By Kay B. Day
As Capt. Carl Bjork awaits word on whether he will be court-martialed for the deaths of two Iraqis, Wasim Ibrahim Al-Kubaysi and Gayth Shakir Saba’ar, his story is expanding because of increased media coverage and a personal website.
Bjork didn’t kill the men; they were executed by a police chief named Ibrahim Hamid Jaza and a couple of his Iraqi colleagues. The Denver Post reported, “Sometime between Nov. 15, 2006, and the end of the year, Jaza and two other Iraqi police officials executed Al-Kubaysi and Saba’ar, according to the Army charge sheet…The suspects told investigators they had been ordered to carry out those killings by the officer in charge of training them—Capt. Carl Bjork.”
The investigation took years. The Iraqis who accuse Bjork were permitted to discuss the case together apparently in an effort to synchronize their conflicting stories.
Bjork’s attorney Victor Kelley, a retired Marine who founded the National Military Justice Group, told the Post, “"I'm thinking that Carl is Jaza's and his thugs' get-out-of-jail-free card."
A Facebook group supporting Bjork has grown to more than 6,000 members. Friends and those who have served with Bjork say there is no way the man they know would do what he is being accused of doing.
Betty Kilbride, author of 'Soul of American Warriors' and other books on the military, has advocated for Bjork and three Navy SEALs facing questionable charges.
The only scenario that makes sense in Bjork's case is Kelley’s assessment—a get-out-of-jail-free card for the guilty parties. Insiders see the executions as typical revenge killings that aren’t that unusual a war zone where native tribe is pitted against tribe in conflicts that are centuries old.
CBS has covered the story. Perhaps the most dedicated coverage has been rendered by Rick Amato, with The Washington Times Inside the Story Radio.
Capt. Bjork’s supporters have created a home page where links to articles and video are posted.
Bjork is one of a number of cases against soldiers serving in the War on Terror. Another case involves accusations against 3 Navy SEALs facing various charges after a detainee suspected of being a high level terrorist claimed he was punched.
It’s a good bet that in war zones like those in Iraq, barriers exist over language and custom. By the time charges are articulated, those charges have been filtered by one or more sources.
Bjork is a decorated veteran who has received the Bronze Star. His record and character have inspired thousands to speak out and support him.
Supporters are urging those interested to contact their representatives in Congress, but TUSR suggests holding Colorado senators accountable. Colorado is represented by Senators Mark Udall (D) and Michael Bennet (D). Udall is on the Armed Services Committee. Contacting the media would also be useful.
Bjork's new website and the expanded coverage are essential to making Americans aware there may be a psychological operation designed to demoralize the military by having detainees and suspected militants levy false charges.