Don Mann has taken his experience as a Navy SEAL to create a hot new book sharing survival secrets with others.
Mann, at left, discussed his book and its utility Aug. 30 on MTL Washington Update, the radio show I co-host with Scott Draughon beginning at noon (EDT) each Thursday. The show begans with host commentaries on the current Republican convention, with Mann scheduled at 32 minutes past the hour.
Mann's book is: The U.S. Navy Seal Survival Handbook: Learn the Survival Techniques and Strategies of America's Elite Warriors. The book, co-authored by Ralph Pezzullo, is already into its second printing by Skyhorse Publishing the same month as its the first printing.
He spoke on why the book is resonating so well. Is it practical tips for always-popular outdoor recreation? Or is there an element of fear that we may need instruction to survive in a troubled world?
On the show, we probed his views also on a separate SEAL book making news by describing the killing of Osama bin Laden. Mann has criticized the book, authored by another SEAL under the pseudonym "Mark Owen," because the author failed to submit the book to authorities for clearance.
That book is entitled, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, scheduled to go on sale Sept. 4. Mann posted a Time column about the controversy on his "Frogman" website: Bin Laden Raid SEAL Author Faces Double Jeopardy.
It quotes Mann as saying that SEALs sign “an agreement stating that we will not release classified info. And if we do elect to write a book or send anything out to the public that it has to be reviewed by a publication review board.” Mann continues, “It is a lifelong commitment.” The anonymous author has recently been identified as Matt Bissonnette, 36, who retired from the Navy last summer, after a career that saw him earn five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Further details are below.
Mann's interview is scheduled at 32 minutes past the hour. As previously announced, the first interview is with Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department attorney and whistleblower now representing several of the country's best-known whistleblowers in the national security field.
Mann's career included stints as: corpsman; SEAL Special Operations technician; and SEAL (Survival, Evade, Resistance, and Escape) instructor, to name a few. He has been profiled in the pages of Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Fitness, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. His book Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Complete with 150 color photographs, the new guide includes life-saving information on: Making weapons and tools; Finding water; Hunting wildlife for food; Making shelters; Signaling; Sea survival. Comments about his new book include:
“While Don describes skills that are critical to survival, what you really gain from reading this handbook is a sense of the attitude required to be successful in the harsh environments in which America’s secret warriors thrive.”
—John Wright, US Air Force and DoD SERE Trainer.
The publisher says: The Navy SEALS have always been American heroes, but ever since the death of Osama bin Laden, new attention has been cast their way. Don Mann is a Navy SEAL willing to talk about the heroes he’s fought with and the special skills developed by the SEALS. As for practical information in the book, here is a sample:
Would you know how to protect yourself from freezing to death in the mountains? Treat a bite from a poisonous snake? How about if you were trapped in a desert—would you know which plants contained water? Life can change in an instant. We live in a dangerous world, surrounded by uncertainty. The U.S. Navy SEALS are a special breed of warrior, physically and mentally equipped to handle unforeseen circumstances in the harshest environments without food and water. Now every American has access to the secrets of these heroes, the knowledge that can—and will—decide between life and death.
Bloomberg Business Week, Former SEAL’s Book Reveals Classified Information: Pentagon, John Walcott, Sept. 4, 2012. The Pentagon’s chief spokesman said for the first time that a book written by a former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden contained classified information. "Sensitive and classified information is contained in the book,” spokesman George Little said today at a Pentagon news conference. The comment escalates a conflict between the Pentagon and the author who wrote “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.” Little has previously said the author, who wrote under the pen-name “Mark Owen,” violated a non-disclosure agreement he signed as a Navy SEAL by not submitting the book for pre-publication review. The author’s attorney, Robert Luskin, has said a 2007 agreement “invites but by no means requires” pre-publication review. Luskin didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mailed requests for comment today. The book was scheduled for publication today by Dutton, a unit of Penguin Group USA. The author, first identified by Fox News, is Matt Bissonnette, 36, of La Mirada, California, who was a member of the elite counterterrorism SEAL Team Six that killed bin Laden. In the book, Bissonnette says he took steps to ensure that he wouldn’t be inadvertently releasing classified information and that he hired a former special-operations attorney to review the manuscript.
About Don Mann's SEAL Books
Don Mann (CWO3, USN) has for the last thirty years been associated with the Navy SEALS either as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, or advanced training officer; and more recently program director preparing civilians to go to BUD/s (SEAL Training). Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team 6. Since his retirement, he has deployed to the Middle East on numerous occasions.
Business Insider, Matt Bissonnette SEAL Team 6: Military Special Operators Weigh In, Geoffrey Ingersoll, Aug. 24, 2012. When Osama bin Laden was assassinated, the entire world was fascinated by the men who had completed the seemingly impossible mission that had dogged the U.S. government for over a decade. SEAL Team 6 became synonymous with heroism, duty, and justice. Only a handful of the elite men who make up the SEALs, the US Navy’s best and bravest, survive the legendary and grueling selection process that leads to Team 6, a group so classified it technically does not even exist. There are no better warriors on Earth. Don Mann knows what it takes to be a brother of this ultra-selective fraternity. As a member of Seal Team Six for over eight years and a SEAL for over 17 years, he worked in countless covert operations, operating from land, sea, and air, and facing shootings, decapitations, and stabbings. He was captured by the enemy and lived to tell the tale, and he participated in highly classified missions all over the globe, including Somalia, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. As a current training coordinator for several civilian SEAL training programs, and as a former Training Officer of SEAL Team 6, he was directly responsible for shaping the bodies and minds of SEALs who carried out the assassination of Osama bin Laden. But to become a SEAL, Mann had to overcome his own troubled childhood and push his body to its breaking point-and beyond. INSIDE SEAL TEAM 6 is a high octane narrative of physical and mental toughness, giving unprecedented insight to the inner workings of the training and secret missions of the world’s most respected and feared combat unit.
Other Reviews: Inside SEAL Team Six: A Navy Seal at War and True Stories of American Heroism. A New York Times Extended eBook Bestseller and a Washington Post Political Bestseller
'Mark Owen' SEAL Book
Reuters, 'No Easy Day': Pentagon Threatens Legal Action Over Bin Laden Book, Phil Stewart, Aug. 30, 2012. The Pentagon warned on Thursday in a letter to a former U.S. Navy SEAL that he was in material breach of non-disclosure agreements with his book detailing his first-hand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, also said the Pentagon was considering legal action against the SEAL and all those "acting in concert" with him. "In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed," the letter by Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's top lawyer, said. "Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements."
Washington Post, Ex-SEAL’s book says Osama bin Laden made no attempt to defend himself in raid, Joby Warrick, Aug. 29, 2012. Osama bin Laden hid in his bedroom for at least 15 minutes as Navy SEALs battled their way through his Pakistani compound, making no attempt to arm himself before a U.S. commando shot him as he peeked from his doorway, according to the first published account by a participant in the now-famous raid on May 2, 2011. The account, in a book by one of the SEAL team leaders, sheds new light on the al-Qaeda chief’s final moments. In the account, bin Laden appears neither to surrender nor to directly challenge the Special Forces troops who killed his son and two associates while working their way to his third-floor apartment. A White House narrative of the raid had acknowledged that bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed but suggested that he posed a threat to the U.S. commandos.
Washington Post, Book review: ‘No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden,’ Peter Bergen, Aug. 29, 2012. Even before the book went on sale, the announcement by the publisher Dutton that the pseudonymous Mark Owen, one of the SEALs on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, would be publishing an account of his role in the raid quickly propelled “No Easy Day” to the No. 1 slot on Amazon, displacing “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It was inevitable that one of the men on the bin Laden mission would eventually write a book about it. Owen’s account of the raid fits almost exactly with my own understanding of the operation, based on being the only outside observer allowed inside the bin Laden compound before it was demolished and interviewing dozens of American officials familiar with the details of the operation, as well as interviews with Pakistani officials who investigated the aftermath of the raid. The only surprising thing, perhaps, given the code of silence that exists among the men of SEAL Team 6 — a small, tightknit covert unit that prides itself on being the “quiet professionals” — is how soon this tell-all book was published. After all, it’s been only a little over a year since bin Laden’s body was dumped from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson as it cruised off the coast of Pakistan.
Time, Bin Laden Raid SEAL Author Faces Double Jeopardy, Mark Thompson, August 27, 2012. If Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper can defy British royalty by publishing pictures of a naked Prince Harry, why should we be surprised when a Navy SEAL bares all in an upcoming book on the raid last year that killed Osama bin Laden? Well, for starters, the Brits are ruled by tradition and custom, the SEALs by U.S. law. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, is slated to go on sale Sept. 11. The author is listed as “Mark Owen,” the pen name of Matt Bissonnette, 36. He retired from the Navy last summer, after a career that saw him earn five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
Inside Edition, Ex-Navy SEAL’s Book About Bin Laden Raid Ignites Controversy, August 23, 2012. Details about the daring raid by U.S. Navy SEALS that killed Osama bin Laden have always been top secret. Now, an upcoming new book, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden is raising a firestorm of controversy. The book’s author is “Mark Owen,” the pseudonym for a former member of SEAL Team Six commando who the publisher said, “Was one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader’s hideout and was present at his death.” The book is being released next month, on the anniversary of September 11. The true identity of the SEAL has been shrouded in secrecy, until now. He’s just been identified by FoxNews.com as Matt Bissonnette and was reportedly one of the SEAL Team Six leaders of the Bin Laden mission. Here’s what INSIDE EDITION has learned about Bissonnette: he’s 36 years old and he is from Alaska. He retired from the Navy SEALS with the rank of Chief and completed 13 combat missions following the September 11th attacks.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
Wayne Madsen, Retaliation against Siegelman has roots in Bush '41 crimes, Wayne Madsen Report, Sept. 4, 2012. (Subscription required.) The re-imprisonment of former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman by George W. Bush-appointed U.S. Judge Mark E. Fuller is part of a political retaliation process that has its roots in the Iran-contra scandal, according to a high-level WMR source.
Judicial Watch, JW Obtains Stack of "Overlooked" CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Filmmakers, Tom Fitton, Aug. 31, 2012. As you may recall, in July, the CIA admitted that it had "discovered" a batch of "overlooked" documents responsive to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The stack of records, 4-5 inches high the agency originally estimated, detailed communications between government agencies and Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning director of The Hurt Locker, and her screenwriter, Mark Boal, in preparation for their film Zero Dark Thirty, which details the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. (The film was reportedly scheduled for an October 2012 release, just before the presidential election, but the trailers are running now until the rescheduled release in December.) Here's my take on the headline: According to the records, not only did the Obama administration grant Boal and Bigelow unusual access to agency information in preparation for their film, but the Obama White House was evidently seeking out opportunities to "have high visibility into the UBL [Usama bin Laden] projects."
OpEdNews: Democratic Activist Pam Miles on Justice for Siegelman, Joan Brunwasser, Aug. 29, 2012. Interview: Democratic Activist Pam Miles on Justice for Don Siegelman. Excerpt from Pam Miles, at left: Governor Siegelman and I first worked together in 1988 when he was Alabama Secretary of State and I worked for Better Business Bureau on several consumer issues. I also volunteered on his campaigns through the years as he ran and won Alabama's Attorney General, Lt. Governor and Governor. We've been close friends since 2004 and I knew that what the US Attorney was prosecuting him for wasn't a crime. I believed, at that point in time, in the justice system and could not imagine an innocent man would be found guilty of these manufactured charges. Wow, was I ever wrong! So I took it upon myself to try to find justice through every venue I could think of, starting with sending out the message for everyone on my email listserv and yahoo groups to call Congressman John Conyers and every member of Congress on the Judiciary Committee and ask for an investigation into the governor's case.
Washington Spectator, Political Justice in Alabama: Don Siegelman Goes to Prison, Lou Dubose, Aug. 12, 2012. Last week federal District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to six-and-a-half years in prison. An audit of payroll accounts in Fuller's DA office discovered that in one instance he increased the salary of one employee by $70,000, more than twice the sum the employee earned the previous year. The higher salary would have substantially increased the pension the employee would earn upon retirement from state employment. The audit was overseen by Fuller's replacement, who was appointed by then-Governor Don Siegelman. Fuller complained that the investigation was politically motivated and that Siegelman was behind it. Despite the controversy, Fuller refused to recuse himself from the Siegelman trial. As a federal judge, Fuller held a substantial equity position—$5 million to $25 million—in Doss Aviation, which provided a variety of services (flight training, aviation fuel, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control) to the Navy, Army, and Air Force. In other words, the judge was also a federal contractor, dependent on procurement decisions made in the Pentagon.
Legal Schnauzer, Karl Rove Gets Testy in Tampa -- Plus More Bits and Pieces From the Intersection of Law and Politics, Roger Shuler, Aug. 29, 2012. A federal judge in Mississippi has overturned several convictions in a corruption prosecution that sounds an awful lot like the Don Siegelman case in Alabama. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers threw out convictions against Lee Garner and Ray Shoemaker, who had been convicted on a kickback-bribery scheme involving a medical center in Batesville, Mississippi. The key government witness was a man named David Chandler. Reports Patsy Brumfield, of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: "Thursday, Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. threw out all four guilty verdicts against Garner and two against Shoemaker alleging a conspiracy to profit from beefed-up business for Garner."
New York Times, A Trial on Death Row, Lincoln Caplan, Sept. 1, 2012. An extraordinary trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Connecticut, held at the prison housing the state’s death row. The petitioners are inmates sentenced to death for violent felonies, who are seeking to have their sentences reduced to life without parole on the ground that the death penalty in Connecticut is unconstitutional because it has been randomly imposed on a small group of people. In April, Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty and the fifth in five years. But that law does not apply to those already sentenced. The inmates in this case will be presenting evidence compiled by John Donohue, a Stanford law professor, who studied how capital punishment was imposed in every Connecticut murder case from 1973 (when the state passed a death penalty law) to 2007. His analysis dispelled the erroneous claim that only the “worst of the worst” among criminals are given the death penalty. Instead, he found that the penalty has been applied with “arbitrariness and discrimination” based on race and geography, and that death row inmates are indistinguishable from other violent offenders who escaped capital punishment. The study was commissioned by a court-appointed lawyer for Sedrick Cobb, who was sentenced to death in 1991. Mr. Cobb was allowed to challenge the unfairness involved in Connecticut’s use of the death penalty through this state habeas corpus action, and others on death row joined him as petitioners. An expert for the state has failed repeatedly to undermine the credibility of the study, perhaps because there’s no way to refute such clear evidence of arbitrariness and discrimination.