WTKR is reporting here that a protest is planned for Monday night at Naval Station Norfolk in opposition to the courts-martial of three Navy SEALs arising from the aftermath of their apprehension of Ahmed Hashim Abed, who was wanted for murdering and mutilating four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004.

CNSNews is reporting here that “Huertas and McCabe will be arraigned Monday, Dec. 7. Keefe’s arraignment has been continued. No date for his arraignment has been scheduled at this time, according to Silkman. Captain Moira Modzelewski will be the military judge presiding over the arraignment Monday.”  CAPT Modzelewski is expected to preside over SO2 McCabe’s court-martial starting on 19 January.  CDR Tierney Carlos is expected to preside over SO2 Keefe’s and S1 Huertas’s courts-martial, which are expected to be tried after SO2 McCabe’s.   CNSNews reports that the trial counsel will be “Jason Grover and Nicholas Kadlec for all three cases.”

23 Responses to “Protest planned over Navy SEALs cases”

  1. Been there - done that says:

    I hope the TCs and DCs have deployed and have been exposed to what Gen Mattis has decsribed to be a morally bruising environment.

  2. Been there - done that says:

    I hope the TCs have deployed been exposed to what Gen Mattis has described to be a morally bruising environment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There’s a thumbs-up and a thumbs-down button…is there a thumbs-confused button?

  4. Anonymous says:

    So are the protesters for or against assaulting detainees?

    I look forward to seeing their signs.

  5. Cossio says:

    Anonymous: So are the protesters for or against assaulting detainees? I look forward to seeing their signs.

    No, their for Justice and against Political Correctness. They are for Bravery and Devotion oof Duty, not for Cowardice and Appeasement. In other words they are for the SEALs and against the terrorist who got a bloody lip and the investigators who were looking to fry them.

    “Detainee Abuse” my arse.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So devotion to duty means you (allegedly) lie and disobey orders?

    Bravery is punching someone you’ve detained in the face?


  7. John Harwood says:

    While I sympathize with the SEALs personally, they turned down NJP. They checked a box on the form that says “I select trial by court-martial.” The CA obliged their choice. One can argue with whether or not they should be punished at all, but I don’t think there’s a rational argument regarding forum – the SEALs chose the forum.

  8. Late Bloomer says:

    I wonder if they had been Army, would they have refused NJP what with the different burden of proof at Art 15? Perhaps this is not so much an issue of falling on one’s sword as some make it out to be?

  9. Cossio says:

    John Harwood,

    Depending on the facts (if its a LtCl West type 15), they shouldn’t have gotten a 15 anyways.

    The choice sucks, it’s either Cutoff your arm for sure (a 15), or run through a gauntlet of swinging axes a mile long (court-martial) not the best of choices.

    Anonymous: So devotion to duty means you (allegedly) lie and disobey orders?Bravery is punching someone you’ve detained in the face?Interesting.

    I guess you’re one of those who has “braved” the perils of a Jury. Getting up their and lying to a Jury to get a conviction does take a sense of twisted devotion.

    Lying huh? You’ve already convicted them I see. As I mentioned before until you are facing a which hunt yourself, you wouldn’t know how that feels like.

    Suppose we took a trip back in time where you were contemplating going to School to lie, cheat, and steal (Law School). And instead of learning how to get your 30% you decided to something Meningful in your life, you decided to be a NAVY seal.

    One day your job is to go in there and do a smash and grab, getting one of the top 10 terrorist responsible FOR THIS:


    And This:


    You grab the POS and bring him back so he can get a “fair trial” something the throat cutters would never do themselves. Along the way you either (a) hit him on accident/part of the arrest or (b) you gave him a fat lip on purpose.

    When the human scumbag got back he reported to a rat that he had gotten beat (GEEZE, how many cons in the US do the same thing – complain that the cops mistreated them).

    Because of idiotic rules of engagement and PC policy from lawyers like yourself, you are reported and investigated.

    How do you think that feels? Now we have 3 SEALs inactive, a national security issue, because of lawyers like yourself concerned over a bloody lip.

    The Chicago Sun Times covered this, the congressmen are liningup to protect these brave men, going on record asking what if this stupid policy was inacted during WWII. One said “I don’t care if they broke his nose, arms, or legs” (geeze, they must have been reading my comments).

    The correct attitude is that we shouldn’t give a GD about a soldier giving a terrorist a bloody lip while capturing them.

    You people’s policies have weakened our soldiers willingness to shoot and ask questions later (which is the correct attitude for war). Instead they must knock on the door like they are the freakin’ Police.

  10. Dwight Sullivan says:

    CNSNews has reported that Lieutenant Colonel Holly Silkman, a spokesperson for Special Operations Command Central, indicated that the alleged assault occurred after the detainee was already in U.S. custody, and not during the capture. That doesn’t necessarily make that statement true. But it should give pause to all of those who comment on the case under the assumption that the alleged assault occurred during the apprehension.

  11. Cossio says:

    I understand that, as I stated before we should let this thing play out, but even if this was a worse case senario were a detainee-terrorist was assulted purposely for no reason – who cares?

    Same thing with LtCl. West pulling a gun out to scare someone into talking. Couldn’t care less. Given the circumstances of that case that was the right thing to do. The wrong thing would of let the ambush take place.

    Then you got the situation with the SEAls a few years ago. A Civilian walks in were they were hiding and they let him live and walk away to report their location to the enemy. Brilliant, everyone but one dies, the man who made the decision to let the civilian live and rat his team out. He get’s a medal.


    Here is an excerpt:

    “Part of his calculus was practical. “I didn’t want to go to jail.” Ultimately, the core of his decision was moral. “A frogman has two personalities. The military guy in me wanted to kill them,” he recalled. And yet: “They just seemed like — people. I’m not a murderer.”

    Luttrell, by his account, voted to let the Afghans go. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that decision,” he said. “Not a second goes by.”

    At 1:20 p.m., about an hour after the Seals released the Afghans, dozens of Taliban members overwhelmed them. The civilians he had spared, Luttrell believed, had betrayed them. At the end of a two-hour firefight, only he remained alive. He has written about it in a book going on sale tomorrow, “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10.”

    Then a similar situation occurs with a group of Army Rangers, but instead of potentially exposing themselves to mortal danger, they kill the civilian. Their reward? A court-martial.

    I tell everyone I meet who wants to join the Military to fight the enemy (not to get drunk and laid or for the benifits) not to go.

    I really do. I tell them that today’s Military is too PC and is for people looking for jobs, not to serve their country.

    We should treat POWs humanely, that doesn’t mean we owe them a Koran and a prayer rug, television, and board games.

  12. CPT Rob M says:


    Rules of engagement, idiotic or not, are orders issued by commanders, not lawyers. Granted, they have the advice of lawyers in formulating them (as they do in making most decisions), but the rules are a synthesis of tactical realities and laws, including laws passed by Congress and treaties consented to by the Senate. I have no idea to whom you refer as “you people,” but shooting first and asking questions later is not always the correct attitude in war, especially when you don’t know who the enemy is. If it were just lawyers “concerned over a bloody lip,” they couldn’t do a damn thing. No lawyer in the military can do a thing without a commander. The convening authority is a commander, who has been in their shoes, and (especially in the SOCOM community) has certainly been in the same type of dangerous situations as his subordinates, and “done something meaningful” with his life.

    I will grant that, as was proven by those documents foudn in England in 2006, most of the terrorists are trained to immediately allege abuse to whoever will listen (the media, ACLU, IRC, HRW). Most of the terrorists who claim to be “abused” are not.

    At the same time, the SEALs involved have been afforded their right to counsel (and, if their command is like most, at least had to make an appointment with the Trial Defense Service, or the Navy equivalent, even if they chose not to meet with a lawyer). Certainly in choosing to deline NJP they have had the opportunity to have advice of counsel. It may be that their attorney has expressly told them to deny NJP, because they are innocent. If so, the system will vindicate them. If they are guilty, and face a harsher punishment than they would have under Article 15, as has been said, they made their own bed (if the Navy’s form is anything like the Army’s, the form doesn’t say “I select trial by court martial,” it says “demand.”)

    Also, I resent your description of law school as a place where one goes to learn how to “lie, cheat, and steal.” I’d suspect on a blog read primarily by lawyers, I’m not alone. I’m an infantryman, who has been to combat, led troops on multiple raids, has shot to kill, kicked in a door, taken detainees, and twice come within inches of being shot in the head. After that, I went to law school because there should be lawyers who have that kind of experience, who have the credibility to argue that it is not wrong for us to follow the law even though our enemies don’t, and who believe that we have a legal and moral duty to protect those in our custody. Having the moral credibility to say “we’re the good guys, and they’re not” arguably saves more lives in combat than anything else.

    I’m not prejudging these men. If they are innocent, they should be able to prove it easily (epecially if the best witness the government can come up with is one of the “top ten terrorists”). I suspect they chose the CM route specifically because it has the procedural safeguards to ensure they get the chance to prove their innocence. At the same time, a career naval officer, who has in all likelihood been shot at himself, has determined that there is enough of a possibility that these men broke the law to warrant pursuing it further. I’m not prejudging him either.

  13. Late Bloomer says:

    Cossio, I usually find myself agreeing with your point, but this time I have to call a spade a spade.

    You say: “…but even if this was a worse case senario were a detainee-terrorist was assulted purposely for no reason – who cares? Sme thing with LtCl. West pulling a gun out to scare someone into talking. Couldn’t care less.”

    But then you say: “We should treat POWs humanely…”

    Just what is your definition of “humanely?” It’s not black and white you know. It’s not kill them or get ambushed. One purpose of the ROE is to accomplish the mission using the least force necessary. If I killed when I could have detained within operational constraints, then I should have detained. Once someone has been detained and in custody, I can’t make up my own rules and decide that one little punch is okay. Where do we draw the line? The CO, and all the way up to the President, have repeatedly stated that detainees may not be struck with very few exceptions that don’t apply here. I have to believe that those SEALs received training on detainee handling.

    Okay…I’m rambling. My point is that it isn’t as black and white as you say it is. I have been the OIC of a detainee collection facility, and the scrutiny is suffocating, so everyone has to be above board at all times.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think cossio, as usual, doesn’t understand the facts. He seems based on his statements to believe that this punch happened while the detainee was either being captured or interrogated which doesn’t appear to be the case.

    Not that the latter is valid, the former certainly could be.

    He also has no interest in the lying charge or the other charges since those must come from “sniveling lawyers.”

    He also apparently believes that convening authority who is in charge of SEALS, quite possibly a former SEAL himself, certainly a combat veteran, can be overcome and forced to do those “sniveling lawyers” bidding.

    I’m not sure after all of that how you can expect him to give you a line. One punch apparently IS ok to cossio, and a few other folks on here it appears from the up-rates.

  15. John O'Connor says:

    I pretty much agree with Anon 0830.

    I don’t know the facts, but these guys chose the court-martial forum. The real question is whether an NJP for the alleged offenses is an outrage.

    I think many of theb posters on Cossiolog, err CAAFlog, are missing that.

  16. Dwight Sullivan says:

    CAPT Rob M,

    Great post. One caveat. From the media reports, it appears that the convening authority is an Army officer, not a SEAL — Major General Cleveland, who commands Special Operations Command Central. He previously commanded Special Operations Command South. I would assume that an Army officer who has commanded two joint special operations commands is a Green Beret, but I don’t know that and I haven’t been able to find a bio of Major General Cleveland online. I would also think that any officer who has commanded two joint special operations commands would be among the least likely people on the planet to be a puppet to his legal advisor.

  17. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Mr. Cossio raises an interesting point by citing Marcus Luttrell’s experience. I’ve read his book, Lone Survivor. It’s a great read, despite some obvious flaws that arise from a tendency to sacrifice accuracy at points to political talking points. (For example, rules of engagement aren’t drafted by congressional committees.) But the central moral dilemma in the book is whether a group of SEALs on a mission in Afghanistan who are discovered by a group of civilian goat herders who walked through their observation position should kill the goat herders. They discuss it and decide not to. Interestingly, the officer who commands their team says that if they decide to kill the goat herders, they will be truhful about what they did and why.

    Now I’ve never been in combat, so I can’t place myself in their shoes. And I have the utmost respect for their bravery and their morality (their decision not to kill the goat herders may have ultimately cost the lives of not only every member of that team but one, but also a lot of other special operators who were killed trying to rescue them). But as a lawyer, I have no doubt that it would have been illegal for them to have killed the goat herders. U.S. law clearly constrained the SEALs’ available LEGAL choices. Those choices didn’t include continuing on the mission by killing those civilians.

    That doesn’t make their dilemma any easier or their ultimate decision any less commendable. Knowing that following the law might get you killed would lead many, many people not to follow the law. But saying that one can’t kill civilians who wander through an observation position isn’t political correctness run amok; it’s both U.S. and international law.

  18. Dwight Sullivan says:

    While I can’t attest to its accuracy, here’s a post I found concerning the convening authority’s background:

    MG Charles T. Cleveland. Cleveland is a graduate of West Point, Class of ’78, and something of a fast mover through the ranks, particularly for someone in Special Ops, who traditionally somewhat held in disdain by the larger leg contingent in the army. I’m not sure where he branched, but he is airborne-tabbed and spent his early career in military intelligence with the 10th SFG. And, of course, like all WP grads, he’s also Ranger tabbed. As a full colonel he was in Bosnia before moving on to assume command of Joint Special Operations Command-South (Latin America) and promoted to BG. He got his second star when he assumed command of Joint Special Operations Command-Central (Southwest Asia) a couple of years ago . . . .


  19. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Another data point — as a colonel, Major General Cleveland commanded Joint Special Operations Task Force – North in Iraq.

    Citation: http://books.google.com/books?id=ldBlTngsVAYC&pg=RA1-PA121&lpg=RA1-PA121&ots=Ipy6FHfJmk&dq=charles+t.+cleveland+special+operations&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html

  20. Cossio says:

    OK, you guys got me, I see your POV and will reserve my comments until this thing shakes out. We still don’t know a heck of a lot, only what the media reports.

    I’m not solely blaming the lawyers. I have been critical of the “MBA Generals” in previous posts. I also stated that if you go far enough up you’ll see influence from the terrorist Defense Counsel.

    It’s really frustrating dealing with terrorist. I’ve talked to dozens of people, from Sailors working at Gitmo to soldiers in the field. I remember a friend of mine telling me a time were detainees would abuse the medical care (faking injuries so they can go see the female nurse). After a couple of times harassing the nurse my friend decided to use the detainees head to open the doors back to his cell. No more problems.

    It seems to me the ROE are idiotic. This policy of winning the hearts and minds of the people is idiotic. The quickest, easiest, effective way to win a war is overwhelming force.

    As cruel as it sounds it ends up saving more lives in the long run. I use the Atomic Bomb dropped over Japan as an example. While many civilians suffered agonizing deaths the war was brought to an end quickly. In the long run it saved more American and Japan lives than a full assault.

    I don’t mean to go off in a tangent or pretend I’m General Eisenhower. But my simple belief, shared accross time, is that you must be swift and brutal.

    This other method that we are using isn’t working out. No matter how nice we are, even if we follow the ROE a a tee, we will always be branded as “baby killers”.

    My final argument: If we are going to be labeled as Baby Killers and inhuman to begin with, then why are wse catering to the international community every time someone needs a band-aid?


    Anyway, I spoke too lon about this. Let me take issue with one comment that was made, just to clear the air here:

    CPT Rob M: Also, I resent your description of law school as a place where one goes to learn how to “lie, cheat, and steal.” I’d suspect on a blog read primarily by lawyers, I’m not alone.

    This is what I said, read carefully:

    Cossio: Suppose we took a trip back in time where you were contemplating going to School to lie, cheat, and steal (Law School). And instead of learning how to get your 30% you decided to something Meningful in your life, you decided to be a NAVY seal.

    Obviously I was describing a made-up scenario were an INDIVIDUAL thinks about his choice to be a sleezeball or a SEAL. I was not talking about the whole legal community, obviously that would be contrary to my career choice as well.

    Late Bloomer: Just what is your definition of “humanely?” It’s not black and white you know. It’s not kill them or get ambushed.

    The Terrorist in this country get treated better than the inmates of any large county in the states. I would say that they get the following:

    A steel bed to sleep on, Bologna sandwiches with a Glass of water, a blanket and pillow, and a workable toliet with toliet paper.

    That’s it. Most inmates in county don’t get a sheet or pillow to sleep with.

    As far as “abuse” without knowing the extent of the terrorist injuries I doubt if it is anything worse than you would see on COPs.

    McConnor is right, the real question is whether the NJP was outrageous.

    I don’t understand the mentality that “They choose a court-martial…” as I said before the choice is not an easy one to take.

    If your boss came up with a BS Article 15 for a type of in-office retaliation (and believe me, that has happened, just look at the BCMR reports) you have the choice of Article 15, which sucks, or court-martial, which really sucks.

    I can give you dozens of examples that I read, and I few I witnessed first hand, were a CM is “demanded”. The person has to walk on egg shells because God Forbid he shows up 5 minutes late to work and they throw on an extra charge.

    I was stationed at Hurlburt Field Florida, and perhaps I shouldn’t base my conclusions on that base but I can tell you the Legal Office that was there from 2002-2006 was Demonic. Every AF JAG that’s been in a while knows what I am talking about, it was the NJP capital, First in General CM (because they had everything referred to a GCM). The kind of things they did over there and the games they played were ridiculous.

    I remember sitting across my DC’s chair discussing the process, telling him I read how it was command driven, (my Commander told me he wanted me to get an Honorable, but it was up to Wing Supervision and JAG). My counsel, correctly, told me the Commander signs whatever the JAGs give him and did a great pantomime of a puppet on strings.

    I understand you people’s experiences are different, but I am telling you my own. And if you doubt me I have the eMails, and excerpts from my ROT to prove it.

  21. Charles Gittins says:

    I was at Norfolk for the arraignments. The place was lousy with cops of all stripes — military and DoD. I saw no signs of any protest on or outside of the Navy Base. They may have demonstrated at the Ambphib Base where the SEALs are stationed, but the media was at the NOB, not the amphib base, so it would not have received much coverage.

    As for the facts . . . the non-SEAL guy who was supposed to be guarding the detainee made a bunch of inculpatory statements after the fact, so I would not be so sure that any SEAL did anything to the detainee after capture. The guy had a gun when captured. They might just as easily have killed him on take down. These guys are pros.

  22. Jon C says:

    Pretty sad when JAG officers are down to BN staff. I suggest each Infantry Company CO take one out to earm a CIB. I hope to read the heroic JAG Corps soon.

  23. Ruth Martin says:

    You guys are all nuts. Nothing matters except these are our guys who are putting their lives on the line for us everyday. That idiot, the one who got punched, deserved it. Enough said. Where can the average citizen protest and why aren’t there more places for just that. Major General Cleveland, the one who started this whole mess, should be kicked out of service without any retirement benefits