WCW Home News Recent News 7/31/19 Following up on Navy SEAL War Crimes Trial
7/31/19 Following up on Navy SEAL War Crimes Trial PDF Print E-mail

Three articles related to the case: the first on Trump stripping medals from the prosecutors, the second two on Republican congressman who says he probably killed hundreds of civilians.

Navy SEAL prosecutors to be stripped of achievement medals

By Jill Colvin

From AP | Original Article


In this July 2, 2019, file photo, Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves a military court on Naval Base San Diego in San Diego. President Donald Trump says he has directed the secretary of the Navy and chief of naval operations to “immediately withdraw and rescind” the Navy Achievement Medal from prosecutors who argued the case against Gallagher, a decorated Navy SEAL. Military jurors earlier this month acquitted Gallagher in the death of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)


WASHINGTON (AP) 7/31/19 — Navy officials said Wednesday they are pulling achievement medals from prosecutors who argued the case against a decorated Navy SEAL who was acquitted in the death of a wounded Islamic State captive after President Donald Trump intervened.

Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that he had directed the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations to “immediately withdraw and rescind” the Navy Achievement Medal from prosecutors who argued the case against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted by military jurors earlier this month.

“The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal,” Trump complained, adding, “I am very happy for Eddie Gallagher and his family!”

Navy spokesman Cdr. Jereal Dorsey said that on Wednesday, after Trump’s tweet, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer rescinded the awards. As secretary, he has that authority, Dorsey said.

The move appeared to be a highly unusual presidential intervention in a case Trump had personally championed and drew immediate condemnation. Former Pentagon spokesman David Lapan, a retired Marine colonel, said the move represented the “further politicization of our military” and was a “ludicrous” move “in the face of so many more important and pressing personnel issues.”

The military publication Task & Purpose first reported that, after Gallagher was found not guilty, members of the U.S. government team that prosecuted him were awarded medals for their “superb results” and “expert litigation.”

Ten awards were given out earlier in July to members of the team and people associated with the case by the Navy’s Region Southwest Legal Service Office in San Diego, seven Navy achievement medals and three letters of accommodations.

Trump in his tweets complained that the prosecutors not only lost their case, but also “had difficulty with respect...to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion.”

Gallagher’s trial came after a judge removed the lead prosecutor over a bungled effort that used software to track emails sent to defense lawyers in order to find the source of leaks to the media.

The judge determined the effort violated Gallagher’s constitutional rights and, before the case went to trial, reduced the maximum possible punishment for the murder charge from life in prison without parole to the possibility of parole.

Defense lawyers had argued that Gallagher was framed by junior disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief. The prosecution said Gallagher was incriminated by his own text messages and photos, including one of him holding the dead militant up by the hair and clutching a knife in his other hand. Several SEALs testified that Gallagher stabbed the militant, including two who said they saw Gallagher plunge the knife into his neck.

In the end, the jury of five Marines and two sailors — all war zone veterans — acquitted Gallagher of murder, attempted murder and other charges in the killing of the Islamic State captive and shootings of civilians in Iraq in 2017 — dealing a major blow to one of the Navy’s most high-profile war crimes cases.

He was convicted of a single count of posing with a human casualty and given the maximum sentence of four months’ confinement for the offense.

Gallagher will serve no jail time because he spent nearly nine months in pre-trial custody. The jury also called for his rank to be reduced, hurting his benefits just as the 19-year veteran prepares to retire.

His lawyers say they will fight the sentencing.

Republican congressman shrugs off war crimes, says he probably killed hundreds of civilians

By Zack Ford

From ThinkProgress | Original Article

6/2/19 - Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) admitted at a town hall last week that as a Marine, he’d taken selfies with dead enemy combatants. He took those comments even further in a recent podcast interview, during which he said he likely killed hundreds of civilians and admitted that he doesn’t care if a Navy SEAL committed a war crime by murdering an ISIS prisoner.

Hunter spoke to the podcast Zero Blog Thirty in an episode that originally came out Tuesday and garnered widespread attention over the weekend. The hosts asked Hunter specifically about the case against Eddie Gallagher, who faces charges of numerous war crimes, but most notably stabbing a wounded teenage ISIS fighter in the neck and sharing photos of himself with the dead boy’s head.

Hunter has publicly advocated for President Donald Trump to pardon Gallagher, which the president is reportedly mulling. As Hunter explained on the podcast, his own rationale is that he doesn’t actually care if a war crime was committed.

Hunter insisted he doesn’t believe the case against Gallagher, but that it doesn’t matter to him if it’s true. “I frankly don’t care if he was killed,” Gallagher said of the ISIS fighter. “I just don’t care.”

In the end, even if everything that the prosecutors said about the one ISIS fighter that escaped the bombing of this building — and that the Iraqis then shot, and then interrogated, then turned him over to the SEALS — I frankly don’t care if he was killed. I just don’t care, and that’s my personal point of view, and as a Congressman that’s my prerogative to help a guy out like that. Even if everything that the prosecutors say is true in this case, then Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break I think.

When host Kate Mannion noted that the stabbing might even violate the Geneva Convention, Hunter insisted, “Yeah, but ISIS is not part of — and I think this guy was going to die anyway, because I’ve seen the video.” When pressed on whether he still wouldn’t care if Gallagher’s actions constituted a war crime, Hunter said, “I would still support him, yeah.”


California congressman defends war crimes suspect

By Biana Quilantan

From Politico | Original Article


“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too: Taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Rep. Duncan Hunter said. | Gregory Bull/AP File Photo

5/26/19 - Rep. Duncan Hunter, an advocate for pardoning a Navy SEAL who has been charged with war crimes, said he is guilty of doing one of the things Eddie Gallagher is accused of during his own time in the Marines.

“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too: Taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” the California Republican said at a border-issues forum in Ramona, Calif., according to the Times of San Diego.

Gallagher, a special operations chief, faces homicide charges after being accused of committing crimes in Iraq in 2017; he is set to stand trial in June. In one case, he texted a picture of a dead 15-year-old ISIS fighter to another SEAL writing, “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”

Hunter told the forum he had taken pictures “just like that" when he was overseas but didn’t share them.

“But a lot of my peers … have done the exact same thing,” he added.

Hunter’s comment comes after a New York Times report that said President Donald Trump may be preparing to pardon several service members — including those accused or convicted of murder or attempted murder — on or around Memorial Day. The Trump administration made expedited requests for pardon paperwork — including one for Gallagher, The New York Times reported.

Hunter said he “absolutely” would love to see Trump pardon Gallagher, the San Diego publication reported. In a USA Today column, Hunter wrote: "Gallagher cannot expect to receive even a semblance of a fair trial. A pardon by Trump is fully warranted."

Hunter, who was first elected in 2008 to succeeded his father in Congress, is a retired Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was reelected in November 2018 while being under indictment on charges of misusing campaign funds.


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