WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has ordered the return of photos involved in the "Stryker dozen" Afghan civilian killings that were "inadvertently" provided to defense attorneys.
The photos depict U.S. soldiers "allegedly showing dead bodies and body parts, and soldiers posing as if they had killed a deer on a hunt," CNN reported Thursday.
Five men from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Wash., were charged this summer with killing Afghan civilians for sport and then staging their deaths to look like combat casualties. Another seven men have been implicated in an attack on a member of that brigade, Pfc. Justin Stoner, who blew the whistle on the group's alleged drug use and sport killings.
Just before a planned interview with CNN, Stoner's military attorney pulled the plug, telling the network in an e-mail that prosecutors offered his client "full immunity" contingent on "staying away from the media."
The Army appears to be trying to clamp down on the story on all fronts, directing military and civilian defense attorneys to return photo evidence that was "inadvertently" sent to them, and restricting all defense access to such evidence to within the confines of Lewis-McChord, CNN said. Several lawyers have told CNN the photos are "worse than those that depicted humiliating poses of Iraqi prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison."
Spc. Adam Winfield, one of the five men charged with premeditated murder, is shown in a videotaped confession obtained by CNN describing his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who faces the most charges, as an "evil" man.
"I take that man very seriously. He likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate. I mean I have never met a man who can go from one minute joking around then mindless killings. I mean he likes to kill things," Winfield said.