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A famous Washington watchdog attorney who earlier sued the Taliban, al-Qaida, Iran, Afghanistan and others for the deaths of members of the U.S. military’s SEAL Team 6 in the Extortion 17 calamity now is going to court against the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense for concealing information about the disaster.
Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch this week asked the federal courts for an order that the government agencies review their records about the Aug. 6, 2011, disaster for the U.S. military and respond with information about documents he’s seeking.
It was a U.S. Boeing CH47 Chinook military helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, that was shot down while hauling a quick reaction force of Navy SEALs near Kabul, Afghanistan. Enemy fighters reportedly used a rocket-propelled grenade to hit the aircraft, which plummeted to the ground.
Killed were 25 American special ops fighters, as well as five Army National Guard and Reserve crew members as well as seven Afghan commandos and one Afghan interpreter.
Some of the members of the fighting unit were members of Navy SEAL Team 6, and the attack happened only a short time after Vice President Joe Biden revealed to the world that it was that team that had gone into Pakistan to remove Sept. 11 terror attack instigator Osama bin Laden.
They ended up killing him.
The Extortion 17 attack is considered the worst single loss of U.S. military life in the Afghanistan campaign.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants “have failed to make bona fide, good faith determinations about whether they will comply with plaintiff’s requests. Nor have defendants produced any records responsive to the requests, indicated when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that specific responsive records are exempt from production.”
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.
The original request had been submitted months earlier.
It sought a long list of documents about suspicious circumstances apparent in the tragedy, including the decision “to invite a Muslim cleric to pray at the ramp ceremony in Afghanistan for the … U.S. servicemen.”
Also, there are questions about the “missing” black box, the seven Afghani military members who were scheduled to be on the flight, but weren’t, and the seven Afghanis who replaced them.
Also, there are questions about reports that it was known that 100 Taliban members had traveled to that location to attack the mission, and questions about Biden’s “public disclosures” of military information that normally is kept extremely quiet – the identities of those involved in a high-profile military mission.
In a new commentary released at the same time as word about the court filing against the Obama administration, Klayman noted that it’s never been easy to get information under the Freedom of Information Act.
“This is because the attitude of government agencies in the executive branch – typically Congress has exempted itself from FOIA as it does not consider itself accountable to anyone – has always been, in Hamiltonian fashion, that ‘the people are a great beast’ and either do not deserve to be informed or do not have a say in governance, as they are inherently less able or intelligent.”
But he said Obama has taken the position to a new level.
“As a result, various public interest groups, the media and the citizenry in general have been stymied from learning the full truth about the myriad of scandals rocking the Obama administration, everything from IRS-gate, to Benghazi-gate, to Fast and Furious-gate, and Extortion 17-gate, where 17 Navy SEALS (including some who went on the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden), 5 other special ops forces and eight other servicemen died at the hands of the Taliban in a raid that some observers, like myself who represents some of the families of our heroes, feel was possibly compromised not just by the corrupt Afghani government that is infiltrated with Muslim terrorists but perhaps within our own government, including military brass,” he wrote.
“We filed another lawsuit seeking to have the NSA and CIA cough up the records concerning Extortion 17. Yet, the Pentagon claims not to have and will thus not produce,” he said. “My colleagues and I at Freedom Watch will not rest and will use all legal means to learn the truth about the downing of Extortion 17, as we owe a duty not just to the surviving family members we represent, but to other servicemen who are sent into wars only to be compromised by our president and his lackeys in the Defense Department.”
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed some months ago, seeks more than $600 million in damages from the Taliban, al-Qaida, Iran, Afghanistan and others for the deaths of members of the U.S. military’s SEAL Team 6.
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.
“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, 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.”
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 complainants 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 fourth 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.
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,” author Richard 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:
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.