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Trial of Two Navy Seals Moved to Iraqi

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RICHMOND, Virginia - Two Navy SEALs accused in the mistreatment of an Iraqi detainee should be tried at the U.S. base in Iraq where the alleged victim is being held, a military judge ruled Monday.

 

Cmdr. Tierney Carlos moved the trials after government prosecutors said they would make the detainee available for deposition at Camp Victory in Baghdad but would not bring him to Naval Station Norfolk to testify.

 

The judge ruled that Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe of Yorktown, Virginia, and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas of Blue Island, Illinois, have a right to face their accuser in open court.

 

A hearing for a third defendant, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe of Perrysburg, Ohio, is tentatively set for Wednesday before a different judge.

 

McCabe is accused of punching Ahmed Hashim Abed, the suspected mastermind of a 2004 ambush that killed four U.S. security contractors in Fallujah. The contractors' bodies were dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge.

 

McCabe and the other two SEALs also are charged with dereliction of duty for failing to protect the detainee, and with lying to investigators. Huertas also is charged with impeding the investigation.

 

The SEALs have received an outpouring of support from people who consider them heroes for capturing Abed. Several members of Congress have asked that the charges be dropped, and more than 100,000 people have joined a Facebook page created to support the SEALs.

 

Huertas' attorney, Monica Lombardi, said she welcomed the judge's decision.

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This trial is bulls**tmad.gif, We should be giving these guys medals. They are put in harms way and then they want to crucify them when they deviate from the rules against a lawless enemy that has no boundaries all to fulfill a political agenda.

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January 14, 2010

Virginian-Pilot

 

 

NORFOLK -- The controversial prosecution of a Navy SEAL for allegedly assaulting an Iraqi terrorism suspect got more complicated Wednesday when three potential witnesses stopped cooperating and informed the court they have their own lawyer.

 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, assigned to SEAL Team 10 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, is charged with assault after being accused of punching Ahmed Hashim Abed in the stomach shortly after his capture by U.S. forces in Fallujah in September. Abed is believed to be connected to the slayings of four Blackwater contractors in 2004.

 

McCabe's court-martial on three misdemeanor charges was scheduled to begin next week, but a military judge granted prosecutors' request for a delay Wednesday. The judge, Navy Capt. Moira Modzelewski, set McCabe's trial to begin in Norfolk on May 3.

 

Neal Puckett, McCabe's civilian defense lawyer, had opposed delaying the trial but reluctantly agreed to it after three other SEALs expected to testify notified the court they've retained their own lawyer.

 

Modzelewski said the three are asking for immunity. That's a decision that must be made by the convening authority -- in this case, Army Maj. Gen. C.T. Cleveland, head of Special Operations Command Central.

 

Cleveland has come under fire for ordering the courts-martial of McCabe and two other SEALs charged with related offenses.

 

Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, also members of SEAL Team 10, are accused of not safeguarding Abed and lying to investigators. Cleveland offered to handle the matter through non-judicial punishment, which could have effectively ended their careers, but the men chose to go to courts-martial.

 

On Monday, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos ruled that the trials of Huertas and Keefe should take place in April in Baghdad so Abed can testify.

 

Puckett has not asked for Abed to be made available to testify, which is part of the reason Modzelewski said she decided to keep McCabe's court-martial in Norfolk.

 

Monica Lombardi, Huertas' attorney, said all three cases are affected by the witnesses' decision to stop cooperating.

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View PostThis trial is bulls**tmad.gif, We should be giving these guys medals. They are put in harms way and then they want to crucify them when they deviate from the rules against a lawless enemy that has no boundaries all to fulfill a political agenda.

 

Yep. mad.gif

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It's one of those things that just leaves you speechless. The absurdity of this whole fiasco just defies all logic.

 

They shoulda beat the piss out of that terrorist **** and really give him something to accuse them of.

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Yep sucks for sure,

They move it to Iraq where our silly petitions hold no water, easy parcheesy

there , no picketing Americans , no news papers making noise.

 

Just a good old fashion screwing , you know thats how we avoid certain pitfalls in an upcoming trial , you move said trial to a more "tolerant place" .

 

Besides by throwing our 2 Heros to the wolves makes for good PR on the Muslims , more camels for the cause .

 

mad.gif LET 'EM GO.

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Case against 3 SEALs weakens

Cracks are beginning to appear in the military's prosecution of three Navy SEALs accused of striking a most-wanted terrorism suspect they had captured in Iraq.

 

Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland last week signed grants of immunity for five Navy colleagues of the accused.

 

Some of those five, three enlisted men and two officers, are expected at trial to flatly contradict the prosecution's key witness, according to a Navy source close to the case, which centers on the September 2009 capture of Ahmed Hashim Abed.

 

The witness, the master-at-arms at the base in Anbar province where the captured terrorist was brought, told investigators that he saw Abed being struck by one SEAL. One of the immunized witnesses identified by the master-at-arms for corroboration is not expected to support his testimony. The military has not released witness statements.

 

In addition, the defense has requested that the judge order the government to turn over the name of the Army officer who interrogated Abed once he was brought to Baghdad, where he remains in custody on order of an Iraqi judge. The disclosure would mean that defense attorneys may call him as a witness to testify about Abed's appearance after he left the SEALs' custody.

A judge has ruled that the military must produce Abed as a witness for courts-martial, scheduled to be conducted in Baghdad perhaps as early as next month. Defense attorneys, in front of a military jury, can expose Abed's history as the suspected mastermind of the 2004 Fallujah atrocity that left the bodies of U.S. contractors hanging mutilated on a bridge.

 

The master-at-arms told investigators that Abed was punched in the gut by Special Operations Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe. Petty Officer McCabe denies hitting Abed.

 

"We're pleased about the immunity grants," said Neal Puckett, Petty Officer McCabe's attorney. "They allow witnesses who have favorable testimony to testify."

 

At some point during Abed's captivity that first day, blood appeared inside his lip. The Navy source said, "All these al Qaeda guys are trained to injure themselves and claim they were tortured."

 

Two other SEALs on the mission, Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, are charged with providing false statements, as is Petty Officer McCabe.

 

In another win for the defense, a military judge ruled last week that the prosecution may not use Petty Officer Keefe's statement that he did not see Abed struck. The judge said investigators did not advise Petty Officer Keefe that he could remain silent.

 

U.S. Central Command, where Gen. Cleveland oversees special operations forces, filed official charges in October. The assault charge against Petty Officer McCabe stated that the SEAL did "unlawfully strike Ahmad Hashim Abed in the midsection with his fist."

 

The false statement charge states that Petty Officer McCabe told a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigator, "I did not assault nor did I see anyone assault or abuse" Abed.

 

Petty Officer McCabe says that statement is true. At a rally Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz., to raise legal funds, he announced that he had passed an independent lie-detector test on the question, "Did you strike Abed?"

A statement on Mr. Puckett's Web site says, "These terrorists are trained to claim abuse despite no physical evidence of such. More importantly, they know the powerful influence of our mainstream media and legal system and are using these facets as tools against us. This tactic with resulting media attention is effective in causing our heroes to question their training and decisions, placing their missions, lives and our security in jeopardy."

 

The military's decisions to charge the SEALs who took a suspected terrorist off the streets has stirred protests from some members of Congress and ordinary Americans.

 

A Facebook page, "Support the Navy SEALs who Captured Ahmed Hashim Abed," has attracted nearly 120,000 members. Another Facebook page, "Americans United Against the Prosecution of 3 Navy SEALs," has nearly 265,000 members.

 

When the SEALs brought the captured Abed back to Camp Schwedler in September, they had executed a perfect mission. Based on an intelligence report on Abed's whereabouts, they surprised him while he slept in his bed, marched him back to their helicopter and evacuated the area without firing a shot.

 

The U.S. command in Iraq has refused to provide details on Abed except to say that he is being held.

Gen. Cleveland wrote to members of Congress saying his decision to charge the SEALs was influenced by evidence that they tried to cover up a suspected assault.

 

I Just wanted to give everyone an update. 13Fox

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