Tonight major Canadian media informed me and the world that earlier today US Special Ops "Colonel W" testified at Khadr’s Gitmo
trial military tribunal that he had altered his written report years later…after prosecutors talked with him.
Tonight when I searched Google news for reports today from Beltway/Village based reporters at Gitmo that today Col W. testified he’d revised his
historical record account of alleged murder years after the facts – but shortly after talking with prosecutors I found….*crickets*.
Senior army officer testifies he changed Khadr document for ‘historical purposes’
Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Station, Cuba — Globe and Mail Update Published on Saturday, May. 01, 2010 2:52PM EDT Last updated on Saturday, May. 01, 2010 3:46PM EDT
The senior American special forces officer who directed the assault on the Afghan compound where Omar Khadr was captured in July 2002 said he was only trying to get the facts straight when — years later — he changed the after-action report in his laptop….
The original after-action report, written in the early-morning hours of July 28, 2002 after Col. W. (then a special forces major) returned to the Chapman forward operating base in eastern Afghanistan. It said the grenade thrower who killed Sgt. Christopher Speers was in turn killed by a special forces soldier who shot him twice….
Years later, Col. W. said today he couldn’t remember exactly when but after prosecutors came to visit him, he checked his copy of the document on his laptop and realized that Omar Khadr – now facing trial for murder and terrorism charges – had survived.
“The copy that was changed, was for me, for historical purposes,” Col W. said today under cross-examination by defence attorney Barry Colburn.
But why should anyone listen to the Gitmo reporter from the Globe and Mail?
He’s probably just chasing the same marginalia the Toronto Star’s Gitmo correspondent’s reporting – eh?
At Khadr hearing, U.S. officer explains changing battle report
By Michelle Shephard National Security Reporter
GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA—A U.S. Special Forces commander testified Saturday that he altered a post-battle report about the firefight where Canadian Omar Khadr was captured to correct his “historical” record, not because he had been pressured to do so.
Khadr’s previous defence lawyer had accused the military of doctoring the report to fit their case – calling it “manufactured evidence.”
Khadr, now 23, was shot and captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15 and faces a murder charge for allegedly throwing a grenade that fatally wounded U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer.
The prosecution claims Khadr was the only one alive in a compound after the grenade was thrown at the end of a lengthy firefight. The bodies of three other fighters were later recovered.
But doubt was raised about the government’s case in March 2008 when it was revealed that there were two versions of the battle report written by the U.S. Special Forces commander, who can only be identified as Lt.-Col. W. due to a military judge’s order.
An early version of Lt.-Col. W.’s report stated the person who had thrown the grenade had been killed, which would rule out Khadr as the suspect. But in a near-identical report, the commander changed a single line to read that the grenade thrower did not die.
Testifying by video from the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, Lt.-Col. W. said when he realized his first report was incorrect he changed it for “history’s sake.”
He said he wrote the initial report in the hours following the firefight, believing that Khadr had not survived because his wounds were so severe. When visited by military investigators years later he realized his mistake and corrected the error on his laptop where he had stored the report, he testified.
But Lt.-Col. W’s report appears to conflict with a March 2004 statement written by a commando identified only as OC-1, which states that after the grenade was thrown he shot two fighters — one fatally.
Were I to alter medical records in California, the Medical Board would
have grounds to demand I surrender my license. I’ve also been told
that – in the context of a malpractice action – such an act would
provide grounds to decide the case against me…as well as providing
grounds for criminal prosecution.
I guess different rules apply in murder trials. So long as the people
altering records are senior officers in the Pentagon’s uniformed death
squads…er… special ops.
Maybe that little bit of American exceptionalism explains why – when immediately after reading the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star’s reports I searched Google news over the past 24 hrs for "Col W." and "Khadr" – I found accounts from the Canadian media, but I didn’t see any accounts from Beltway/Village based US media.
Maybe this just isn’t newsworthy for American audiences…or maybe I’m
just using the wrong search terms.
Or maybe the Canadians are just following a non-story about deliberate
alteration of written eyewitness reports years after the fact. In a murder
Yeah, that must be it. Blame Canada.
Access journalism is thirsty work…and blotting out enough reality for American Exceptionalism demands an early start.
Care to buy the Boys On The Gitmo Bus a round?