In my comment's discussion with IVAW's Army Sgt that led to IVAW’s publicly agreeing to invite milbloggers to their WSI next March, we got into some things that I think someone at IVAW belatedly realized could be a serious problem for them. I was pressing Army Sgt on testifiers signing depositions or affidavits and on IVAW providing full transcripts and detailed information of the testimonies they receive. Army Sgt was doubtful that IVAW had the resources to transcribe the material before the WSI or to get anyone to sign anything. I then quoted to Army Sgt from the IVAW's own website and their questionnaire form for submitting testimony as follows:
"Veterans should give as much detail as possible concerning dates, places, and units involved. However, we are not interested in naming individual soldiers below the rank of O-3...Methodology - Ideally, the collection of testimony should be done in person. Use the questionnaire to get a general sense of the veteran's wartime experiences. The preferred format for collecting the testimony is an audio or video recording in digital or analog accompanied by a typewritten transcript. If you don’t have the capacity to transcribe the interview send us the recording along with pages 2 thru 4 and we will have it transcribed. If you cannot record it try to take as detailed notes as possible. Include details: dates, locations, number of times events occurred, presence of any NCOs/officers, and a brief description for each response to the best of your ability. DO NOT include names of any military personnel with the rank of O-3/E-8 or below. Ask the veteran to review and sign the consent form before the interview.
Provide them with a copy as well."
In short, IVAW is planning to have signed statements and full transcriptions well before the WSI.
That's the "Oops!"!
If one goes to the IVAW site to the Submit Testimony page for Winter Soldier, it reads:
"Submit your testimony and Evidence
If you would like to submit your testimony to Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, contact the Winter Soldier testimony/verification team at email@example.com This team will be responsible for collecting and verifying the authenticity of the testimony. We need combat veterans to join our verification team. Contact Perry O'Brien for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org."
Something went missing from a few days ago. In the earlier version, right after that statement above was this:
"If you would like to submit testimony, download the Winter Soldier Questionnaire as a PDF document or Microsoft Word file.
A Winter Soldier Evidence Collection Form will be available for download soon."
Those links still work as of right now, even though the statement on the Submit Testimony page with the links has gone. Feel free to download them! And yes, I've saved the older files complete. Here is the earlier version of their Submit Testimony page. Here is the pdf of the questionaire that I've saved, in case theirs goes missing. Suddenly they don't want people to see those questionnaire files, that speak about details, signatures and transcriptions.
Two big reasons why this is an "Oops!".
One, IVAW won't be able to say they don't have compiled and signed testimonies and transcripts when asked. They will!
Two, someone there just might have realized the legal jeopardy. If their folks testify to actual or claimed crimes, and IVAW has written and signed detailed statements about those crimes, and they withhold them, well, that could well be a crime itself. At the least, after they give their WSI "testimony", any legal follow-up to claims of crimes can and will rightfully request or subpeona all records that might shed light on that alleged crime being investigated. Now there's a public record that IVAW is indeed collecting that material and will have it.
UPDATE: To be frank, I think the odds of anyone at IVAW facing legal jeopardy for their “WSI testimony” is extremely slight. Same holds true for legal jeopardy for withholding information that IVAW has but won’t release.
However, WSI is meant to be nothing but a media event. That’s where they will take a hit. When asked, and they will be asked, even by the regular media, for details, thanks to their own Website’s pages they won’t be able to claim that they don’t have such detailed information such as dates, events and units, and that transcribed with signatures of supposed witnesses.
The claim is that the IVAW “budget for this undertaking is extremely large. A documentary film will be made, the hearings will be webcast, people will be flown in from around the world, etc...”
IVAW is holding WSI fundraisers, such as here and here.
If at WSI they claim war crimes and atrocities, they have no excuse, financial, resource or otherwise for not providing the public with the details of what they claim.
Of course, the media can play their own DUPES card!