A civil complaint seeking more than $600 million in damages has been filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., against the Taliban, al-Qaida, Iran, Afghanistan and others for the deaths of members of the U.S. military’s SEAL Team 6.
Filed Tuesday by attorney Larry Klayman of FreedomWatch, the case alleges racketeering, terrorism and murder. It charges the terror groups are liable under America’s Anti-Terrorism Act for harboring or concealing terrorists, providing material support to a terror organization, wrongful death and more.
The case traces back to Feb. 23, 1998, when the “terrorist organization Defendant Taliban, in concert with the terrorist organization Defendant al-Qaida, led by master terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, issued a Fatwah (Religious Decree), dictating to all Muslim people to kill Americans and their allies – civilians and military – declaring that the slaying of Americans is an individual duty for every Muslim.”
Bin Laden declared: “We – with God’s help – call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it.”
The case ties the declaration to the deaths of Michael Strange, a National Security Agency cryptologist for SEAL Team 6; Patrick Hamburger, an Army National Guard member; and John Douangdara, a Petty Officer 1st Class, in support of SEAL Team 6. Family members and survivors Charles and Mary Strange, Douglas and Shaune Hamburger and Phouthasith Douangdara are suing.
The defendants are accused of “violating plaintiffs’ and decedents’ rights, for engaging in racketeering and other prohibited activities, for engaging in international terrorism, for harboring and concealing terrorists, for providing material support to terrorists and terrorist groups, for directly and proximately causing the deaths of plaintiffs’ decedents, and for directly and proximately causing mental anguish, severe emotional distress, emotional pain and suffering, and the loss of society, earnings, companionship, comfort, protecting, care, attention, advice, counsel or guidance.”
The full list of defendants is the Islamic Republic of Iran, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan Operational Coordination Group, the Khasa Amalyati Qeta, Afghan National Security Forces, the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Told through the eyes of current and former Navy SEALs, “Eyes on Target” is an inside account of some of the most harrowing missions in American history – including the mission to kill Osama bin Laden and the mission that wasn’t, the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
“In carrying out its terrorist attacks, including its attack on members of Navy SEAL Team VI and special operations servicemen as described herein, [the defendants], conspiring and acting in concert, purposefully directed their unlawful, barbaric, and murderous actions and conduct towards the United States and the U.S. military,” the complaint states.
The case claims the “murders of plaintiffs’ decedents were a direct and proximate result of Defendant Iran, Defendant Ahmadinejad, Defendant Kahmenei, Defendant IRGC, Defendant Karzai, Defendant OCG, Defendant ASOU, Defendant ANSF, Defendant Afghanistan, Defendant Taliban, and Defendant al-Qaida conspiring with and providing aid to terrorist organizations and through their individual and government acts, as hereinabove alleged, jointly and severally.”
It was a raid by Navy SEAL Team 6 that resulted in the killing of bin Laden on May 2, 2011, and made the service members and their families “a target for retaliatory attacks.” But the danger was relatively low for a time because they hadn’t been identified.
However, the lawsuit explains, Vice President Joe Biden “intentionally released the name” of SEAL Team 6 to the world, prompting a horrified Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to explode: “Why doesn’t everybody just shut the **** up?”
Only weeks later, the Taliban “shot down a U.S. Boeing CH-47D Chinook military helicopter, call sign Extortion 17 … killing 30 Americans, including 22 Navy Seals and SEAL support personnel, five Army National Guardsmen, three Air Force members and eight Afghans.”
Of the Navy SEALs killed, all but two were in SEAL Team 6.
Klayman, whose previous cases have listed Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as defendants, explained in the lawsuit that the defendants inflicted death, destruction and damage on the complaintants and their families.
The first claim is of a violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the second accuses the defendants of concealing a terrorist, the third alleges the defendants were providing material support, the four charges racketeering, the fifth claims terrorism, the sixth assault and battery, the seventh emotional distress, wrongful death, negligence and gross negligence.
The case cites $200 million in damages but notes that the award could be “$600 million in trebled damages where appropriate.”
The case charges, too, that President Obama has been of little help.
“After the bodies of the Navy SEAL Team Six unit and other special operations servicemen were returned to Dover, the plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and their sons, plaintiffs’ decedents, asked for an explanation from President Obama, Vice President Biden, and other military .…. .full, satisfactory, and credible explanation was not forthcoming and has since not been made to plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and their sons,” it said.
WND recently reported that a new book, “Eyes on Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs,” by Richard Miniter and Scott McEwen, addresses some of the worries of the team members.
It blames the vice president’s loose lips for the disaster.
“This helicopter shoot down, Extortion 17, is the largest loss of life among the Navy SEALs since World War II. The family members, wives, the widows and mothers and fathers of those SEALs think that it’s political. In the course of our interviews, we discovered a number of SEALs think so, too. They think that the shoot down of this helicopter was a revenge plot by al-Qaida, inspired by Vice President Biden’s comment,” Miniter said.
“The SEALs feel increasingly politicized under the Obama administration. One of the things that we demonstrate is SEALs who have been prosecuted for crimes they didn’t commit, found innocent, but sort of forced into retirement. We’ve seen a record number of retirements from the Navy SEALs. This is something the media is ignoring, but it’s an important story because the SEALs, like our other special forces, are the tip of the spear. They’re the people who are actually out there killing and capturing terrorists,” he said.
“Without them, we lose the war on terror. Without them, al-Qaida carries out attacks at America’s public schools, its offices and its shopping malls. Politicizing the SEALs is a dangerous game and, unfortunately, it’s one of the games President Obama is playing.”
Watch the WND/Radio America interview with Richard Miniter:
Klayman, in a commentary for WND, wrote: "Notwithstanding the other unanswered questions, a real investigation into the possibility of Afghan complicity cannot be avoided. It is possible that the corrupt president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, sold out our best and brightest to placate the Taliban. Recently, Karzai has secretly met with the Taliban in an attempt to negotiate behind the backs of the U.S. and other allies. It is also more than likely that Karzai financially benefited from any such 'transaction,' as he is a notorious criminal who has stashed away in various foreign banks boatloads of money, gained from misappropriating and stealing American and other assets and monies."
WND also reported members of Congress have been unhappy with how the case developed.