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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:20 PM 
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Defense: Navy Actions Led to Pirate Hostage Deaths

Sep 19, 2012
The Virginian-Pilot| by Mike Hixenbaugh


NORFOLK -- Attorneys for three Somali men charged in the deaths of four Americans during a pirate attack in the Arabian Sea last year say the Navy and FBI's efforts to rescue the hostages led to the killings.
Defense lawyers also asked that the high-profile federal trial be moved out of Norfolk, where they argue deep pride in the Navy and an unusual interest in piracy cases will make it difficult to assemble an objective jury.
The arguments were spelled out in a series of motions filed by the defense team Monday.

Co-defendants Ahmed Muse Salad, Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar and Abukar Osman Beyle face the death penalty on murder, kidnapping, piracy and related charges.

The men are accused of pirating the yacht Quest in February 2011 in the Arabian Sea and killing the vessel's owners, Scott Underwood Adam and Jean Savage Adam of the Los Angeles area, and their friends Phyllis Patricia Macay and Robert Campbell Riggle of Seattle.

The pirates hoped to take the Americans back to Somalia and begin ransom negotiations, according to court records, but the plan fell apart when Navy warships began shadowing the yacht.
The destroyer Sterett was maneuvering between the Quest and the Somali coast when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the warship.

As the Navy destroyer closed on the yacht, according to court records, shots were fired on board the Quest, resulting in the deaths of the four passengers and two hijackers.

A team of Navy SEALs boarded the yacht, and two more Somalis were killed, records show.

The Navy's "aggressive actions" and "the failure to conduct the negotiations with the Somalis in a proper fashion" created an unstable situation "that resulted in the violent deaths of eight individuals," defense lawyers argued.

The motion seeks to compel the government to produce documents spelling out the rules of engagement and negotiation tactics used during the mission.

In recorded radio conversations in the days leading up to the incident, according to the motion, the yacht captain repeatedly asked Navy officials not to come too close, fearing the pirates would hurt him and the other hostages. Each time, the Navy agreed, the motion said.

"While the defense does not contend that the actions of the Navy/ FBI are legal defenses to any of the charges, it is without dispute that none of the Americans had been harmed until the Navy/FBI acted in an extremely aggressive fashion," defense lawyers wrote.

Larry Dash, an assistant federal public defender and one of seven attorneys representing the Somalis, said Tuesday the defense team did not wish to comment.

\In a separate motion, the defense asked for a change of venue. They argued that Norfolk's large Navy presence and local media coverage of the case had likely tainted the jury pool.
"Furthermore, this trial will begin less than three months after a major Hollywood motion picture about Somali piracy, starring Tom Hanks, filmed, in part, in Norfolk, is set to premier[e]," the lawyers wrote.
The film, "Captain Phillips," is about the captain of the Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship captured by Somali pirates in 2009. Phillips was rescued when Navy SEAL snipers shot and killed the pirates from the fantail of the destroyer Bainbridge.

A poll conducted by the defense found that more than 65 percent of Norfolk residents had heard of the case , and about 31 percent had already decided that the defendants are "definitely guilty."

Defense attorneys also cited user comments left on an April 2010 online poll posted on http://www.pilotonline.com that asked if pirate suspects should be brought to Norfolk for trial. Among them: "[F]rankly I'd just shoot 'em right there and throw their carcasses in the water. ... Do that enough and you start weeding the opposition down!!"

The case is scheduled to go to trial in June next year, Dash said.
Eleven Somalis have pleaded guilty to taking part in the attack; each denied shooting the Americans. All received life sentences in agreeing to testify against the three defendants.

the case
Three Somali men are accused of pirating a yacht and killing the vessel's owners and the owner's friends. Defense lawyers argue the Navy and FBI's actions and the failure to negotiate with the Somalis created an unstable situation.


You took our People, and your complaining that WE Acted in an aggressive fashion?
How can this even be considered a factor?

I have one option. On first sub, we worked with the Coast Guard and followed boats from South America and contacted the CG when they hit our waters and got them busted for drug transport. Should of had a sub tail them then call in an airstrike when the prisoners were safe. Hell, or track them some other way.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:51 PM 
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Then your valiant Coast Guard are very, very lucky the pirates didn't kill their hostages, because we'd be right here then too.

The defense's thesis is that the Navy engaged without regard for the safety of the hostages, provoking the murder of four American citizens, and in this they have a valid argument. Without knowing a lot more specific detail, no one can say whether they are correct, but it's a plausible argument that must be weighed. The Navy cannot be allowed to engage in this cavalier manner if it expects anyone back alive -- and if recovering the hostages is no longer their primary goal, then I'd like a new Navy, please; this one's broken.

I also think the venue change should be allowed. You want these people convicted, right? Then you don't want them to hold the trial in Norfolk, where an endles train of appeals founded on bias will keep the case open until the accused die of old age anyway. Hold it somewhere else so you can reasonably say they were convicted because an impartial jury found them to be guilty, not because they were railroaded by Navy wives and armchair patriots who think ignoring the defense is their civic duty.

Neither the military, nor the judiciary, can ever be allowed to disregard their priorities of defending our lives and our rights. Anything the courts do to these guys will be precedent for someone you like later.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:38 AM 
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You have absolutely no idea how military engagements are handled do you ? the protocols and checks and balances, do we do everything perfectly far from it, but FFS I doubt you've ever been in a situation where other peoples lives hang in the balance, perhaps I'm wrong but nothing you've ever posted leads me to believe otherwise.

I see you post after post with stuff like this, its fine for subjects to be outside of your realm of expertise, we all have that, but you are so out in left field on this that it boggles my mind.

by your argument, military, police etc should just sit back and sing kumbaya and have candlelight vigils for any hostage situation, or just let them take people at will and pay ransoms everytime.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:56 AM 
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Here's a novel idea, you're outgunned and surrounded by Warships, commiting piracy in international waters, with 0 chance of making your home port.

Hmm, surrender and release your hostages and you're probably not facing the death penalty in Norfolk,VA USA


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:59 AM 
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Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like "honor", "code", "loyalty". We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "Thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:09 PM 
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over dramatized for hollywood, but yes some of that statement rings true.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:40 AM 
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Geez Draconi... a little overblown?

Tranthas didn't say it was correct (he said exactly that, actually). He said it is a reasonable argument to make. If the Navy proceeded recklessly without regard to the lives of the hostages, then there is a problem. That's all he said. He clearly didn't say that is what happened, pointing out that we don't have enough detail to know. He just pointed out that it was a possibility that can be argued, and that if it WAS true that it needed to be addressed.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:02 AM 
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ok, I can give that perhaps I over-reacted, but from what I've read and researched, the navy was in radio contact with the pirate vessel, they moved in with 3 ships to prevent them from making port, and when they moved to intercept and prevent their progess, the pirates made threats towards the hostages lives, and subsequently fired a RPG at one the naval vessels.

how does that translate to the Navy being over aggressive ?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:51 PM 
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Col. Jessup ended that movie up on charges.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 PM 
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Okay Draconi, let's look at it more closely. I guess we'd have to find out a couple of extra things.

We'd need to know whether the ships had actually closed to within range of an RPG, and which side did the maneuvering to enable that firing solution to make contact, and whether interdiction or engagement was the real intent (one being usually-nonlethal area denial, the other being active aggression).
We'd need to know whether the Navy ships were BMP4 compliant (LASSO, etc). I would expect military vessels to be able to malform shaped-charge contact warheads, but as you said, I'm not the expert.

...because if the Navy ships maneuvered, closing to weapons range before the RPG was fired, and the hull is BMP4 compliant, the RPG isn't even a killing insult. It's a warning shot, and if the Navy responded to that gesture with lethal force, they made a terrible mistake and someone needs to answer for it -- either there is a penalty for this kind of decision, or there isn't, and making the decision either way will change future engagements.

Now: we don't actually know those things, so investigation. An inquiry could exonerate these sailors just as easily. It might even cause the Navy to upgrade its protections against shaped-charge light arms, in which case everyone wins.

Leaving all of that alone and just addressing raw principle:

I'm a big fan of the military. I know I don't sound like it on this board, but that's because I hate bandwagons. Nowadays everyone jumps up to fellate every soldier in their oral radius every time there's a flag on TV, so it feels trite to say it every 30 seconds in unison with everyone else. I'm proud to support such a noble organization without having to crow about it all the time, but I also expect it to remain something worthy of our respect.

You should be angry that anyone quotes Jessup in defense of the Navy. The Jessup speech above is a call for the military to be able to do whatever it deems necessary to safeguard its citizens, but countless times in history that has come to include ruling them. We absolutely question the manner in which the military provides protection, all the time, without exception, and without flinching, because if the military doesn't do its job properly, or begins doing anything else, we've begun the same path Somalia took in the first place.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:05 PM 
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because if the Navy ships maneuvered, closing to weapons range before the RPG was fired, and the hull is BMP4 compliant, the RPG isn't even a killing insult. It's a warning shot, and if the Navy responded to that gesture with lethal force, they made a terrible mistake and someone needs to answer for it -


Because pirates from Somalia know what a BMP4 compliant hull is...

They fired an RPG with intention to harm, whether it actually would have or not is besides the point.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:25 AM 
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So the point is that the Navy was dissed? Whether they were a threat or not, they "stepped?" Is Somalia a giant schoolyard, or do we still have professional soldiers out there?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:40 PM 
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So it's ok for a fugitive to fire a weapon at a police officer as a "warning shot" and not expect to get fired back upon because he wasn't going to hurt anyone?

Same thing, just on a larger scale.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:05 PM 
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That's actually not the same thing at all. You're ignoring the presence of the hostages, which is the center of the whole situation. If your example fugitive had even one hostage and fired a shot at a police officer, they wouldn't just send SWAT charging in to shoot everyone.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:17 PM 
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How is "Navy destroyer closed on the yacht" the same as "the swat charging in to shoot everyone"?

They could have know they failed and surrendered but instead they decided to kill innocent people to make their relatives and friends suffer. They created the problem in the first place. Never should we surrender with terrorists / pirates, because when we do once we have to do it again and again.

As a side note why the fuck do people insist of going with their yacht in that part of the world?? You'd think they would have learned those things happen over there by now...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:01 AM 
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You're the first person to reference the concept that the Navy would surrender. I'll leave that in your lap. Seriously, if you don't get why it's dangerous to threaten people who have guns to your wife's head, I'm the wrong guy to explain it to you.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:16 AM 
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the funniest part for me Tranthas is how you on one hand applaud the defense lawyers here for basically using defamation attacks against the Navy, but yet on the other hand are all up in arms over George Zimmerman's defense lawyers using the same tactic to impeach the credibility of T. Martin.

which is it gonna be ? flip flop and its a valid tactic only when you deem it so ?

again I think Zimmerman is gonna get jail time so its not like I'm on his bandwagon


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:19 AM 
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and also if you dont get why its dangerous that you don't give in to terrorists, criminals etc everytime they have a gun to someone's head then well you'll never get it


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:48 PM 
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I'm not suggesting the Navy should sail off and leave these people to their own devices, but I know you're not so simplistic that the only options you see are "Charge in guns blazing" and "Wave the white flag." You're taking my refusal to accept one and trying to turn it into acceptance of the other, and I'm not going to let that work.

Regarding comparison/contrast with the Zimmerman case, the differences are obvious here too. You're painting with an excessively wide brush if you see these cases as remotely similar. Zimmerman is a crazy vigilante who killed a kid for walking while black; no one was in danger at all until Zimmerman engaged. If Trayvon had a gun to someone's head, and Zimmerman were a police officer, and actual authorities weren't literally on the phone in his hand at the time, we could compare the two cases, but to accept those premises distorts the Trayvon/Zimmerman case into something unrecognizable from the real thing.

I went the same way in both of those cases, when you simplify my position without distorting it; I expect people to be held accountable when they wield power without any control and someone innocent gets hurt.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:20 PM 
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and as far as a RPG not piercing or being threatening to a compliant hull armor, I agree in principal

oh, also in principal a homemade IED with less explosive power than the RPG shouldn't pierce or be threatening to armor plate on a HUMVEE, but it is.

I know for a fact


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:48 PM 
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A Humvee is a wheeled vehicle with a wide wheel-base, but which can be thrown over with sufficient lateral force. The problem is similar to the ones with armor vests on people: Blunt trauma still delivers enough energy to the target that a mission kill can be achieved even if the target isn't actually destroyed.

The threshold for a kinetic mission kill is several orders of magnitude higher with naval units, because the surrounding water makes such a great brake. Comparing a Humvee with a destroyer, even if you scale up explosive power in proportion with mass, doesn't work.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:31 PM 
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I spilled hot coffee in my lap and burned my penis.
Who can I sue?

Why are you arguing a frivolous lawsuit?
There are much better things to debate...


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