That’s the headline on this editorial that ran in yesterday’s Washington Times concerning the upcoming courts-martial of three Navy SEALs arising from the apprehension of Ahmed Hashim Abed, who was wanted for murdering and mutilating four Americans in Fallujah in 2004, and their refusal of NJP.
Interestingly, the editorial characterizes the non-refusal of NJP as “an admission of guilt.”
The Navy Times reports here that the three SEALs will all be arraigned on Monday, 7 December at Norfolk, but each trial will be separate.
SO2 McCabe is being represented by Neal Puckett. Neal’s firm’s web site has this page about the case. The page also reports that SO2 Keefe is being represented by Greg McCormack and SO1 Huertas is represented by Monica Lombardi.
I haven’t been able to find any of the three charge sheets online. If anyone has a copy or a link to a copy, please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Navy Times article, SO2 McCabe is charged with one specification each of assault, dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. SO2 Keefe is charged with one spec each of dereliction of duty and false official statement. SO1 Huertas is charged with dereliction of duty, making a false official statement and impeding an investigation. The article indicates that the McCabe court-martial is expected to begin on 19 January 2010.
In what must be a mistake, the article reports that “Army Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland, SOCCent commander, preferred the charges against the SEALs and will serve as the convening authority as the cases proceed to court-martial, tentatively scheduled for mid-January . . . .” Of course, if Major General Cleveland preferred the charges, he can’t serve as the convening authority. It seems more likely that General Cleveland referred the charges.
Finally, the Navy Times report indicates that, contrary to much of the reporting and blogosphere commentary about this case, the alleged assault didn’t occur during the course of apprehension, but rather occurred after Abed was in detention. Of course, we can’t vouch for the accuracy of that report any more than the accuracy of reports to the contrary.