US Military Jury Clears SEAL In Iraq Abuse Case

Discussion in 'SitRep' started by ToughOmbre, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Excellent News!

    Associated Press
    BAGHDAD

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A U.S. military jury cleared a Navy SEAL Thursday of failing to prevent the beating of an Iraqi prisoner suspected of masterminding a 2004 attack that killed four American security contractors.

    The contractors' burned bodies were dragged through the streets and two were hanged from a bridge over the Euphrates river in the former insurgent hotbed of Fallujah, in what became a turning point in the Iraq war.

    The trial of three SEALs, the Navy's elite special forces unit, in the abuse case has outraged many Americans who see it as coddling terrorists.

    A six-man jury found Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, 29, of Blue Island, Illinois, not guilty of charges of dereliction of duty and attempting to influence the testimony of another service member. The jury spent two hours deliberating the verdict.

    "It's a big weight off my shoulders," a smiling and composed Huertas said as he left the courthouse at the U.S. military's Camp Victory on Baghdad's western outskirts.

    "Compared to all the physical activity we go through, this has been mentally more challenging."

    Huertas said he plans now to continue with his military career and "to go home and kiss my wife."

    Huertas was the first of three SEALS to face a court-martial for charges related to the abuse incident and the verdict was a major blow to the government's case. All three SEALs could have received only a disciplinary reprimand, but insisted on a military trial to clear their names and save their careers.

    The trial stems from an attack on four Blackwater security contractors who were driving through the city of Fallujah west of Baghdad in early 2004. The images of the bodies hanging from the bridge drove home to many the rising power of the insurgency and helped spark a bloody U.S. invasion of the city to root out the insurgents later that year.

    The Iraqi prisoner who was allegedly abused, Ahmed Hashim Abed, testified Wednesday on the opening day of the trial that he was beaten by U.S. troops while hooded and tied to a chair.

    Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin DeMartino, who was assigned to process and transport the prisoner and is not a SEAL, testified he saw one SEAL punch the prisoner in the stomach and watched blood spurt from his mouth. Huertas and the third SEAL were in the narrow holding-room at the time of the incident, he added.

    But defense attorneys tried to cast doubt on the beating claims, showing photographs of Abed after the alleged beating in which he had a visible cut inside his lip but no obvious signs of bruising or injuries anywhere else.

    In her closing arguments, Huertas' civilian attorney Monica Lombardi pointed to inconsistencies between DeMartino's testimony and nearly every other Navy witness. She also reminded the jury of the terrorism charges against Abed, who is in Iraqi custody and has not yet been tried, saying he could not be trusted and may have inflicted wounds on himself as a way of casting blame on American troops.

    "There was no abuse," Lombardi said. "This is classic terrorist training."

    After the verdict, Lombardi said the jurors told her they had made their ruling because there were too many inconsistencies in the case and that they did not believe the prisoner.

    Prosecutors refused to comment after the verdict, but in his closing argument Lt. Cmdr. Jason Grover said the SEALs were itching for payback for the killings of the Blackwater guards — two of whom were former SEALs — and that now the elite unit had "circled the wagons."

    The court-martial of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, of Yorktown, Virginia, who is also charged with dereliction of duty on allegations he failed to safeguard the prisoner, is scheduled to begin Friday also at Camp Victory.

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, of Perrysburg, Ohio, the SEAL charged with assaulting Abed, is scheduled to be court-martialed May 3 in Virginia, where the three men are based.

    TO
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's great! Pretty pathetic it even got this far.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Great news!
     
  4. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Now lets DROP the charges against the other two SEALs and get back to the business of EXTERMINATING terrorists!

    TO
     
  5. Ferdinand Foch

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    Oh finally, some good news at last! If this case had gone the prosecution's way it would have furthered my belief that this country is going downhill.
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  7. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Excellent news!
     
  8. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Right on! :occasion5: I wasn't aware that the three Seals had the option of a military reprimand, and I totally agree with their decision to take it up in court and prove what a farce this crap is.

    Tell ya what, though....I'd hate to be DeMartino right about now.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Awesome news!

    Glad that turned out the way it did.

    In the future, when they are hunting terrorist leaders like the scum that cried about a fat lip, they should just put thier *subject* in a body bag, beat it to a pulp and set it on fire as it's being shoved out the back of a C130 in the middle of nowhere @ 15,000 feet...then return to base and say "nope, it was a dry run...we didn't find the guy..."
     
  10. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    More good news!

    US Clears 2nd Navy SEAL In Iraqi Abuse Case

    Associated Press

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A U.S. military judge on Friday cleared a Navy SEAL of any wrongdoing in the alleged beating of an Iraqi prisoner suspected of masterminding the grisly 2004 killings of four American contractors.

    The Blackwater contractors' burned bodies were dragged through the streets and two were hanged from a bridge over the Euphrates river in the former insurgent hotbed of Fallujah in an attack that shocked Americans and galvanized U.S. support for the war.

    After a daylong trial and fewer than two hours considering the evidence, Navy Judge Cmdr. Tierny Carlos found Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe of Yorktown, Virginia, not guilty of dereliction of duty, a spokesman said.

    It was the second verdict in as many days to throw out charges against a SEAL accused in the abuse case. Three SEALS, the Navy's elite special forces unit, face charges in a case that has drawn fire from at least 20 members of Congress and other Americans who it see it as coddling terrorists to overcompensate for the notorious Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

    The trial against the third and final SEAL to be charged is slated for May 3 in Norfolk, Virginia.

    Keefe was not charged with assaulting terror suspect Ahmed Hashim Abed, but of failing to protect him in the hours after he was captured and brought to a U.S. military base on Sept. 1, 2009. Abed had been the focus of an Iraq-wide manhunt for his suspected role in the Blackwater guards' killings.

    U.S. Joint Forces Special Operations spokesman Lt. Col. Terry L. Conder said Keefe showed no visible reaction when Carlos read his verdict shortly before 9 p.m. at a courtroom at the U.S. military's Camp Victory on Baghdad's western outskirts.

    The verdict comes a day after another SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, of Blue Island, Illinois, was found not guilty of similar charges.

    Huertas testified briefly during Keefe's case — mostly to underscore the point that he, too, had been cleared, Conder said.

    The evidence largely pit the testimony of Abed and a junior Navy whistleblower, Petty Officer 3rd class Kevin DeMartino, against that of several SEALs and other Navy sailors who denied that Abed had been abused.

    Conder said that DeMartino testified for several hours Friday to recount anew his memory of seeing Abed punched in the stomach, causing blood to gush from his mouth and stain his white dishdasha, the traditional long garment worn by some Arabs.

    DeMartino identified Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe as the SEAL who hit Abed as Keefe and Huertas stood watching nearby. DeMartino said he initially lied about witnessing the assault but days later alerted the SEALs commander of it, sparking the investigation.

    Defense lawyers, however, seized on inconsistencies in DeMartino's testimony and questioned the credibility of Abed, a suspected terrorist, to raise doubt about their versions of events. They also relied on evidence recycled from Huertas' trial in claiming that Abed could have bit his lip to make himself bleed on his clothing

    Compared to McCabe, Keefe and Huertas faced relatively minor charges as neither were accused of assaulting Abed. Keefe and Huertas chose to have their trials held in Iraq, so they could face Abed in court. McCabe waived that legal right.

    The verdicts have played into Iraqis' fears that courts will never hold U.S. troops accountable for atrocities or other abuses.

    TO
     
  11. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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  12. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Good to know that military justice is still that: Justice. Screw the civilians who aren't over there, have never had a shot fired at them in anger, and have never had to walk down the street and wonder if that soda can over there is gonna blow up, or the parked car they're walking past is going to explode, and have the balls to say our guys are "rough" on a known terrorist. The dude's lucky he's still alive, and not being arse-raped by 77 Virginians.
     
  13. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I'm with you on that one, Dave. We are at war with these assclowns and now is not the time to turn into a bunch of panty-wastes. It's time to buck up and start getting rid of these rotten oxygen thieves.
     
  14. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear justice is served....
     
  15. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    The Daily Telegraph 8 May 2010

    A US Navy SEAL accused of punching a suspected Iraqi terrorist has been found not guilty.

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe was tried by a court martial at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on charges of assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed, suspected of plotting the 2004 killings of four US contractors in Iraq.

    The key prosecution witness said he saw Petty Officer McCabe deliver a punch to Abed's mid-section. Defence witnesses contradicted portions of that testimony.

    Two other SEALs were acquitted of covering up the assault last month.
     
  16. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Good. And the Navy might think seriously about transferring that "key prostate witness" to another duty station. Say...Adak, Alaska, or Minot ND. Someplace not likely to be inhabited by Seals anytime soon.
     
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