuel anti-American sentiments in the eyes of Muslims around the world.

 

So I stood up and in a calm voice, spoke out.

 

“Excuse me, Mr. Brennan, will you speak out about the innocents killed by the United States in our drone strikes? What about the hundreds of innocent people we are killing with drone strikes in the Philippines, in Yemen, in Somalia? I speak out on behalf of those innocent victims. They deserve an apology from you, Mr. Brennan. How many people are you willing to sacrifice? Why are you lying to the American people and not saying how many innocents have been killed?”

 

My heart was racing as a female security guard and then a burly Federal Protection Service policeman started pulling me out, but I kept talking.

 

“I speak out on behalf of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old in Pakistan who was killed simply because he wanted to document the drone strikes. I speak out on behalf of Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old born in Denver, killed in Yemen just because his father was someone we don’t like. I speak out on behalf of the Constitution and the rule of law.” My parting words as they dragged me out the door were, “I love the rule of law and I love my country. You are making us less safe by killing so many innocent people. Shame on you, John Brennan.”

 

I was handcuffed and taken to the basement of the building, where I was questioned about my background and motives. To their credit, it seems the Wilson Center thought it would not be good to have someone arrested for exercising their right to free speech, so I was released.

 

Brennan’s speech came the day after another U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, one that killed three alleged militants. After the strike, the Pakistani government voiced its strongest and most public condemnation yet, accusing the United States of violating Pakistani sovereignty, calling the campaign “a total contravention of international law and established norms of interstate relations.” Earlier in April the Pakistani Parliament unanimously condemned drone strikes and established a new set of guidelines for rebuilding the country’s frayed relationship with the United States, which included the immediate cessation of all drone strikes in Pakistani territory.

 

The attacks in Pakistan, carried out by the CIA, started in 2004. Since then, there have been over 300 strikes. The areas where the strikes take place have been sealed off by the Pakistani security forces, so it has been difficult to get accurate reports about deaths and damages. John Brennan has denied that innocents have even been killed. Speaking in June 2011 about the preceding year, he said “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” Mr. Brennan later adjusted his statement somewhat, saying, “Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from U.S.

counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq.”

 

This is just not true. The UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism is the group that keeps the best count of casualties from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. According to its figures, since 2004, U.S. has killed between about 2,500-3,000 people in Pakistan. Of those, between 479 and 811 were civilians, 174 of them children.

 

Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who has been representing drone victims and who started the group Foundation for Fundamental Rights, disputes even these figures and claims that the vast majority of those killed are ordinary civilians. “I have a problem with this word ‘militant.’ Most of the victims who are labeled militants might be Taliban sympathizers but they are not involved in any criminal or terrorist acts, and certainly not against the United States,” he claimed. He said the Americans often assumes that if someone wears a turban, has a beard and carries a weapon, he is a combatant. “That is a description of all the men in that region of Pakistan. It is part of their culture.” Shahzad believes that only those people who the Americans label “high-value targets”, which would be less than 200, should be considered militants; all others should be considered civilian victims.

 

While President Obama is gearing up for an election campaign and using his drone-strike killing spree to as a sign of his tough stance on national security, people from across the United States and around the world are organizing to rein in the drones.

 

Gathering in Washington DC on April 28-29, they came up with a new campaign to educate the American public about civilian deaths in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere as a result of the use of drones for illegal killing and to pressure members of Congress, President Obama, federal agencies, and state and local governments to restrict the use of drones for illegal killing and surveillance. The tactics include court challenges, delegations to the affected regions, direct action at U.S. bases from where the drones are operated, student campaigns to divest from companies involved in the production of killer drones and outreach to faith-based communities.

 

(Crossposted on Common Dreams)

 

(6) US Soldiers promised a Massacre, days before Rampage, as retaliation

 

From: “Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)”

<sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2012

 

Forwarded from Christine:

 

http://uruknet.com/?p=m87552&hd=&size=1&l=e

 

AP: US Soldiers Promised Massacre, Including Children, Days Before Bales’ Alleged Rampage

 

By Ralph Lopez, April 25, 2012

 

In a striking omission to mainstream coverage of the Afghan massacre which took the lives of 17 Afghans including many children, one as young as two, the AP has reported that US soldiers came to their villages after a roadside bombing two days before and promised retaliation.  The Pentagon has denied that any bombing took place, putting it in direct contradiction to the attorney for Sgt. Robert Bales, who alone is being accused of the rampage. AP said on March 23d:

 

“KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – Several Afghans near the villages where an American soldier is alleged to have killed 16 civilians say U.S. troops lined them up against a wall after a roadside bombing and told them that they, and even their children, would pay a price for the attack.” The Pentagon updated the number of dead to 17 after initial statements. The attorney for Bales has long said that before Bales’ alleged one-man rampage, he was upset over a close friend having lost a leg to a roadside bomb on March 9th. The massacre was in the early morning hours of March 11th.

 

From KKTV Southern Colorado: “Staff Sgt. Robert Bales met with his attorney, John Henry Browne, for the first time Monday. The meeting, which Browne described as one of the most emotional of his life, lasted three and a half hours….During the meeting, Browne said Bales confirmed a story first recounted by Bales’ family, that a friend’s leg had been blown off by a roadside bomb. Bales’ clarified that it happened two days prior to the Afghan shootings.”

 

AP writes on March 23d: “One Mokhoyan resident, Ahmad Shah Khan, told The Associated Press that after the bombing, U.S. soldiers and their Afghan army counterparts arrived in his village and made many of the male villagers stand against a wall. “It looked like they were going to shoot us, and I was very afraid,” Khan said. “Then a NATO soldier said through his translator that even our children will pay for this. Now they have done it and taken their revenge.” Neighbors of Khan gave similar accounts to the AP, and several Afghan officials, including Kandahar lawmaker Abdul Rahim Ayubi, said people in the two villages that were attacked told them the same story. Mohammad Sarwar Usmani, one of several lawmakers who went to the area, said the Afghan National Army had confirmed to him that an explosion occurred near Mokhoyan on March 8. On March 13, Afghan soldier Abdul Salam showed an AP reporter the site of a blast that made a large crater in the road in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, where the shootings occurred. The soldier said the explosion occurred March 8. Salam said he helped gather men in the village, and that troops spoke to them, but he was not close enough to hear what they said. …. Ghulam Rasool, a tribal elder from Panjwai district of Kandahar province, where the shootings occurred, gave an account of the bombing at a March 16 meeting in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai. “After the incident, they took the wreckage of their destroyed tank and their wounded people from the area,” Rasool said.

“After that, they came back to the village nearby the explosion site.

“The soldiers called all the people to come out of their houses and from the mosque,” he said. “The Americans told the villagers, ‘A bomb exploded on our vehicle. … We will get revenge for this incident by killing at least 20 of your people,”

 

The reason for the discrepancy between the date given by the soldier and the one given by Bales’ attorney for the bombing is not clear. In an AP report which again quotes the two Afghan officials who have said there was only one gunman in the killings, the provincial governor and the local police chief, the Pentagon seems to place itself in direct contradiction to Bales’ attorney, by denying there was any roadside bomb at all: “In Washington, the Pentagon disputed a claim by villagers that there was a roadside bombing the day before the shooting attack, wounding some soldiers, and the shooting spree was retaliation. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, told reporters that U.S.

officials had no indication that such a bombing happened.”

 

It is unclear if the Pentagon is misspoken or engaging in a bit of word gamesmanship when it denies a bombing “the day before the shooting attack.” Bales’ lawyer says the bombing was two days before, not one.

The provincial governor in the report had told AP at one point: “It is time for Afghanistan to calm down and not let the insurgents take advantage of this case. They want foreign troops to leave such areas like this so they can hold those areas. We should be aware of their intentions and try to help the government, not the insurgents.” The report follows survivors’ testimony of multiple shooters, and the military’s whisking away of surviving wounded witnesses from an Afghan hospital before they were scheduled to be interviewed by Bales’ defense team.

 

Bales’ attorney Brown issued the following statement at the end of

March: “”We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” the defense team statement said.

 

“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. The next day the prosecution team interviewed the civilian 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,”” The LA Times reported attorney Browne saying: “”People on our staff in Afghanistan went to the hospital where there supposedly were eyewitnesses to this … and we were told by the prosecutors to come back the next day, which is fine. We went back the next day, and they’d all been released from the hospital and they’d all been scattered throughout Afghanistan. That was a violation of the trust we had in the prosecutors,”…

 

“They were promised to be there, and they were not,” he said, adding that there isn’t much hope of finding the witnesses now. “People just disappear into the Afghan countryside.”” Yalda Hakim, a journalist for SBS Dateline in Australia and the first western reporter to gain access to child witnesses in the shooting, recorded accounts of many men with “flashlights” on the ends of their rifles and on their helmets. As carried by MSNBC: “”the children told Hakim that other Americans were present during the rampage, holding flashlights in the yard.

 

Noorbinak, 8, told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog.

Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg. “One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights,” Noorbinak said in the video.

 

A brother of one victim told Hakim that his brother’s children mentioned more than one soldier wearing a headlamp. They also had lights at the end of their guns, he said. “They don’t know whether there were 15 or 20, however many there were,” he said in the video. Army officials have repeatedly denied that others were involved in the massacre, emphasizing that Bales acted alone.”

 

The Global Post, a project of former Boston Globe journalist Charles Sennott, succeeded in speaking directly to a witness in Afghanistan:

“Massouma, who lives in the neighboring village of Najiban, where 12 people were killed, said she heard helicopters fly overhead as a uniformed soldier entered her home. She said he flashed a “big, white light,” and yelled, “Taliban! Taliban! Taliban!”

 

Massouma said the soldier shouted “walkie-talkie, walkie-talkie.” The rules of engagement in hostile areas in Afghanistan permit US soldiers to shoot Afghans holding walkie-talkies because they could be Taliban spotters. “He had a radio antenna on his shoulder. He had a walkie-talkie himself, and he was speaking into it,” she said.”

 

 

Bales Case.”

 

 

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