"He's a liar and a thief"
That was the sworn testimony of a Lt. Commander who was likely in command of the Task Unit (2 SEAL Platoons) that was sent to capture Manadel al-Jamadi, the terrorist believed to be responsible for the bombing of the International Committee of the Red Cross hospital in Baghdad on October 27th of 2003. The bombing killed more than a dozen people, many of them aid workers, and served as the impetus for several international aid agencies fleeing Iraq. The LCDR was referring to Klepto, the platoon corpsman who was dismissed from his platoon for stealing another Teammate’s body armor while deployed to Iraq.
At this point in the post-war insurgency, the presence and participation of foreign terrorists was just beginning to be recognized, signaling an escalation of the conflict. Jamadi was identified as a suspect in the ICRC bombing which quickly developed into a seminal moment during which military commanders and the American public realized that there was a long fight in the making. It was the following month of November when US casualties skyrocketed and President Bush made a clandestine Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Baghdad providing a much needed morale boost. In other words, capturing this terrorist was a very high priority because his attack signaled Al Qaeda’s grand entry onto the Iraqi battlefield.
The SEAL platoon working with the CIA in Baghdad was tasked with this very important and very dangerous operation against hardcore foreign terrorists that were the first jihadis to answer Zarqawi’s and bin Laden’s call to arms against the US. According to open source information about the operation, Jamadi fiercely resisted the Platoon's attempts to capture him. My supposition is that this mission occurred in a bad neighborhood, late at night and with just a few armored Hummers with heavy weapons. I would guess that this particular individual was probably making a lot of noise and perhaps firing a few shots from his weapon as the Platoon closed in on him. I would further speculate that the Platoon was acutely aware of the consequences of attracting the attention of Jamadi’s neighbors and felt a sense of urgency about a hasty exfiltration. Under circumstances such as these it would be reasonable to expect that some rough handling would ensue in an effort to minimize time on target. I would be surprised if the premises were searched beyond room clearing, and if the Platoon and the CIA had time to positively identify their subject or even thoroughly search him. The personal search and the field interview to determine his identity was probably conducted on the side of the road somewhere safely away from the residence he had been occupying. This is also where the pictures of Jamadi were most likely taken, but these were NOT the pictures of “abuse” that have been published worldwide by the AP.
Military prosecutors displayed a photo of a detainee lying in the sand wearing an orange pumpkin mask. The accused SEAL lieutenant, who was directly responsible for prisoner welfare, posed kneeling next to the detainee (Emphasis mine)While no member of the Platoon has denied that Jamadi was struck with hands,feet, and weapons while restraining him during his capture …
A terror suspect captured by Navy SEALs in Iraq was able to walk on his own and was resisting his captors when the CIA took custody of him, according to a Navy officer who said he was the last SEAL to see the prisoner alive. The unnamed lieutenant commander, testifying by telephone from Guam, said the prisoner bore no traces of such a [fatal] beating. "I would have definitely expected it to show up on him," he said. "He would be hurting very bad, and he wasn't."This description of Jamadi’s physical condition drastically conflicts with Klepto’s assessment of the detainee upon his arrival at Abu Ghraib as “lifeless”. It is self evident that the word of the Task Unit Commander who has made a career in Naval Special Warfare is infinitely more reliable than a junior corpsman that had been kicked out of the Platoon for thievery and deception. So how did he die?
Ask the CIA. But would they answer? Apparently not …
An attorney for a Navy SEAL accused of abusing prisoners in Iraq was repeatedly blocked from exploring the Central Intelligence Agency's role in the case of a terror suspect who died in Abu Ghraib prison after being captured by SEALs.According to news reports, the courtroom was cleared on several occasions in order to submit Classified testimony in the case. Few people know the contents of that testimony, and only a few more will ever find out. What America needs to know about this case is that this SEAL Platoon performed its duties with heroism and courage and should not be made to feel ashamed for their actions in Iraq. SEALs are hunters and killers, not interrogators.
As for the corpsman who has shamefully betrayed his comrades in an effort to save his bacon, I feel a special embarrassment. As a SEAL Independent Duty Corpsman myself, I am quite aware of the interesting and special relationship that a SEAL corpsman has with his Platoon. Corpsmen are unique in the Teams as both healer and killer, wielding both a rifle and a scalpel. Most corpsmen in the Teams are not able to fill these roles with equal competence. Some are so intrigued by the advanced medicine that we practice that they somewhat shed their Froggyness. While many others hate being a corpsman and try to pretend they are just another member of the Platoon. I know that I strove to strike that perfect balance during my time, and I feel that I was a solid operator and a talented corpsman when I was serving in my Platoons. This conflict in the Teams makes being a corpsman a uniquely challenging occupation, and it’s cretins like Klepto that make life more difficult for the rest of the Docs out there trying to make it work.