Daily US Times: A US Navy Seal who was tried for war crimes was described by his unit members as ‘toxic’, ‘evil’ and ‘perfectly OK with killing anybody’. Video footage obtained by the New York Times shows it.
The case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher caught national attention when President Trump praised him.
Earlier this year, Gallagher was demoted by the Navy after his trial, but Trump reversed the decision denying Navy’s most senior commanders’ suggestion.
Mr Trump recently hosted Gallagher and his wife at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The President described him as ‘one of the country’s great fighters’.
Gallagher denied any wrongdoing and claimed his disgruntled unit members made false accusations against him to force him out.
What else in the footage?
The footage shows Navy Seals giving evidence to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). NYT reports, the Seals have never been shown publicly before.
Some of the soldiers broke down into tears when they recalled what they had witnessed. The Alpha Platoon Seal Team 7 were visibly nervous too.
One of the Seals, Special Operator Craig Miller, said ‘The guy is freaking evil’.
In a separate interview, Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, described Gallagher as ‘toxic’.
‘You could tell he was perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving’, said another Special Operator First Class Corey Scott.
What was the trial?
Gallagher was accused of war crimes while serving in Iraq. He was accused of stabbing a captured teenage Islamic State fighter to death and randomly shooting civilians, including a young girl.
In a footage from a helmet camera from May 2017 showed, the former unit chief approaching the body of the semi-conscious IS fighter. The camera then shut off but three members of Gallagher’s unit acknowledged that he then stabbed the boy in the neck with his hunting knife, before holding an impromptu ceremony over the body as if it were a trophy.
He also posed over the body, holding the boy’s hair in one hand and his knife in the other.
Talking about the footage, Special Operator Miller told NCIS investigators ‘I was listening to it, and I was just thinking, like, this is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life’.
The Seals told that they wanted to report about his actions, but the chain of command above them took no action. Then they decided to go to the NCIS and Gallagher was arrested months later.
But the Chief was cleared from most of the serious charges in the trial after a key witness suddenly reversed his testimony. He was convicted only lesser charge of posing with the IS prisoner’s dead body.
But Gallagher’s was acquitted of the most serious charges after a trial in which a key witness suddenly reversed his testimony. He was convicted only of the lesser charge of posing with the IS prisoner’s corpse, for what he was demoted. But President Trump intervened and reinstated his rank.
Gallagher was then formally notified by Navy leaders that he would face a disciplinary review which could result in his being stripped of his Trident pin – a gold-coloured insignia that shows he is a member of the Seals unit, But President Trump changed this course as well. He twitted ‘the Navy would NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin’.
The US Navy chief Richard Spencer was fired over his handling of the case.