Victoria Soto, Heroic Sandy Hook Teacher

Vicki Soto
Vicki Soto

I’ve always had a thing for heroes. They lend hope, strength, and comfort to all of us through their bravery. Click on the tab labeled heroes (under categories to the lower left) for more examples of these great folks.

Meanwhile, another hero has sadly been added to the ever-increasing rolls. Victoria Soto, a Sandy Hook Elementary School first-grade teacher. She died protecting her students from the crazed gunman in Connecticut. Vicki Soto is survived by Donna and Carlos Soto, her parents, and her sisters and brother. God bless you, Vicki. Reading of your courage gave me chills.

USS Cole Attacker to Face Military Tribunal

USS Cole, Unwavered in Mission

In October of 2000, the Navy suffered a tremendous blow in the USS Cole attack. To this day, it greatly affects the way we execute force-protection.

One of the ringleaders of the assault is finally facing a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. As a former Gitmo Sailor, I wholeheartedly endorse the tribunal process as a vehicle to prosecute enemy combatants. It truly is the best option, after we extract the intel they carry:

The main suspect in the USS Cole bombing goes before a judge Wednesday at Guantanamo, the first case to move forward at the war court since President Barack Obama ordered military trials to resume.

Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 46, faces the death penalty for allegedly planning and preparing the October 2000 attack on the US Navy destroyer in Yemen’s port of Aden that killed 17 sailors and wounded 40 more.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Not Carlos Leon

al-Nashiri is being defended by a Navy Lieutenant Commander, a Judge Advocate General (JAG.) In terms of billets, this one certainly smacks of difficulty. I am not a lawyer, but that is one position I would not want. The LCDR had this to say:

Nevertheless, “the defendant doesn’t have the rights protection required in a capital case,” said Lieutenant Commander Stephen Reyes, one of Nashiri’s lawyers.

“Here they try to put him to death without giving him a chance to confront his accusers,” he told AFP.

One of the advantages of a tribunal is that it occurs behind closed doors and can be sealed as a way to protect classified information:

Sailors line-handling on the USS Cole

Washington has asked the military judge presiding over the case that any classified information be protected at all times.

“Because the accused was detained and interrogated in the CIA program, he was exposed to classified sources, methods and activities,” the government said in its motion.

“Due to his exposure to classified information, the accused is in a position to reveal this information publicly through statements.”

Lourdes and Madonna’s Ex Carlos Leon, Not a Terrorist

Last note: reading through the comments on the page was infuriating. Do folks actually believe that America was behind the USS Cole? Just because there are similarities to US products in the explosives used? I have a conspiracy theory on conspiracy theories: they are all invented nonsense.

Last last note: Does not Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri bear a striking resemblance to Mr. Madonna #1, Carlos Leon? Father to her oldest offspring, Lourdes?

Oddly, he is Cuban. Coincidence, no? Gitmo is in Cuba, right? Wait. What did I say about conspiracy theories in the last note above? Despite similarities in appearance, Carlos Leon is not at all related to the USS Cole attacker Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Period.