The Caine Mutiny Comes to Life

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The Washington Post reports today on Rear Adm. Brian Losey, the guy in charge of SEAL teams, who apparently went completely nuts when someone filed an anonymous complaint against him for a minor travel-policy infraction:

The turmoil began in July 2011….Enraged by what he saw as an act of disloyalty, the admiral became determined to find out who had reported him, according to the inspector general reports.

Several staff members testified that Losey drew up a list of suspects and made it known there would be consequences….One witness testified that Losey told his staff to send a message to any malcontents: “If you continue to undermine my authority as a commander, I’m going to bury each one of them. I’m going to come after them, and I’m going to [make] it very unpleasant.”

About the same time, Losey began cracking down on people whom he saw as potentially disloyal, according to the inspector general. He fired an officer who had been on his list of suspects, alleging that he had committed a handful of minor transgressions, such as using the admiral’s auto­pen without permission to sign routine paperwork. He got rid of Jones, his chief of staff, who was stripped of his title and moved into a basement office, and then moved again to an even more remote outpost at a military airfield.

Later, Losey ordered an investigation into whether civilian staff members on his enemies list had committed time­keeping and ­attendance-sheet errors that affected their pay, according to the inspector general reports. At least three staff members faced discipline as a result, although their punishment for the time­keeping irregularities was ultimately overturned. Some staffers also received poor performance reviews, which affected their compensation and careers.

….In the end, it turned out that Losey had the wrong people on his list of suspects. Investigators determined that none of the people he retaliated against had filed the original complaint about his daughter’s plane ticket.

I’m not going to be the first (or even the hundredth) to make this comparison, but this is fiction come to life. It sounds eerily like Captain Queeg’s famous shipwide search for the pantry key in The Caine Mutiny. But Losey is making out better than Queeg did: after a long investigation, he’s being “counseled,” but nothing more. His promotion to two-star admiral is now on the way.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

payment methods

WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate