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U.S. News and Commentary



Wednesday
Jan132010

Capt. Bjork’s case referred by general for court martial by March

U.S. Army captain Carl Bjork with children in Iraq. [Photo courtesy of Capt. Bjork's family.]Capt. Carl Bjork, accused of reckless endangerment (1 count) and premeditated murder (2 counts), will proceed to court martial by March, 120 days after he was officially charged and more than 3 years after the alleged acts occurred. Bjork’s attorney Victor Kelley told The US Report in December the accusers are 3 former Iraqi police and a former Iraqi intel officer who are currently detainees in Iraq.

Kelley founded and practices with The National Military Justice Group. He is a retired military officer.

On a blog established by Bjork’s supporters, there’s a brief post announcing the government’s decision to proceed.

Erica Manning wrote, “A very disappointing day… we just received word that Carl’s case has, in fact, been referred by the general. Carl will be going to trial. We don’t have a date as of yet, but know it MUST start by March 2nd (120 days after he was officially charged). Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, and PLEASE don’t …stop! Unfortunately this is not over. (Jan. 11, 2010)"

An advocacy group Support Carl Bjork has 6,670 members. Anyone who wants to help or offer support can join.

Coverage of the case by national branded media has been scant. But Denver9 News covering Bjork's case said Kelley told them, “[M]ilitary leaders offered no comment when they referred the charges.”

Kelley continued, "I can tell you why it is...because they have a lousy case," Kelly said. "The only evidence they have against Capt. Bjork is the testimony of four people who are confined."

Kelley also said the first half of the trial will be held in Iraq and the second half in the U.S.

Bjork’s case is troubling on more accounts than the length of time it took government to bring charges. Kelley told TUSR the investigation was completed in 2008 and he thought it could have been resolved “more efficiently.”

Reports have also surfaced that the detainees were allowed to speak with each other about their claims.

It’s also feasible to conclude the detainees have ample motive to fabricate in order to deflect blame from themselves.

In addition when an interpreter must relay testimony there is added room for error and inaccuracy.

Troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are bound by strict rules of engagement while the enemy they confront is bound by no rules, no international court and no terms such as those laid out in the Geneva Conventions.

Herschel Smith, writing about Rules of Engagement for Afghanistan at The Captain’s Journal, said, “Our problems with the existing ROE and RUF are legendary, and include the insurmountable initial problem that they are constructed around defensive operations and personal and unit self defense and include no discussion or guidance for offensive operations.  This is why General Kearney wanted to charge two Army snipers with murder for targeting a Taliban commander who didn’t happen to be holding a weapon.”

Smith’s son serves in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bjork has received commendations and a Bronze Star. Many supporters believe he is being railroaded because of trickle down policy in Washington where politicians try to appease leftwing groups who oppose war. Others believe there is a deliberate attempt by the enemy to destroy morale and sabotage the military from within.

Another troubling case is that of the Navy SEAL3. That case has also sparked broad support from the public and Republicans in Congress.

Kelley has repeatedly said he’s never seen a case drag out for the length of time Bjork’s has.
Obviously questionable charges like those levied against Bjork may impact the military in unexpected ways. One supporter at Facebook wrote, “My son is going into the Army and this story scares me to death!!!!! My prayers are with you Carl!!!”

And nearly 7,000 others are praying for Capt. Bjork as well.

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