A new report is alleging that the U.S. Navy SEALs had a death cover-up orchestrated in their favor based upon an incident from 2012. It is claimed that SEAL Team 2 abused detainees in Afghanistan using methods like waterboarding and beatings using heavy stones and car antennas. In one case, a 24-year-old Afghan man, Muhammad Hashem, was allegedly beaten to death while being detained at an American outpost.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brian Losey came out with a statement earlier in 2015 indicating that women can become Navy SEALs starting in 2016.
According to the report by the New York Times, the death of the Afghani man occurred on May 31, 2012. An Afghani police officer working with the NAVY SEALs in the area was killed during a bombing at a checkpoint. SEAL Team 2 then rounded up a group of suspects and transported them to the American outpost while administering a beating along the way using rifle butts and car antennas.
A U.S. Army medic named David Walker was standing guard at the base, and he claims to have been a witness to the abuse. He has come forward with his testimony because he believes the U.S. Navy SEALs stationed at the outpost went way beyond the call of duty.
“It just comes down to what’s wrong and what’s right,” Walker said in a recent interview. “You can’t squint hard enough to make this gray…. It’s hard to forget what happened when it’s the truth.”
Walker says the Navy SEALs rounded up a group of local scrap merchants and villagers. One man named Assadullah said he had risen to secure his cargo when the bomb exploded. Afghan police officers allegedly entered the market stall where the men were staying and began beating them.
“They just started hitting us on our shoulders, on our backs, everywhere,” Assadullah recalled. “Along the road, they were beating us with stones and rifles.”
Assadullah said three Americans and an Afghan militia commander interrogated him multiple times. One of the Americans allegedly grabbed him by the throat and kneed him in the stomach before demanding that he tell them who set off the bomb.
“But I didn’t know who did it,” Assadullah said.
Walker and the other witnesses said SEAL Team 2 kicked prisoners and fired handguns off near their heads. Two of the Navy SEALs forced a man’s legs apart so they could drop a large rock on his crotch. One member even stood on a detainee’s head “maybe eight to 10 times.”
The U.S. Navy SEALs also allegedly resorted to other forms of torture and used an “improvised form of waterboarding” on at least five of the detainees. Walker said he saw a SEAL “straddling the detainee over his upper torso area and pouring water on the detainee’s head.” Another man appeared to be choking during the waterboarding torture, and one man had a cloth stuffed into his mouth.
The Navy SEALs eventually let the men go free, but not before posing for a picture with Muhammad Hashem. The man looked like a Taliban fighter due to his beard, so he was posed with an AK-47 for a photo. Hashem had suffered from repeated blows by rocks and rifle butts, and while the bleeding man was allowed to shamble away, Assadullah said he eventually died while resting under a mulberry tree.
After this death happened, the Taliban began threatening the outpost over the radio. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. David Roschak said he spoke to the deputy commander of the Afghan Local Police, who acknowledged that the “SEAL guys beat that guy, and he died.” When Roschak spoke to the SEALs, he was told to help the Navy SEALs cover-up the death.
“Tell your guys not to talk to anyone about what happened outside of this camp,” Roschak reported the SEALs as saying. “You know, no one needs to know we were involved. Just say an IED went off, and one ALP guy died; we sent ALP to check it out, but they didn’t find anything.”
But Roschak did report the death by emailing a superior officer.
“My squad is being involved in a coverup regarding the possible killing of detainees,” he wrote.
When the incident was investigated, a U.S. Navy intelligence specialist said he had seen no abuse by American personnel.
“At no point did I observe any U.S. personnel punch, kick, strike or act inappropriately towards any of the detained persons,” he said.
But other soldiers said the abuse began after the specialist left the scene.
Roschak also claims the master chiefs in the SEALs tried to get the witnesses to change their story, “implying that we were making it up” in order to avoid another deployment to the Middle East.
“They were more concerned with the fact I couldn’t remember how many rounds were fired, instead of why they used a weapon at all while questioning the detainees,” Roschak said.
In the end, SEAL command did not court-martial any of the men involved but instead chose to use a closed disciplinary process. Rachel E. VanLandingham, former chief legal adviser for the U.S. Central Command, says the case needs to be reopened.
“There’s more than sufficient information, evidence, data in the documents to more than warrant a new investigation,” VanLandingham said, according to the Sky Valley Chronicle. “The decision to dispose of these charges via anything but criminal prosecution was grossly flawed.”
Based upon the report, Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, says the U.S. Navy SEALs did commit a death cover-up.
“It’s unfathomable,” he said, according to the Stars & Stripes. “It really does look like this was intended just to bury this.”
[Image via NavySeals.com]