By Kay B. Day
Capt. Carl Bjork came onto our radar at The US Report last year, after the government charged him with two counts of premeditated murder and other charges. The charges stemmed from accusations levied by a man named Col. Ibrahim Hamid Jaza, and a few of Hamid's fellow former Iraqi police who were detainees in prison.
The crimes allegedly occurred in Hit during Bjork’s 2006-2007 deployment. It took the government almost three years to bring charges and then the government asked for delays.
Bjork’s trial was this week; his parents traveled to Iraq.
This week news of the verdicts trickled in—Bjork was acquitted on two charges of premeditated murder. Those charges could have led to life sentences.
Bjork, however, was convicted of two counts of negligence in the deaths—those charges carried a max sentence of 3 years each. He was also convicted on the charge of reckless endangerment for allegedly setting a booby trap of a weapons cache, a charge that could carry a one-year sentence.
Having followed this case since its inception, I can honestly say I would not have convicted Bjork of anything.
In this morning’s email, Bjork’s sister Erica Bjork Manning responded to a message I’d sent her. I had closed by telling her I prayed for her brother last night. And thousands of people at the Facebook support group for Bjork have done the same many times.
Erica said, “All of your prayers have born fruit.”
And she informed us about the sentences for the charges Bjork was convicted of after his military trial: “Despite having the power to jail Carl for 7 years, dishonorably discharge him and/or deduct his entire salary for as long as he’s in the service, the Panel opted to ‘reprimand’ him and take a third of his salary for one year, with no other penalty, clearly a huge victory and relief for us all.”
The government’s witnesses in the case were a man believed to be a terrorist and a liar, and an Iraqi interpreter who went missing in the US for awhile.
The whole case reads like a bizarre work of fiction—Bjork was not even present when the alleged murders took place.
By circumstance Michael Yon, arguably the best war correspondent in action at present, detailed events in Hit during the time of the alleged crimes and he even covered Col. Hamid’s background. Yon wrote his account before Bjork was charged. I came across Yon's account by chance and realized the significance for Capt. Bjork's case.
I hope to obtain more details about this case. I believe it is another example of current Washington policy to persecute members of the military for a political purpose—pandering to the Iraqi government and to the leftwingers running our country. Most Western corporate media pander to the same.
Whatever we learn, we are very glad Capt. Bjork will go free, having served with honor and having been praised by soldier after soldier for valor.
Upon learning of the initial verdict, a soldier posted his thoughts about this trial on one of the articles I did earlier. His words carry more impact than mine:
“After sacrificing my well being and my mental stability, in Hit trying to protect the people of Iraq, I am disgusted. My immediate thought is to remove every medal from my own chest and mail them back to the Army. My stomach sits in knots, I cannot eat, I can barely think straight. I was there, in Hit with CPT Bjork. On more than one occasion, CPT Bjork came to my aid and effectively saved not only me, but my entire squad. I think of CPT Bjork as a brother, a man who shared sand, sweat and tears. He IS a true American hero, and our country is going to sit back and hardly notice as he is stripped of his dignity, his command, and his career. I support CPT Carl Bjork, and I always will. Once my brother, ALWAYS my brother.”
I’d add that Main Street will take notice though the government and leftwing media won’t. The Leftosphere prefers to focus on the wellbeing of terrorists, apparently.
And as for the government, all I can say is that Bjork's trial, like so many others, never should have happened.
Here’s a thought on lessons for politicians about war. Drop a group of them into a hostile land and give them the same gear we give our men and women. Tell them to survive. Then bring them home and prosecute them with whimsical charges. See how long it takes those politicos to scream about their civil rights—that is if they survived the physical challenges and I seriously doubt they would.
As a parting jab at our so-called mainstream media, stop calling soldiers who receive commendations such as the Bronze Star ‘winners.’ They are ‘recipients’ as Bjork is. They earn those medals and commendations by doing a job harder than any politician will ever do, and certainly harder than those who call themselves journalists will ever do.
P.S. to so-called mainstream media: you should hang your collective heads in shame.
[Ed. note: Capt. Bjork had to pay for his civilian defense. You may donate to his defense fund at Support Carl Bjork to help him cover the debt.]