SEAL defense can prove Abed’s injuries were self-inflicted; prosecution witness caught lying
posted at 9:02 am on May 6, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
The court martial against Navy SEAL Matthew McCabe is winding down. Earlier this week, defense attorney Neal Puckett said that doctors could prove Abed’s injuries were self inflicted.
During opening statements Tuesday in Petty Officer Matthew McCabe’s court martial, defense attorney Neal Puckett stated that an oral surgeon would testify that injuries to Ahmed Hashim Abed, suspected mastermind behind the brutal murders of four civilian security guards in Fallujah in 2004, could have been self inflicted.
Puckett also made reference to the “Manchester Manuel” also known as the al Qaeda training manual, in which as HUMAN EVENTS has previously reported directs captured terrorists to complain of torture and self-inflict injuries on themselves.
Puckett asked the members of the jury to remind themselves of specific questions after they see the evidence and deliberate. “How was the detainee treated when he was captured?” asked Puckett. “What does the medical screening completed after show? When were photos taken?”
… The defense has said that the accuracy of the translations will be taken up later in the trial. Defense attorney Haytham Faraj, who speaks fluent Arabic, believes the translator did not repeat Abed’s exact answer in many questions.
Abed’s testimony remained the same as what has been reported in the cases of Petty Officers Huertas and Keefe, that he was taken from his home, blindfolded, handcuffed and placed in a helicopter.
Abed says when they landed an American took him into a room. “They started hitting me on my shoulders and my back… I don’t know who did it but it was on my shoulders and my back,” said Abed. “Then he hit me on my stomach with his foot, hard, and I fell to the floor.”
All of this, with absolutely no photographic evidence of any bruising or injuries besides a fat lip.
The prosecution’s star witness, Petty Officer Kevin DeMartino, was also caught lying. He testified he saw blood dribbling down Abed’s chin — which the medic flatly denies. His own superiors also said that DeMartino was untrustworthy and often lied.
The prosecution’s key witness, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin DeMartino, testified Wednesday that he saw McCabe deliver a right cross to Abed’s midsection.
“It was a right-cross. He punched him in the stomach,” DeMartino said at the trial. The detainee “let out a gasp of air” and fell to the floor, he said.
DeMartino, who was responsible for guarding Abed, acknowledged that he failed to do his job properly. He also admitted that he initially denied any knowledge of what happened, but said his conscience finally overcame his desire to protect his friends.
“I had to either be in the good graces of the Navy SEALs or in the good graces of God,” he said.
He also said he saw several SEALs other than McCabe enter the small building where Abed was being held. He said he believed others participated in the assault.
“Man to man, I’ll tell you they went in there and did it,” DeMartino said, but he added that McCabe’s punch was the only one he saw.
DeMartino and the SEAL commander who led the operation to capture Abed both said there was no reason for SEALs to be in the holding area with the detainee. But a SEAL who testified for the defense said that it’s not prohibited and that he stopped by just to get a look at a high-profile detainee.
The defense attacked DeMartino’s credibility in questioning several witnesses, including some SEALs and intelligence officers who cannot be publicly identified, who contradicted portions of DeMartino’s testimony.
Most of those conflicts centered on conversations DeMartino claimed he had with the witnesses, who disputed his accounts. A medic also denied DeMartino’s claim that he wiped blood off Abed’s chin. The medic, who conducted the medical screening of Abed shortly after his capture, testified that he saw no blood and no other signs of trauma.
Navy Reserve member Paul Franco of New York, who supervised DeMartino, said he had “reservations about his truthfulness.” He said DeMartino would often say he had completed a task when he had not.
Some of the witnesses were given testimonial immunity, but one of them noted that he could still be prosecuted for lying under oath — something he said he would never do, even to protect a fellow SEAL.
These charges look more and more like a joke every day. The Department of Defense charged these SEALs based on nothing more than the word of a terrorist and a sailor who’s apparently had a history of lying. And this sailor, Kevin DeMartino (who should be ashamed of himself if he is in fact lying), is considered the prosecution’s star witness. Not the medics who examined Abed, but a sailor who has given seven conflicting statements and whose supervisor said often lied in the past. Not only did he give conflicting statements, but on the witness stand he testified he saw blood on Abed’s chin and that a medic wiped it away — and the medic then denied it!
I’m curious if the Department of Defense actually investigated the terrorist’s claims before charging these three men, or if they just automatically believed him and charged the SEALs. It sounds to me like they did nothing to verify that what Abed was saying was true. If they had, there’s no way these men would have been charged because this case is so flimsy.
The prosecution rested their case yesterday, and the defense will lay out their case for McCabe today. A verdict is expected to be reached tomorrow.