Parents of fallen service members spoke at a press conference on Thursday morning, an event during which they accused the U.S. government of complicity in the deaths of their sons. The families highlighted a number of grievances, including the notion that military brass invited a Muslim cleric to their children’s funeral in 2011 — an imam who they claim “disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen.” Three families of fallen Navy SEAL Team 6 special forces members and one family of an Army National Guardsman held the event at the National Press Club to make this startling allegation, among many others. Their children perished during the fatal Chinook helicopter crash that occurred in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011.

The presser was an effort, as noted in a press release, to corroborate the notion that the U.S. government is “as much responsible for the deaths of their sons as is the Taliban.” – May. 9, 2013  (NEWS HERO)



The prayer,

As for the claim about the Muslim cleric, the families believe that the faith leader attempted to intentionally sully the memory of their sons by “damning them as infidels to Allah.” The group showed video of the prayer to prove their contentions, complete with translation. Audio from the ceremony, which has been circling for at least a few months, includes a U.S. soldier speaking in English; he begins the ceremony by appealing to the “almighty and awesome God” and goes on to honor the fallen, speaking directly to God and invoking Christian scripture in doing so. After the presiding officer concludes, the imam’s purportedly controversial prayer begins; it is this latter portion that has sparked outrage among the families.

See the American prayer, below:

On Wednesday, TheBlaze spoke with attorney Larry Klayman who is representing the grieving parents to learn more about the Arabic comments in question. Noting that he has consulted with a certified translator, he paraphrased the meaning of the imam’s words as follows: “That the fallen seals should be damned and go to hell as infidels.”

If this translation is valid, the notion that it was spoken over U.S. service members bodies at a funeral is potentially problematic, although it should be noted that the prayer may have been intended only for the Afghan soldiers who perished. Let’s first explore what the Muslims leader said during his sermon. Here’s one translation that has been given of the cleric’s comments (this is the version that Klayman showed at the press conference along with video of the prayer):

And here’s the audio, with subtitles which can be found in: Outer Darkness

In his interview, Klayman described the prayer as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in his mix of his clients’ claims against the Obama administration. In the attorney’s view, the purported slight on behalf of the faith leader was intention.

The interpretation

“My personal reaction was that this was a Muslim cleric who was laughing internally at the Christians and any Jews that might have been there — he pulled a fast one, because no one could understand what he was saying,” Klayman said, noting that the video was initially brought to his attention by one of the fallen service member’s family members. “That was my personal impression.”

Overall, the lawyer said that he found it odd that a Judeo-Christian funeral for American servicemen was mixed with a Muslim funeral for Afghanis, especially considering the questions that some have raised about just how loyal the Afghanis were to the mission in question. But it is entirely possible, of course, that the joint funeral was conducted as an exercise in bridging divides and bridging ideological differences.

“All these families have left is the memory of their sons and his memory now has been trashed and desecrated by the Muslim — and the very fact that this Muslim was even allowed to go to the funeral is another example of Obama’s so-called Muslim outreach,” he continued. “He’s more concerned about placating Muslims than he is our own people.”

But not everyone agrees

In contrast to Klayman’s strong views on the matter, Coughlin noted that he’s not entirely sure that the prayer was an overt attempt to offend American servicemen and their families. His explanation — one that is based on interactions with two Coptic Christians who know Arabic and who helped him translate the prayer — is a multifaceted one.

Coughlin claims that the funeral rite that was delivered over the dead soldiers is “a standard funeral rite among Muslims.” Naturally, non-Muslims may be surprised by this claim, but the Islam expert expounded in detail:

“Even a standard prayer is actually a little bit offensive because … it comes from a book of the Koran or a chapter of the Koran that’s basically about defeating the infidels. And [in exploring the issue] I basically showed that there were two verses quoted in the funeral rite.

If you back it up one verse, it gives you the greater context of the fact that the people who are not Muslim are condemned to hell, by those prayers and so I basically showed that. So my point isn’t that the imam was deliberately inflammatory — my point was that it’s inflammatory even when they’re not trying to, because it goes to the issue of the fundamental and irreconcilable difference between Islamic orientation and a non-Muslim orientation.”

Prior to his interview with TheBlaze, Coughlin provided an extensive explanation of the prayer, highlighting scripture from the Koran to show where the imam was pulling his commentary from. It seems verses in Surah 59:20 – 59:21 were employed in the cleric’s commentary, but the Islam expert argues that one must also consider Surah 59:19 to properly understand how to interpret the subsequent verses shared in the prayer.

While the Muslim cleric’s words have, thus far, been described as a collective “prayer,” Coughlin notes that they extend beyond mere invocation, mostly because the faith leader’s comments also involved reading out of the Koran. In citing scripture from the holy book, the Islam expert noted that the verses had a specific meaning — one that focuses on the victory of Muslims over non-Muslims.

“We don’t know what he was thinking”

Rather than taking aim at the Islamic leader, Coughlin claims that the imam’s intentions, simply based on audio of his words, cannot be known. More dissection and discussion would certainly be warranted and considering that this may be a standard funeral rite, nothing may be amiss.

“We don’t know what he was thinking. He could have known … and it was a dig to get in,” he posited. “But it’s also possible that he was going through the [typical] motions that an imam would go through at this point.”

One of the individuals that Coughlin consulted with about the video, a native Egyptian, seemed to believe that the cleric’s words were likely inappropriate, but not intentionally so. The individual, someone well-versed in Islam and Islamic law, called the imam’s comments “standard fare at a funeral rite” and reiterated that a slight may not have been intentional.

Coughlin said that responsibility should fall on the generals who purportedly did not call for a translator beforehand. “That general should have known what that guy was saying [and what it meant],” he added.

How the video came to light

As stated by Klayman, family members first brought the video to the attorney’s attention. In an interview with TheBlaze’s Liz Klimas, Karen Vaughn, mother of fallen SEAL Aaron Vaughn, explained how her family obtained a copy.

While they initially expected footage from the event to arrive (it is apparently standard procedure for military families to get video of funeral proceedings before the body is sent back home), they purportedly never receive it. But in January, a source that the family declined to name finally sent it to them.

The Vaughn family held onto the footage for a few weeks before watching, understanding that it would be an emotional experience for them. While Karen enjoyed the prayer that was seemingly offered by a U.S. chaplain — the one that came before the imam’s — she said that her “jaw literally dropped” when she heard the cleric’s portion of the address.

“We knew instantly we needed to translate this,” she said, noting that she contacted a friend who has experience with Arabic translations.

The family sat on the video for months, as the grieving parents considered how to proceed. Now, it appears they have come forward not only about the cleric’s alleged verbal offense, but also about other issues that were highlighted earlier today at the press conference.

“Our sons were subjected to a final act of betrayal by their government,” Karen Vaughn told TheBlaze of the prayer being read.

Klimas was on hand and provides an extensive overview, which can be read here.


Written May. 9, 2013 4:59pm   (NEWS HERO)

Military experts and the families of the soldiers killed in the August 6, 2011, helicopter crash in Afghanistan — the single largest loss of soldiers’ lives in the Afghanistan campaign — think it is fitting that they are sharing details regarding the unusual events and unanswered questions surrounding their son’s deaths now at a time when similar themes are being discussed at the Benghazi hearings.

Retired Major General Paul Vallely called the attack on the helicopter with the callsign Extortion 17, leading to the death of 25 American special operations personnel, including many from SEAL Team Six, five from the National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, and eight Afghanis, a “lost story.”

“I think it is timely that we are here at a time when Benghazi is going on,” Vallely said at a press conference where the family divulged details regarding their sons’ deaths. Like the events surrounding Benghazi, Vallely said he believes the crash of the helicopter, which was carrying many men who only 93 days before had aided in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, has “a constant plethora of lies and deceit.”

As the numbness over the news of their sons’ deaths began to lift, questions took its place. Charles Strange, the father of Navy SEAL Michael Strange, said he was embraced by President Barack Obama when he was receiving the body of his 25-year-old son back in the U.S. He asked the president if there would be an investigation, to which Obama said yes. In Strange’s assessment, and that of other parents present at the presser hosted by attorney Larry Klayman who is representing some of the families through Freedom Watch, such an investigation has not delved into the questions that need to be answered.

The accusations and questions

Their first point of contention is a comment made by Vice President Joe Biden that they believe “put a target” on their sons’ backs. After the death of bin Laden, instead of remaining general and using terms like “special forces team” to describe the soldiers who took him out, Biden identified the team as part of the Navy SEALS.

Biden mentions the SEALs in this video at an event just a couple days after the announcement of bin Laden’s death:

The parents of Aaron Vaughn, Billy and Karen, who spoke at the presser Thursday began voicing of their discontent regarding the SEALs being identified last year:

Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, who runs SOFREP.com (the Special Operations Forces Report, told TheBlaze in an email, though, that he thinks it would have been “virtually impossible” not to disclose the team responsible for killing bin Laden in today’s “age of social media.”

“If you remember there was a Pakatani tweeting about helicopters as the raid was happening,” he wrote.

But the families detailed other information surrounding the tragedy that they find objectionable. They question the type of helicopter being flown; why so many elite members of the military were in one helicopter at a given time; why command switched out members of the Afghani forces at the last minute; and why other procedures they considered protocol did not seem to have been followed.

“A Chinook from 1989? Unacceptable,” Strange said of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook the men were flying in that day. “93 days after killing bin Laden you put 22 [members of] SEAL Team 6 into a Chinook?”

“That helicopter is meant to transport troops and people …[it’s] not made to conduct special operations,” retired admiral James Lyon said.

Billy Vaughn said he believes if his son were flying in more modern aircraft suited for special operations the outcome might have been different. But even if the outcome wasn’t changed, it would at least “be a whole lot easier to live with,” he said.

Lyon called the details — and remaining questions — surrounding the event “pure dereliction of duty.”

“This is the same dereliction of duty you see reflected in Benghazi today,” he continued. “Not to come to the aid of our diplomats and our personnel when we’re under attack is un-American.”

Billy Vaughn also noted that a commander made a call to switch Afghani forces on the mission, which the families believe might have led to a leak of classified information to the Taliban about their plans. Vaughn said he doesn’t know what commander authorized this and said that fact wasn’t included in the military’s report, something he finds questionable.

What’s more, Karen Vaughn said the helicopter didn’t have an escort on its night mission to the Tangi Valley in an area that had already seen hours of hostility. This, she said, violates standard protocol.

But U.S. Central Command’s report issued October 13, 2011, called the decisions that led up to the Chinook being shot down “tactically sound.”

Webb with SOFREP offered his thoughts on these points to TheBlaze as well. He said that although it was unusual to have so many elite team members in one helicopter at a time, with limited assets and last minute missions he explained that it’s not unheard of. He also said the Chinook being flown isn’t quite out of the ordinary either.

“Chinooks are used all the time, it may have not been a TF160 helicopter but like I said before, assets are sometimes hard to come by,” Webb wrote.

The families and military experts on the panel lambast “rules of engagement” (ROE) that have they say in this case and in many others have prevented troops from protecting themselves adequately.

“Everybody knows our ROEs better than we do and they use them against us,” Lyon said.

On this Webb agreed.

“This is absolutely true, I’ve heard it from U.S. and Coalition forces. They say the current ROE is ridiculous …” Webb wrote.

What has been causing even more of a stir is an Islamic prayer that was said, in addition to another prayer, over the bodies in a ceremony in Afghanistan before they were brought home. TheBlaze reported in a separate article that the families believe the Arabic prayer was disrespectful and damning the soldiers to hell, while other experts say the prayer can’t easily be labeled a deliberate slap in the face.

“Our sons were subjected to a final act of betrayal by their government,” Karen Vaughn told TheBlaze of the prayer being read.

While at the same time, Islam expert Stephen Caughlin gave a bit more background on the prayer, which is common at Muslim funerals:

“Even a standard prayer is actually a little bit offensive because … it comes from a book of the Koran or a chapter of the Koran that’s basically about defeating the infidels. And [in exploring the issue] I basically showed that there were two verses quoted in the funeral rite.

If you back it up one verse, it gives you the greater context of the fact that the people who are not Muslim are condemned to hell, by those prayers and so I basically showed that. So my point isn’t that the imam was deliberately inflammatory — my point was that it’s inflammatory even when they’re not trying to, because it goes to the issue of the fundamental and irreconcilable difference between Islamic orientation and a non-Muslim orientation.”

The prayer isn’t the only thing upsetting families. Karen Vaughn said she and other families were stunned upon receiving the bodies in Dover, Delaware, when the 38 caskets were “paraded” with equal honor.

What’s more, the bodies of all those lost were cremated and the individuals were identified based on DNA and dental records.

“Is it possible that one or more of our sons, that my son, came home under the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s flag all for the very guise of appeasement? The very thought fills my heart with more anger and pain than I could possibly express,” she said.

The families are now seeking a congressional investigation and will be pursing some sort of legal action on their own as well.

“Something is wrong,” Strange said. “We need a congressional inquiry. Somebody has to be accountable for the biggest loss in this war.

Watch this local report with some footage from the press conference:


1) Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall,

2) Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais,

3) Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff,

4) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary  Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers,

5) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill,

6) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas,

7) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston,

8) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason,

9) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills,

10) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null,

11) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves,

12) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson,

13) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson,

14) Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell,

15) Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day,

16) Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara,

17) Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange,

18) Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson,

19) Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn,

20) Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman,

21) Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman,

22) Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar,

23) Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion),

24) Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion),

25) Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion),

26) Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion),

27) Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion),

28) Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown,

29) Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, CA, and

30) Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, PA.


Thank you so much for your tireless efforts in restoring honor to America.  Please accept my special thank you for honoring the memories of those members of Seal Team Six and those at Benghazi.  For it is important to note that they died in what they believed was an honorable mission in the service of our country.

As I know you do too, I also join the families in their grief.  But I also grieve as a member of the larger American family. I am certain many other Americans share this grief as well.

But tragically, I grieve at the senseless loss of true dedicated American lives, as it appears they may have been uselessly sacrificed to meet some unstated political agenda of the Obama administration.  These dedicated honorable Americans gave their lives to defend traditional American principles on which many of our elected representatives have turned their backs.

While our brave Americans died, representing, what many of us were led to believe, were the honorable intentions of a grateful nation,  those responsible, all members involved, impersonating lawful officials of the government of the American people, continue their criminally motivated, unrelenting march, lockstep in perpetuating an illusion which many have now revealed to be steeped in fraud and deception; with the ultimate objective….the destruction of our republic.

As tears stream down my cheeks, writing this to you, I also grieve for an America which has been so generous to so many of us, us as ‘we the people,’ and I especially grieve for all who paid the ultimate price to ensure this sense of freedom we of this current slice in time, thoughtlessly have taken for granted.

And lastly Eva, I grieve for those standing on the sidelines, knowing full well what is transpiring.  Standing there as transfixed and mesmerized; paralyzed from acting to defend our nation from the ravages of the war in which we have been engaged for over one hundred years; more precisely, since 1865.

The real tragedy Eva is the solution is staring us in the face. The solution is simple.  The solution is readily apparent but it all hinges on one thing.  A solution we both know and recently saw vividly demonstrated in Egypt—the people themselves—the people who are the ultimate arbiters,  the people are the ultimate power and authority.

We the People are the sole reservoir of authority from which every legitimate government is created.

The operative word being… legitimate

We the People answer to no one but the Creator.

The Constitution of California 1849

We the people of California, grateful to Almighty; God for our freedom: in order to secure its blessings, do establish this Constitution.

Article I: Declaration of Rights [2]

Sec. 1.

All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty:

acquiring, possessing and protecting property: and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

Sec. 2.

All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right [3] to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.

Sec. 9.

Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions on indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be 

acquitted: and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.

– Scanned Retina

SEO® SYMBOL Gens. “Green Light” and  I Won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me, I proudly stand!


Update August 5, 2014
Harold Joseph “Harry” Greene (February 11, 1959 – August 5, 2014) was a United States Army general who was killed during the War in Afghanistan.

Harold J. Greene







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