UPDATE: The Guardian is calling this now "one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict."
From Prison Planet and Al Jazeera.
Five soldiers - Calvin Gibbs, Adam Winfield, Jeremy Morlock and Michael Wagon, Andrew Holmes - have been charged with premeditated murder. The soldiers are accused of killing three civilians using guns and grenades, in the province of Kandahar earlier this year, even though they faced no immediate threat.
In charging papers released on Wednesday, prosecutors said Gibbs, the most senior of the charged members, was found in possession of "finger bones, leg bones and a tooth taken from Afghan corpses".
Wagon was found with a skull taken from an Afghan corpse.
Investigators said Morlock and Gibbs, in an attempt to derail the investigation, displayed the finger bones while threatening to kill another man "if he spoke about drug use within the platoon to command and law-enforcement authorities", the document said...
Another article from the News Tribune suggests one of the soldiers being charged and his father claim to have tried to warn authorities.
"I'm not sure what to do about something that happened out here but I need to be secretive about this," their son wrote them in a Facebook message. The couple gave the AP copies of the Facebook messages, Internet chats and their phone records.
Winfield, 22, of Cape Coral, Fla., didn't immediately provide more details, and over the next month he had little contact with his parents. They said they checked constantly to see if he was online.
On Feb. 14, he told his parents what happened in a lengthy Internet chat: Members of his unit on patrol had killed "some innocent guy about my age just farming." He said he did not witness the killing.
But, he wrote, those involved told him about it and urged him to "get one of my own."
He said that virtually everyone in the platoon was aware of what was going on, but no one seemed to object.
"If you talk to anyone on my behalf, I have proof that they are planning another one in the form of an AK-47 they want to drop on a guy."
He added that he didn't know whom to trust and feared for his safety if his comrades learned he was talking to authorities.
"Should I do the right thing and put myself in danger for it. Or just shut up and deal with it," he wrote his parents. "There are no more good men left here. It eats away at my conscience everyday."
In statements to investigators, at least three platoon members said Gibbs directly threatened Winfield. Morlock added that Gibbs devised "scenarios" for Winfield's death, one of which involved Gibbs dropping heavy weights on him as he was working out.
Gibbs accosted Winfield as he was on his way to speak with a chaplain and warned him to keep quiet, Montalvo said...