Legal Battle to Save “Baby Doe”

On January 25, 2023, the American Freedom Law Center was retained to represent attorney Richard Mast, who has been representing his brother, a Marine Judge Advocate, Major Joshua Mast, and his wife Stephanie.

This case is about a young Marine assisting an infant child recovered off the battlefield by Army Rangers, during a mission to take out a nest of East Turkistan Islamic Party (ETIP), Al Qaeda foreign fighters in Afghanistan in September 2019.  Two of the foreign fighters were the parents of this little girl.  The father was killed in the fire fight engaging the Rangers; the mother blew herself up with a suicide pack while holding her months-old baby girl.  Miraculously, the baby survived but was seriously injured.

The Afghan forces with the Army Rangers wanted to kill the baby or leave her to die so she would not grow up to be a foreign terrorist living in their country.  The Army Rangers triaged her for evac, and she was treated at the Craig Joint Theatre Hospital (CJTH) at Bagram Air Field for more than 150 days.  In order to get the baby the kind of medical attention and long-term care she needed, then-Captain Mast (now Major Mast) and the Department of Defense moved heaven and earth to ensure the child was safe. With the help of his brother attorney Richard Mast, the Masts started guardianship and then temporary adoption procedures in a Virginia court to provide the baby with the requisite status to be brought to the U.S. with a legal identity. Major (then Captain) Mast’s entire command was fully informed and encouraging of his efforts.

When it appeared these efforts would be successful in 2019, certain State Department (DOS) officials, including Donna Welton, a career foggy bottom bureaucrat, intervened to prevent proper vetting of claimants and stop Afghan government approval of the child’s treatment under her U.S. guardianship.  At the time, the State Department was desperately trying to negotiate a withdrawal agreement unilaterally with the Taliban. The Taliban claimed there were no Al Qaeda present in Afghanistan at that time, and this was a condition of the “peace” deal.

As we have come to learn, the DOS and the DOD actually were negotiating and planning as if the U.S. could leave and the Taliban would work with their Afghan enemies (the people and government of Afghanistan that had been allied with the U.S.) to actually implement a “peaceful transition.”

We know how that worked out.  But, as part of this U.S. negotiating ploy, this baby became fodder for the Taliban negotiations.  The DOS insisted she be turned over and “reunited” with “family,” without a DNA test, contrary to DOD policy for months.  The “family” it turns out, is only “family” because the child’s “half uncle” claims to be so, and is Taliban affiliated. Afghan government officials have confirmed this “family” provided multiple different names for the child and “mother.”

The result, the baby was removed from DOD control and handed over to an “uncle” . . . no DNA test, no jihad vetting, nothing.  This “uncle” then dished the baby off to his son’s intended young child bride.

The baby continued to need serious medical attention as Afghanistan was plunged into the violence of the US “peaceful” evacuation. Major Mast informed the son of the child’s ongoing needs, his legal relationship to her under US law, and requested he send her to the Masts in the US. The son asked permission from the Taliban, which refused. Rather than leaving the son and his wife to face the wrath of the Taliban, Major Mast was able to arrange to get the young couple and the baby out of that violence and to the U.S.  By this time, Major Mast had full adoption rights under Virginia law.  Government social workers turned the baby over to the Masts, after the son matched an entry on the Biometrically Enabled terror Watch List (BEWL) for terrorist activities in 2014, along with another friend from his neighborhood in Afghanistan.

Now come the mega law firm Gitmo Bar, attorneys who love to fill out their “pro bono” time by representing jihadists and attacking our armed forces and Christians, of course.  Major Mast and his wife as a young patriotic Christian family were perfect targets.

Armed with the best legal representation from the biggest international law firms only anti-American ideology can provide, the Afghan couple, now residing safely in Texas at taxpayer expense due to Major Mast’s heroic efforts, including a helicopter-borne Special Operations mission to get them evacuated, have brought multiple lawsuits in Virginia state courts and in federal court.

Unlike some of their previous lawsuits, the federal lawsuit claims they call their child their “daughter” and that they were “parents.” The federal lawsuit in the Western District of Virginia claims everything from kidnapping to interference with parental rights (notwithstanding the utter failure to establish any paternal or even familial connection to this baby).  The Gitmo Bar lawyers have sued everyone involved including our client, Richard Mast, for simply representing his brother in the guardianship and adoption proceedings, and assisting in the effort to get other minor children and this couple rescued by US Special Forces on the basis of the child’s military DOD identification as the child of Major Mast.

The young couple have publicly expressed a desire to return to Afghanistan with their own child, who was born in America as a result of Major Mast’s efforts, and “Baby Doe.”  Baby Doe, of course, is now more than three years old and the daughter of Major Mast and his wife along with their other children. The child has been raised by Americans now for most of her life, and has been in the Masts’ physical custody 18 months.

The U.S. government and the Gitmo lawyers representing the plaintiffs have joined hands to cover-up the facts so that they can send this little girl back to the Taliban to be abused or worse. For them, it is a matter of pride to claim victory over an act of Christian mercy and love.

AFLC is in this fight to the end.  For those interested, here is a link to a CBS report of the case that was fairly balanced.  As expected, the Gitmo Bar arranged earlier for the AP and the NY Times to produce big splash news stories of the “Christian Marine who kidnapped a poor Muslim baby from her parents’ arms,” all 100% fabrication.