Commentary by Kay B. Day
I'm posting this as we travel, and my connection isn't the best. But I spoke with Victor Kelley today. Kelley is the attorney for Capt. Carl Bjork, a decorated soldier serving in the U.S. Army. Bjork just went through an Article 32 after accusations were made by Iraqi detainees.
Kelley told me the accusers are former Iraqi police (3) and one former Iraqi intel officer. My phone connection was barely audible--it's raining frogs and fish right now so to speak. But one of the accusations relates to a brother of a local chief of police who was executed by an Iraqi tribe.
Bjork was not present at the execution. Bjork did not command the area.
What Bjork did--he trained Iraqi police.
The captain's accusers gave stories that were inconsistent. As we reported in a previous post, the accusers were allowed to converse and apparently attempted to come up with consistent versions. They've made multiple statements, and a thinking woman would perceive they're trying to save their own skins for whatever crimes they have committed. Accusing a U.S. officer could be a great method for distraction.
Somewhere in the mix of accusations, the Iraqi detainees are pointing fingers at Bjork over 2 dead insurgents.
Kelley said, "The investigation took more than 2 years. It was completed in 2008. I think this could have been resolved much more efficiently."
Kelley has more experience dealing with military law than most anyone else I can think of. Obviously he believes Bjork is getting a raw deal.
Judging by the more than 4,000 people who support Bjork and by the volume of email I'm getting, including dozens of testimonials to the captain's integrity, I think he's getting a raw deal too.
Why we are pandering to Iraqi detainees who can't even tell a straight story is beyond me. If you think the charges sound confusing, so do I. We could probably admit to ourselves that when someone is weaving fiction, the results can be confusing because the truth is nowhere to be found.
A commenter named Dan offered additional information in response to our column on Thursday: "I served with Carl during the time he was accused of these actions and it's a bogus charge. As for the Iraqis who are testifying against him, what a group of liars. The leader of them being a former 'interrogator' of the previous Iraqi regime. It's a sad day for the country when a hero, a leader and a citizen is charged for something he didn't do by the enemy."
More later when I have a better connection.