SEALs accused of assaulting alleged terrorist: "Three Navy SEALs are facing court-martial in connection with the alleged assault and mishandling of a detainee they captured in Iraq in early September, military officials said.The military provided few details of the circumstances, but a source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed for Navy Times that the detainee was Ahmed Hashim Abed, the alleged planner of the March 2004 ambush, killing and mutilation of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah.‘That’s why [the SEALs] went after him,’ the source said, who asked not to be named. He noted that the takedown was ‘kinetic’ but there was no gunfire. ‘[Abed] had a gun. The intel was perfect. No shots were fired.’The three SEALs — Special Warfare Operators 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Jonathan Keefe, and SO1 Julio Huertas — will be arraigned Dec. 7 in a military court in Norfolk, Va., said Army Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, a spokeswoman with U.S. Special Operations Command Central.
All are assigned to SEAL Team 10, based in Little Creek, Va., Navy records show.McCabe is charged with one count each of assault of the detainee, dereliction of duty and making a false official statement, Silkman said.Keefe is charged with one count each of dereliction of duty and false official statement; Huertas is accused of dereliction of duty, making a false official statement and impeding an investigation, she said.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, Silkman said.The alleged incident happened in Iraq on or about Sept. 1, Silkman said.
None of the SEALs is confined, she added.The source said the charges stem not from the capture itself — which have a high potential for violence — but from later on, when Abed was under detention.‘If they really wanted to [beat] him that was the time do it,’ during the capture, the source said. ‘That’s why this is so ridiculous.’The charges were first reported by Fox News, which posted a story on its Web site Tuesday. The source confirmed that Abed was known by the military code ‘Objective Amber,’ but could not say if the capture went down in the city of Fallujah or in the outlying area.The source said the allegations began when a master-at-arms sailor assigned to guard Abed told a SEAL platoon commander that one of the operators had punched Abed in the stomach.‘This was reported by the SEAL platoon commander to the chain of command,’ he said.The SEALs have been assigned military attorneys to defend them in the cases, which will be tried separately as special courts-martial.One defense attorney said the SEALs refused to accept nonjudicial punishment, which are administrative actions that some in the military may consider as an admission of guilt.Neal Puckett, a defense attorney who is representing McCabe, said the SEALs are being essentially charged for allegedly giving the detainee ‘a punch in the gut.’They are expected to plead not guilty when they appear at their December arraignment, he said.
‘They are all together, and they all maintain that they are innocent of these charges,’ said Puckett, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and judge advocate.The SEALs were on the tail-end of their deployment to Iraq when the alleged incident happened, he said.McCabe’s special court-martial is slated to begin Jan. 19, he said.Huertas, 28, is from Blue Island, Ill., and enlisted in 1999. He has served in special warfare units since 2002. He has an Iraq Campaign Medal and was advanced to E-6 in June 2006, Navy records show.Keefe, 25, is from Yorktown, Va., and enlisted in 2006. He began SEAL training the same year, Navy records show. He was last advanced in June 2008.McCabe, 24 is originally from Perrysburg, Ohio, and enlisted in 2003. He served on the Amphibious Assault Ship Belleau Wood before training in special warfare. He was advanced in September 2007, Navy records show."
(Via Air Force Times - News.)