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« News and Notes From The Road | Main | Ray Girouard Gets 10 Year Sentence »

Comments

Matt Smigielski

I've had the pleasure of being SSG Girouard's Team Leader years ago and served with him in Iraq(during his first tour). I know him quite well and know this man isn't capable of these charges he was convicted off. He has a heart of gold and my prayers go out to him and his family.

demetria


Mr Laurence threatened legal action if any bit of his film was shown.
The threat was made many days before the trial began.
We chose to still pursue the story, because Colonel Steele was and is a key player in the case.
It's a pity that "exclusivity" for the Tribeca film festival was the key concern by Verite Films and Laurence, who did have a very distinguished career as a journalist.

John A.

John,
Now let me imagine you and your crew in Iraq...was it you carrying the guns, securing your positions? I imagine it would have been difficult with the cameras in your hands...No! It was the troops you were filming, ensuring your safety. Now you call them murders and take cheap stabs...saying nobody asked you for the footage...I'm sure you were aware of young man on trial facing a life sentence since you just happen to be so close to the situation...What exactly is the purpose of your film?

Anita Gorecki

Bottom line up front: I did not ask because I did not know of your existence.

1. I never talked to Mr. Amato about the film footage.

2. COL Steele was given immunity by the Government so his 5th Amend. rights are not at issue.

3. I saw a snipit of the documentary on the Saturday before the start of trial and had no idea that this documentary existed until the eve of trial. Did you know of this court-martial or this investigation? I did not know of you so the real question is did you know of the Iron Triangle Investigation?

4. The news anchor who saw the piece stated, as I understood it, and I could be wrong, that you allegedly threaten legal action.

5. I never said that a briefing alone, given 8 months prior was an excuse for the killigs in this case. Again, you and no one else for that matter are privy to the defense strategy. I was charged with defending SSG Girouard from Life Without the Possibiity of Parole. My curiosity is what if anything else do you have closer in time to the event? Had a he made similar speeches as the one given the day before?

6. Finally, and most importantly, SSG GIROUARD WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER! He was found guilty of Negligent Homicide, in essence he negligenty entrusted those detainees to those 2 squad members, the 2 sqaud members who actually shot the detainess not SSG Girouard.

All this being said, we both obvioulsy care about soldiers and I hope too see the entire film and I hope that it facilitates more dialogue on the issue.

Anita Gorecki

John Laurence

Reply to Ms. Gorecki's question: Because you didn't ask.
At no time during the investigation, premininary hearings, trial or post trial sentencing of SSG Girouard and the other defendants did anyone involved in the case - including the defense team led by Ms Gorecki - ask for a copy of my film or inquire whether it might be relevant to the case. No one asked me for a transcript. No one from the defense team bothered to make contact, even after they became aware of the film. So, please, let us be honest about making judgements about responsibilities in this area.
It is my honest opinion that a briefing - no matter how aggressive, and this briefing was extremely aggressive - given by a senior commanding officer in the USA eight months before the May 9, 2006, shootings in Iraq is not relevant, especially as the speech very specifically kept within the legal boundaries of the Rules of Engegament allowing American soldiers to open fire in Iraq.

Rick Amato, acting presumably on information Ms Gorecki and her team provided, wrote a truly misleading, irresponsible and defamatory summary of the speech:

"Film footage was obtained of Col. Steele giving a pep talk saying things such as "Don't let them live to fight another day. They’re going to breed, multiply . . .,’You'll be eaten unless you act like the dominant one on the food chain...rely on your training to do what's right, do not hesitate...you’re the hunted … don't bring any of them back."

To build a case on the logic that your defendant was inspired to take part in the murders of four unarmed Iraqi men (one of whom was 70 years old), because of a briefing given by Colonel Steele eight months beforehand is ludicrous. The same speech was given on the same day in September, 2005, to all 3,500 members of that brigade and there is no evidence to show that any other soldiers in the 3rd Brigade murdered anyone during their year in Iraq. Believe me, I would have heard about it. In the 14 months that my film crew and I were embedded with the 101st Airborne, they were well disciplined. They knew the ROE thoroughly. Each of them carried a small card with the rules printed on them. SSG Girouard and the others in his squad killed those people with full knowledge they were disobeying the ROE.
COL Steele, like any other American citizen, had a constitutional right under the 5th Amendment not to testify.


Anita Gorecki

I was the lead civilian counsel for SSG Girouard during his court-martial and now his lifelong friend. I have the following to say to Mr. Laurence:

I do not begrudge Mr. Laurence making money or critical acclaim for his documentary however, his argument that this documentary was not relevant to SSG Girouard's trial or those convicted in the Iron Triangle Case is simply HIS opinion. The decision as to what is "relevant" is an issue for the Court, specifically here, the Military Judge in the trial. Is Mr. Laurences' opinion relevant to the Court? No. Unless you were one of the attorneys on the defense team (myself, Captains Miller & Merriam) you have no idea what was relevant to our defense strategy or to the co-accused and their attorneys. I pray that when I see this film I deem it irrelvant to the trial. My concern is that it will be and SSG Girouard, a decorated, multiple combat tour soldier, is sitting in the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks and a piece of evidence, the documentary, could have been used at his trial. Again, I was not afforded the opportunity to form my opinion as his attorney because I was not allowed to see the entire film. Mr. Laurence's job is creating Documentaries and my job is defending Soldiers - why could the 2 have not come together?

John Laurence

The whole film IS being released, in April, in New York. The film would not have made a difference in the trial of four GIs now convicted of disobeying orders and committing murder. You can get a better idea of what the film is about by visiting www.IAmanAmericanSoldier.com.

John A.

Selling: to deliver or give up in violation of duty, trust, or loyalty.

John Laurence,
While Col. Steele may not have been compensated "one penny" for his statement, avoiding testimony on behalf of those under his command surely amounts to "selling out" based on the above definition. So perhaps the authors context is correct in that assumption. In light of the trial of Our Soldiers, maybe the whole film should have been released, instead of "clips" used to promote the film for the gain of the producers.

John Laurence

You make an assumption about our film, "I Am an American Soldier" -- that Colonel Steele was paid for his story -- that is not true. We spent 14 months embedded with a company of the 101st Airborne to make this documentary about the lives of ordinary soldiers in Iraq. Colonel Steele happened to be the brigade commander and we happened to film his pre-deployment speech which you have taken totally out of context. We were invited by the Army to make this film. We did not pay a penny for the privilege. The film will be seen at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York starting April 26th. Please correct your libelous assumptions or give us the name and address of your attorney.
John Laurence, Director, verite films limited, U.K.

andy thompson

the last paragraph is a complete lie. Col. Steele was interviewed and filmed during the 14 months filming this movie. It most certainly does not tell his story, but that of a company of the 101st Airborn in Iraq. most was filmed before the subject of the court case. A little more research is clearly called for.

The Patriot

How can the courts convict a man like Ray Girouard? He should NEVER have spent ONE single day in jail. He deserves a medal much like our brave heroes in the Pendleton Brig right now. The NCIS are fakes and criminals. Visit for complete details: http://www.jaghunters.blogspot.com/

If you want the truth visit the JAG Hunters webpage. He is an awesome man, indeed.

FREE OUR HEROES!!! Why are the liberals, the government, and courts ALL against our AMERICAN ARMED FORCES and all for taking the side of the TERRORISTS...or at least the word of the Iraqis (and who is to say that they aren't loyalists of Saddam or Osama?) We know nothing about most of these Iraqis and yet, we will take their word any day over OUR AMERICAN HEROES! THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN THAT FIGHT AND DIE FOR AMERICAN'S FREEDOM AND WELL-BEING.

Stand up for our heroes like Girouard and our Pendleton 8, and any soldier that has been left in the crossfire of their OWN people.

Send letters to your senators, our president, vice president, military staff members, any main political or military person with authority. Tell THEM that YOU don't like the way OUR soldiers are being treated. DEMAND that they RELEASE our soldiers and fight for THEIR rights and FREEDOM, just as our soldiers have fought for our rights and freedom.

Don't be afraid. Are they afraid to fight for you? NO! Fight for them. Take charge - it doesn't matter if you're a conservative or liberal. You're an American. We are United together. Together we must fight for the freedom of our HEROES.

God bless America!

Faithfully Yours,
The Patriot
thepatriotsallegiance@
yahoo.com

www.xanga.
com/thepatriots
allegiance

dcydell

Commie Bush destroys more real american lives. all to bring the WMD1964 closer to its destruction of the USA

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