War Crimer Eddie Gallagher Wonders Who Will Rid Him Of 'Cowards' Who Testified Against Him
Former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, the war crimer who Donald Trump thinks is the greatest American fighting man since General Patton or maybe Lieutenant Calley, launched his own special operation this week against the former members of his platoon who accused him of shooting at Iraqi civilians and murdering a captured teenage ISIS fighter. In a three-minute video posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts Monday, Gallagher called the men "cowards" and identified them with their names and photos. And because he's a swell guy who just wants information to be free, the video also provides the current units and duty status of witnesses who are still on active duty.
Isn't it nice that the age of Donald Trump and social media has made it possible for any rightwing hack with a high profile on Fox News to engage in their own campaign of stochastic terrorism? Just another democratizing effect of technology! Former SEALs told the San Diego Union-Tribune that information "places those men — and the Navy's mission — in jeopardy." Which is what heroes do to their enemies!
Gallagher doesn't actually call for anything terrible to happen to the witnesses -- and one NCIS investigator -- identified in the video. That's the beauty of a public figure just pointing at people and calling them bad -- he never literally incites anything, and if some nut decides the video provides a target list, there's certainly nothing Gallagher could have done about that, now is there?
In the video, which is embedded in the Union-Tribune article, and that's as close as we'll get to it, Gallagher claims,
Even though I went to trial and exposed all the lies that were said about me by certain cowards in my platoon and found not guilty, there are those to this day who refuse to accept that fact [...] The fight to clear my name is not over.
Here's the thing: Gallagher was indeed found not guilty of the murder of the prisoner after one witness, Cory Scott, a medic who'd been given complete immunity for his testimony, said on the stand that it was he, not Gallagher, who had killed the ISIS prisoner. As for "exposing" the other witnesses as liars, Gallagher's defense sure claimed they had colluded to frame Gallagher because they were millennial wimps who couldn't handle tough assignments -- as you'd expect from people who make it into the most elite units in the military. But nah, the defense never proved anyone had lied. Gallagher was acquitted of the murder charges but convicted of posing for a "trophy photo" with the teen's corpse, for which Trump pardoned Gallagher.
The video then gets to the doxxing, with excerpts from the platoon members' videotaped depositions the New York Times published in December, plus the photos and identifying information. He even gives out some funny nicknames, like calling one special operator "Crying Craig Miller." Miller's name -- and those of the others -- had already been public, but the video compiles Gallagher's enemies in one handy list, adding the current duty assignments.
Two former SEALs who had been in the platoon but who hadn't testified in the trial told the Union-Tribune the video publicizes information that's usually kept hushed up for security purposes. Former Petty Officer 1st Class David Shaw said in a phone interview,
Attempting to call attention to (those SEALs') status in the way it's been done does not serve the mission or the interests of the Navy [...] To attempt to out (their) status raises questions about the decision to do so.
Shaw also stood up for his former teammates who testified against Gallagher, calling them "performers of the highest caliber and people of the highest reputations" and noting one had gone on to a top position in Navy Special Warfare, not generally where cowards end up.
A second former SEAL who wanted to remain anonymous (for some reason!) said it was particularly risky, to both SEALs and their families, that the video identified a member of the elite "Development Group," aka SEAL Team Six. That former SEAL
said that because SEALs have been the targets of threats from terror organizations, exposing their names, faces and current units was an egregious breach of norms within the community.
Then again, testifying against a war crimer was seen by some in the military as a violation of an informal code of silence that you never rat on murderers, so ha-ha Herman, it's only fair to expose people who value justice above loyalty to alleged sociopaths in the ranks. Besides, if the "president" gets to identify people who need to be harassed, why shouldn't the Great Man's favorite military hero?
A spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego, Captain Tamara Lawrence, told the paper the Navy has a policy of not identifying SEALs on active duty.
"As a matter of policy we do not identify our special operators," Lawrence said in an email. "We don't identify them by name, or by any other manner, due to the nature of their work, for the protection of their teammates and their families, and to protect on-going and future missions."
As a civilian and a frequent guest on Fox News, of course, Gallagher is not burdened by such quibbles about ethics and security. Besides, the Navy is part of the Deep State that wanted to destroy him for loving America so much.
Gallagher's video seems to be a trailer for some later project, like maybe a movie or book, though Gallagher's lawyers wouldn't comment on it. Maybe he's shopping around a reboot of "The A Team" where the protagonists hunt down and arrange "accidents" for those who wronged them?
Gallagher's lawyer, Tim Parlatore, said the video was a response to the New York Times and its TV program "The Weekly," and said whatever the future project may be, "What's coming is the truth." He also pooh-poohed any stupid worries about the security of the people whose names and photos are in the video, even the active-duty SEALs, because "There's nothing in that video that's not already public."
All Gallagher's doing is naming the cowards he thinks betrayed them. What a bunch of nutters with guns -- or just a funny prank to call in to a police SWAT team -- may choose to do with that information is none of his responsibility.
Social Media civility guru Melania Trump has not yet called on Mr. Gallagher to stop the online bullying, but she may decide that since the witnesses called attention to themselves by testifying against a war crime suspect, they had it coming.
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