The New York Times reports that seven Navy SEALs, who witnessed Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher allegedly commit war crimes in Iraq, were told not to speak out by their troop commander in 2018.
The SEALs claimed that Gallagher stabbed and killed an unarmed teenage captive, shot a young girl and old man to death, and fired weapons into crowds of civilians.
The SEALs persisted with their war crimes claims, which forced an investigation.
Gallagher was arrested in September 2018 on more than a dozen charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder. Gallagher’s trial begins on May 28. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Gallagher allegedly photographed SEALs posing with the corpse of the unarmed teen, in what was called a “re-enlistment ceremony.”
Gallagher allegedly texted a photo of the dead teen to another SEAL with a disturbing message: “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”
Dave Philipps, national correspondent for The New York Times, told Democracy Now how the SEALs were stonewalled by the military brass when they did their duty by reporting Gallagher:
According to the documents and what they told investigators, they went to their chain of command and tried for months to get an investigation started.
And they were told, I think—I don’t know what the motivation behind it was, but they were told, “Look, decompress. Don’t worry about this. This could ruin your career. You might want to think about this. This could take down other people.”
And, you know, they were really frustrated that even though they saw something abhorrent, their chain of command seemed unwilling to act.