Army Vehicle Experts Testify In Soldiers Court Martial
August 31, 2004
By KOMO Staff & News Services
FORT LEWIS - Military prosecutors attempted Tuesday to show that information a National Guardsman shared with undercover agents - men he believed were with the Al-Qaida terrorist network - could have endangered the lives of his fellow soldiers.
Some expert testimony offered in the second day of Spc. Ryan G. Anderson's court martial was considered sensitive information, and the proceedings was temporarily closed to reporters.
Anderson, a Muslim convert, is accused of attempting to pass information to federal agents he believed were with al-Qaida. If convicted, he would face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The jury of nine commissioned officers heard from an expert on military vehicles and the protection they offer personnel. Rene Gonzalez said his primary focus is Humvee and heavy-equipment transport vehicles.
After he spoke for 15 minutes about his background, Judge Col. Debra Boudreau cleared the courtroom for a 45-minute closed session.
Boudreau and the acting Secretary of the Army deemed Gonzalez' testimony sensitive because it concerned soldiers' safety, said Capt. Jay Stephenson, a spokesman with the Judge Advocate General's office.
Anderson, a tank crewman with the Washington National Guard's 81st Armor Brigade now deployed in Iraq, is accused of trying to give terrorists sketches and information on the the M1A1 Abrams, the Army's primary battle tank.
At Anderson's Article 32 hearing in May, prosecutors played a secretly recorded videotape of the defendant sharing the information Feb. 9 with two undercover investigators.
On Tuesday, Abrams tank expert John Rowe confirmed Anderson's contention that a tank's hull could be weakened by damaging panels on either side of the tank.
He also affirmed that the driver's windows could be shattered, leaving the driver vulnerable. The driver would then have to stand in the open hatch to see properly, said Rowe, a survivability engineer.
As with Gonzalez, the judge cleared the courtroom for 45 minutes of Rowe's testimony due to sensitive information.
Prosecutors contend Anderson jeopardized the safety of his country and fellow soldiers.
Anderson's lawyer, Maj. Joseph Morse, says his client often embellished the truth or lied to impress people. He noted that Anderson had told people his mother was Jordanian, and on occasion said he was born in Afghanistan or South Africa - all lies.
Anderson, a Washington State University graduate, was raised Lutheran but began studying Islam while attending college. He's been described by high school classmates in Everett as a paramilitary enthusiast who was passionate about guns.
Anderson was arrested Feb. 12 in Seattle.
He pleaded innocent Aug. 9 to five counts accusing him of trying to provide the al-Qaida terrorist network with information about U.S. troop strength and tactics, as well as methods for killing American soldiers.
August 31, 2004
Defense: Guardsman may be liar, but not national threat
By Melanthia Mitchell
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Spc. Ryan G. Anderson may be a braggart and a liar but he is not a national threat, the National Guardsman’s lawyer said during a court-martial at this Army post south of Seattle.
The government has no proof that the 27-year-old tank crewman, accused of attempted treason, had criminal intent when he contacted federal undercover agents he thought were members of al-Qaida, attorney Maj. Joseph Morse said Monday in opening statements.
Anderson, a Muslim convert, was a person who often embellished the truth or lied to impress people, Morse added.
He noted that Anderson had told people his mother was Jordanian, and on occasion said he was born in either Afghanistan or South Africa — all lies.
“Evidence will show someone who isn’t a very good soldier … isn’t a very good Muslim,” Morse said. “Spc. Anderson, like just about everybody else in this case, likes to pretend he’s something he’s not.”
A panel of nine commissioned officers listened to nearly a dozen prosecution witnesses Monday, the trial’s first day.
The proceeding resumed Tuesday morning with testimony from an expert on tactical-vehicle survivability. He spoke for about 15 minutes about his background. Judge Debra Boudreau then cleared the courtroom for a closed session to hear testimony involving “sensitive information.”
Prosecutors contend that Anderson jeopardized the safety of his country and fellow soldiers when he tried to share U.S. military information with people he believed were al-Qaida terrorists.
“This is a case about betrayal — betrayal of our country, betrayal of our Army, betrayal of his fellow soldiers,” Maj. Melvin Jenks said in the prosecution’s opening statement.
Anderson pleaded innocent Aug. 9 to five counts of trying to provide the al-Qaida terrorist network with information about U.S. troop strength and tactics, as well as methods for killing American soldiers.
Capt. Jay Stephenson, a spokesman for the Judge Advocate General’s Office, said the charges against Anderson amount to attempted treason.
Anderson, a member of the Washington National Guard’s 81st Armor Brigade, which is deployed in Iraq, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole if convicted.
A conviction requires agreement by two-thirds of the nine officers.
The trial is expected to last five days.
Pfc. Scott Specht, a prosecution witness, testified that Anderson once told him he had joined the Army so he could “go to the motherland and help liberate Muslim brothers.”
“I was taken back by his statement. I was somewhat startled by it,” said Specht, who trained with Anderson at basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., in January 2003. “I decided it was probably best that I kept my distance.”
Shannen Rossmiller, a city judge in Conrad, Mont., repeated testimony she gave at a May hearing, saying she contacted Anderson after coming across a posting in October on a Muslim-oriented Web site she was monitoring for signs of extremist or terrorist activity.
Internet searches linked the name on that posting, “Amir Abdul Rashid,” to Anderson, Rossmiller said, and when she posted a phony call to jihad against the United States, Rashid wrote back, saying he was “curious if a brother fighting on the wrong side could join or defect.”
Rossmiller contacted the federal Homeland Security Department, which put her in touch with the FBI.
FBI Special Agent Burt Whitlow testified that investigators soon began text-messaging Anderson and the first of two face-to-face meetings was set up at a bookstore in Lakewood, a Tacoma suburb.
Anderson initiated a second contact the next day, meeting with two undercover investigators at a parking lot near the Space Needle in Seattle. That hour-long discussion was secretly videotaped. It was Feb. 9, just days before Anderson was to deploy to Iraq.
Special Agent Ricardo Romero testified Monday that he and another undercover agent, identified as “Muhammad,” met with Anderson.
“Later in the meeting we asked him who he thought we were. He said, ‘al-Qaida’,” Romero said.
On the video, Anderson offered sketches and information about weaknesses in the M1A1 Abrams, the Army’s primary battle tank.
“Specialist Anderson provided information on how to stop the vehicle” and how to force the crew out to kill them, Romero said Monday.
“While I love my country, I think the leaders have taken this horrible road,” Anderson said on the video. “I have no belief in what the American Army has asked me to do. They have sent me to die.”
He was arrested at Fort Lewis three days after that meeting.
Anderson was raised Lutheran but began studying Islam while attending Washington State University. He’s been described by high school classmates in Everett as a paramilitary enthusiast who was passionate about guns.
Fry the prick in olive oil and garlic, then feed him to the dogs.....
Cover him in pig shit and bacon grease, strap a GBU kit to his ass and drop him on the next bunch of thugs that hides out in an Iraqi Mosque.
Treason in a time of war = Death, right?
panel thing I didnt know about. the visionblock(window) thing I did. that's an old sniper's technique. John Plaster was an idiot to give out information like that. I read his book the ultimate sniper and he lists it in there. His book is mostly just fluff(me me me, I I I, I did this I did that, blah blah blah I'm sooooooo good) but it does have a few details that if I were a military official I definitely would find a way to prevent it from getting out. I mean I know it's practical stuff that only requires a bit of common sense, but hey a lot of these al qaeda nut cases don't have that, so lets take advantage of it.
EDITED TO SAY:
I still think they should hang this asshole.
Doesn't the fact that the report is public and contains details of what he said also endanger our guys?
We no longer have the stomach for such punishments.
i hope so
Not until the next big terror attack or a sudden slaughter of americans because of such info being given out.