US Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun: Another Bergdahl-ish desertion story

Unless you live under a rock, you know the name Bowe Bergdahl, and the fact that he was returned to U.S. custody. But have you heard anything about his case recently? I wonder when the Army will be bringing desertion charges against Bergdahl now that he’s back and secure? What is the issue with charges not being preferred? Ask Army Lieutenants Michael Behenna and Clint Lorance about how quickly the Army brought charges against them — when they killed the enemy.

However, there’s another case of desertion about which you might not have heard, this time involving a U.S. Marine. As reported by AP via Stars and Stripes, ” Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun who was declared a deserter nearly 10 years ago after disappearing in Iraq and then returning to the U.S. claiming he had been kidnapped, only to disappear again, is back in U.S. custody, officials said Sunday. Hassoun 34, turned himself in and was being flown Sunday from an undisclosed location in the Middle East to Norfolk, Va. He is to be moved Monday to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to a spokesman, Capt. Eric Flanagan.”

The case of CPL Hassoun is truly perplexing. He was born in Lebanon and is a naturalized American citizen.

AP reports “Hassoun disappeared from his unit in Iraq’s western desert in June 2004. The following month he turned up unharmed in Beirut, Lebanon and blamed his disappearance on Islamic extremist kidnappers. He was returned to Lejeune and was about to face the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing when he disappeared again. “

“Hassoun enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2002 and was trained as a motor vehicle operator. At the time of his disappearance from a Marine camp in Fallujah in western Iraq in June 2004 he was serving as an Arabic translator. That was a particularly difficult year for the Marines in Iraq. Seven days after his June 2004 disappearance, a photo of a blindfolded Hassoun with a sword poised above his head turned up on Al-Jazeera television.

“A group called the National Islamic Resistance/1920 Revolution Brigade claimed to be holding him captive. On July 8, 2004, Hassoun contacted American officials in Beirut, Lebanon, claiming to have been kidnapped. He was returned to the U.S. and eventually to Camp Lejeune. After a Navy investigation, the military charged Hassoun with desertion, loss of government property, theft of a military firearm for allegedly leaving the Fallujah camp with a 9 mm service pistol, and theft of a Humvee.”

“Upon return to U.S. custody, Hassoun said in a public statement that he had been captured by insurgents in Iraq and was still a loyal Marine. “I did not desert my post,” he told reporters. “I was captured and held against my will by anti-coalition forces for 19 days. This was a very difficult and challenging time for me.”

To me, it’s quite peculiar that Hassoun was not taken as part of a combat operation but rather that he inappropriately “procured” a military vehicle and departed his assigned duty base — with a military firearm. And consider this, why would an Islamic terrorist organization take a U.S. Marine captive, one with a seemingly Arabic background and name, and not execute him? As Spock would say, “fascinating.”

But if innocent, then why did CPL Hassoun decide to flee?

AP reports that “after his return to Lejeune, Hassoun wasn’t held in confinement because charges hadn’t been brought against him. He was considered non-deployable until the case was resolved, but he was allowed to make personal trips. A January 2005 hearing on the matter was canceled when Hassoun failed to return to Camp Lejeune from his Utah visit. His commanders then officially classified him as a deserter, authorizing civilian police to apprehend him.”

A short time later, AP reports that Hassoun was placed on a Navy list of “most wanted” fugitives. AP says, “a mug shot of him appeared on a Navy criminal justice Web site, which claimed the missing corporal used the alias “Jafar.” In a February 2005 interview with the Associated Press in Salt Lake City, Hassoun’s brother, Mohamad, said Wassef Ali Hassoun was a victim of anti-Muslim bias in the U.S. military. The Marine Corps denied this.”

So, the question is, does U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun believe there is now a favorable political climate and that’s why he voluntarily turned himself in? Does he believe undue command influence will preclude the original charges from being preferred against him?

The cases of Army PFC Bowe Bergdahl and Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun are very clear and distinct. These seem to be the only two combat troops who somehow found a way to not be on their assigned base of operations and duty, winding up in the hands of the enemy — but yet were unharmed. They got some ‘splaining to do, Lucy!

41 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that Bergdahl converted and Hassoun was born in Lebanon, is not suppose to sway our opinion about their guilt or innocence, because they both are muslims. Like barry, We are suppose to pretend that barry, bergdahl and hassoun are americans at face value. Like Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. We are suppose to believe all these four have the best intentions for everyone in the US.
    For me, there is no such thing as a coincidence. There are too many parallels between all four people. There are all muslim, there are too many unkowns, disappearances and none of their stories make any sense. There is no way to follow any of their trails of events.
    If it looks like a pig, it sounds like a pig, it smells like a pig. Genberally you can easily say the animal is indeed a pig.
    These four people, have nefarious circumstances and should be suspect. Innocence before proven guilty? As it should be, but for my money, I wouldn’t bet the farm

  2. If I understand islam correctly, then one cannot be a “good muslim” and also be either a US citizen OR join the US military !…For it is in conflict with islam if a muslim gives, states, or swears their allegiance to ANYTHING/ANYONE except allah.
    It is strictly forbidden.
    That cancels out the swearing in that new citizens of the USA go through and also cancels out the Oath taken when joining the US military.
    Soooo, where do this soldier’s interests Truly lie ?.
    I smell a big rat.

  3. As a visitor of Fort Stanwix in Rome, NY, I was shocked to find out how many of the young soldiers were shot for desertion during the Revolutionary War! I also understand the need for military discipline and hope some happy medium can be achieved!

    • Desertion in the face of the enemy especially can result in members of their own unit shooting their worthless asses on the spot if its seen. You need to grow up and learn something about the military and just how serious this is viewed and WHY. Its not the same as walking off the job at McDonalds. Failing to do your job in combat gets people killed.

      • Go find previous post from mr rest on this topic…one he complains that obama left them behind…next he is calling for his impeachment for bringing him home….HYPOCRISY at its BEST!

      • Namvet, that Marine was arrested for allegedly committing a crime in a sovereign nation. Being a Marine does not exempt one from obeying the laws of the country they visit.

      • Allegedly is a key word. According to his mom, and his friend who served with him, the guy has some TBI from an IED plus PTSD. He has claimed he got on some obscure road, made a wrong turn out of confusion. He told the cops in Mexico he had guns for hunting. This man is in a Mexican prison type cell, and has been treated poorly. Photos have shown how easy it would be for anyone to get lost where he became confused. The prez did wonders for Bergdahl, who ALLEGEDLY deserted his unit, but look at hisfamily and the guy had talked about the Taliban, I tend to believe the guys in his platoon, more than Bergdahl. The news make Bergdahl out to be a hero( which he is not.) No man left behind Obama said. Double standard?

      • He was not on some obscure road: he crossed at the San Ysidro crossing, which is well marked and one of the busiest crossings, with many signs warning that weapons are illegal in Mexico. If his PTSD is as severe as you claim, perhaps he should not be possessing weapons or driving a car.

        While PTSD is not an excuse for committing a crime, it could excuse inadvertent conduct, as he is claiming here. Nonetheless, that is what the criminal process is designed to determine. He has is still awaiting trial.

        He has been visited by a representatives from the US State Dept. and the DoD, as is protocol under long standing international treaty. This is to ensure that his rights are being protected and he is not being mistreated. Being treated “poorly” does not mean it is arising to the level of a human rights violation.

        The courts here and in Mexico are separate from the executive branch, thus are not under the orders of the president. Thus, all the politicking by Obama likely would not result in his release.

        I have not seen any news articles that made Bergdahl out to be a hero.

        “No man left behind” applies to the battlefield – NOT to civilian criminal courts. Many soldiers have been arrested in other countries and have had to deal with their cases on their own. Why should an exception be made for this guy?
        The Army Chief of Staff, among many others, supported efforts to repatriate Begdahl.

      • Very informative, I’m still concerned about the TBI. Neither of us know his full condition. No benefit of the doubt? The jury is still out about bergdahl. I know a few guys very wellwho have PTSD and yet are OK with weapons. The guy who posted below your response to me ( mike112) says try him convict him, hang him. Intelligence and fairness for sure.

      • I know nothing about his medical condition. In many publicized cases where mental condition, particularly PTSD, is at issue, the criminal conduct is clearly wrong (rape, murder, etc.), versus here, where the conduct alleged was legal here, but illegal in Mexico. If he were ignorant of the laws against possession of weapons in Mexico, it would not excuse his conduct, but could mitigate his conduct.

        He is certainly entitled to the benefit of the doubt. He has that from me and, it appears, from the Mexican legal system. I have no major opinion on his guilt. It is reasonably plausible that he is either guilty (that he entered Mexico, knowing he had the weapons) or that he is not guilty (that he entered Mexico with the weapons, unintentionally).

        I do not claim that PTSD makes someone incapable of carrying weapons or driving a car – only that if severe enough and if it manifests in violent or self-destructive behavior, it MIGHT be so. Each case is different. I know many with PTSD who are quite safe with weapons. I only argued that POSSIBLY if he were so disoriented, he might not be safe with either. Again, I do not know the details of his medical condition and do not presume to say he is not safe with weapons.

        My opinion on Bergdahl is still open, though I suspect he is guilty of some degree of misconduct. I leave it to the Army to make a reasoned decision on whether to prosecute.

        I agree about Mikeb112, though I think he was referring to Hassoun.

      • After I replied, I thought yes, Mike was thinking of the other Marine. I appreciate your thoughts and glad to have decent discussions. Thanks James.

    • You can’t even come up with your own material, you have copied what I have said to you. Wow not only are you a hypocrite, your a plagiarizing sob

  4. Their muslim brother will help them to escape prosecution & prob giv ali’s parents a parade in the rose garden. Jarine bringin shame on the boys in Motor T.

  5. My guess is that both of them have been turned and have been returned to serve as double agents and Trojan horses that are ticking time bombs waiting to “happen” at the right moment.

  6. After viewing
    an article featuring Wassef Hassoun, I find it relatively familiar that like Bowe
    Bergdahl, he too deserted his post while on active military duty. Both had previously went absent without leave
    (AWOL), deserted and both are Islamic sympathizers. What’s stunning is Michael Sands a media
    liaison person who represented the Hassan family is now working on a television
    movie script entitled “The Deserter” with a retired FBI agent, Bob Hammer. Sands stated “Hollywood is not seeing a
    realistic picture of heroic Marines and military in most films, so the time has
    come to tell the story of these people and the sacrifices they make”. What sacrifice? Both these individuals voluntarily enlisted
    in the military knowing just what was expectant of them, yet they choose to
    endanger others and ignore their patriotic duty to the people of the United
    States. Each committed themselves to
    whatever rigorous military life “They” choose…neither was forced to serve. What’s amazing Obama didn’t get personally
    involved with Hassan like he did with Bergdahl…guess the publicity was too much
    for his ego. Hassoun from what I
    understand was missing for over a decade.
    Makes one think about how Radical Islamic Terrorist may have been able
    to recruit, train then repatriate a member of our armed forces back into active
    military service without the full knowledge of intelligence agencies and the naïve
    military infrastructure, not to mention the liberal minions who, like their
    idol “Obama” refuse to call Radical Islamic Terrorism” for what it truly
    is. As a retired member of our military and a realist,
    it wouldn’t surprise me that both may be covert operatives sent back to our
    homeland to organize sleeper cells to disrupt our nation in whatever way possible.

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