December 27, 2019

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher described by his own unit as evil, toxic and perfectly OK with killing anybody
ANavy SEAL who was championed by President Trump despite posing for a photograph with a prisoner's corpse and being tried for war crimes was described as "evil", "toxic" and "perfectly OK with killing anybody" by members of his own unit. Soldiers in Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher's unit broke down in tears as they gave evidence to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service about what they had witnessed, video footage obtained by the New York Times shows. Mr Gallagher was accused of stabbing a captured teenage Islamic State fighter to death and shooting civilians at random while serving in Iraq, one of whom was a young girl. Mr Gallagher's unit testified that he stabbed an Isil fighter in the neck with his hunting knife before treating the body as if it were a trophy and posing for a photograph. The former unit chief was acquitted of the most serious charges, including murder, after a key witness reversed his testimony. Mr Gallagher was convicted only of the charge of posing with the prisoner's corpse. He has denied any wrongdoing. He gained notoriety after he was demoted by the Navy following his trial but was reinstated by Mr Trump. Richard Spencer, a former Navy secretary who was sacked by the president for his handling of the Gallagher case, called Mr Trump's intervention "shocking and unprecedented". Mr Trump described the soldier as one of America's "great fighters" and invited him to Mar-a-Lago Credit: LEAH MILLER/REUTERS In the video of evidence to the NCIS, Special Operator Craig Miller described Mr Gallagher as "freaking evil", while Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens described their platoon chief as "toxic". Mr Gallagher was characterised by another soldier as being "perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving". Mr Miller, who has since been promoted to chief, told investigators that the killing of the prisoner was "the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life". Mr Gallagher and his wife were recently invited to Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The president has described the soldier as one of America's "great fighters". In a statement, Mr Gallagher said that his reaction to the videos was "surprise and disgust that they would make up blatant lies about me. He said: "But I quickly realised that they were scared that the truth would come out of how cowardly they acted on deployment. "I felt sorry for them that they thought it necessary to smear my name, but they never realised what the consequences of their lies would be. As upset as I was, the videos also gave me confidence because I knew that their lies would never hold up under real questioning and the jury would see through it. Their lies and NCIS's refusal to ask hard questions or corroborate their stories strengthened my resolve to go to trial and clear my name," he said.
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