In Our Last Episode….

| August 5, 2019

Members of Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7, pose in front of the body of a dead Islamic State prisoner of war in Iraq in 2017. Only Gallagher was convicted for appearing in the photo. (Navy)

Members of Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7, pose in front of the body of a dead Islamic State prisoner of war in Iraq in 2017. Only Gallagher was convicted for appearing in the photo. (Navy photo)

This business with SEAL Team 7 and SCPO Gallagher seems to have grown legs and appears to be trying to take the bit in its teeth.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/08/02/attorneys-stunned-cnos-seal-court-martial-orders-not-followed/

From the article:  Hours after Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered authorities to dismiss all charges against SEAL Lt. Jacob X. “Jake” Portier, prosecutors told the military judge hearing the case that they couldn’t actually dismiss it.

Prosecutors had accused Portier of helping to cover up alleged war crimes committed by Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher during an Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7, deployment to Iraq in 2017, but Richardson on Thursday ordered the Navy to drop the case in what appeared to be unambiguous language.

“Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson today dismissed all charges in the case of Lt. Jacob Portier,” read the Thursday statement issued by the sea service.

But wait — there’s more!

Navy officials declined comment about that but Portier’s prosecution had been teetering since the case against Gallagher collapsed on July 2, when a military panel of his peers returned a verdict of not guilty on charges that included premeditated murder of an Islamic State prisoner of war and obstruction of justice.

The sole charge that stuck was a specification for appearing in a photo next to the detainee’s dead body, something Gallagher never denied doing. — Article

In addition: charges against SWO1 Corey Scott, the SEAL petty officer who confessed on the witness stand during Gallagher’s trial to killing the prisoner have been dropped, as ordered by CNO.

But wait! There’s more:  The CNO letter also ordered Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bob Burke to investigate the leadership and performance of the service’s Judge Advocate General Corps in the wake of a prosecution plagued by allegations of warrantless spying on defense lawyers and Navy Times; manipulating witness statements to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents; using immunity grants and a bogus “target letter” in a crude attempt to keep pro-Gallagher witnesses from testifying; illegally leaking documents to the media to taint the military jury pool; and then trying to cover it all up when they got caught. – article.

Still confused? Read the entire article. I have read it twice, realized that there was some skulduggery going on with the JAGs, and wondered if there was more motivation than just wrangling a conviction on Gallagher.  Reading it through to the end. RADM Bolivar appears to be hellbent on pounding Gallagher into the ground, and busting him down to PO1 by ignoring the fact that all the charges were dropped except for the minor charge re: the photo with the dead ISIS prisoner – something Gallagher did not deny.

It wasn’t me! I was never there!

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Navy

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Forest Green

Appears that many offices need to be vacated. Stand by for heavy rolls!

5th/77th FA

“…no explanation…refusing…refusing..”

Read, re-read, and then read again. Two words came to mind…dahell & daphuque?!??

“…a reasonably good career…” After Google Fooing her name one has to wonder if that career was fast tracked by checking off certain EOC boxes? One also has to wonder if her wadded up britches towards the SCPO and his team has anything to do with the whole jealousy of the good looking Warriors with the smoking hot lady? Just saying…it happens.

You would think that someone that has risen that high would know that the FIRST rule of Command is to obey the lawful orders of duly appointed Ranking Officers. I’d say that the CNO and the CinC would warrant a Parade Ground Salute and an AYE AYE Sir.

Is this fustercluck an another example of the comments made before, “it may take a generation to unf^ck the services?” ymmv

SEAL TWO

I agree with you completely. I clearly remember many years ago (but who could forget) that after an “issue” had arisen with an operation in which someone died, and an “investigation” was launched, a female O-6 (being questioned as a “witness”) made the statement “I was there when they returned, and they had lots of bullets with them… More bullets than anyone would have really needed…”

MI Ranger

So what is the definition of needs? I believe in the saying “P” is for plenty!
Enough usually meant, all that you can carry, and add 20%. If they are returning with ammunition, than they brought enough. If they came back BLACK, than obviously they needed more!

timactual

“More bullets than anyone would have really needed…”

It is to laugh. I always thought of that as a plus.

My Two Cents

Then there is this headline from today’s article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“Admiral that oversaw Gallagher prosecution implicated in ‘Fat Leonard’ probe, Navy documents indicate”

The link to the article:
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2019-08-05/admiral-that-oversaw-gallagher-prosecution-implicated-in-fat-leonard-probe-navy-documents-indicate

reddevil

The charges against Gallagher were not dropped. He went to a trial by Court Martial and was found guilty of a war crime under Article 134 of the UCMJ- posing for a picture with an enemy corpse. He admits doing it (he sort of had to, the picture is in wide circulation), and even admits that it was wrong.

The sentence for that was a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay.

Portier’s charges were dropped, and the other Corpsman (who essentially confessed to murder in open court) has not been charged.

I don’t see any reason for the RDML to dismiss the sentence.

A Proud Infidel®™️

Some heads really need to roll…

AW1Ed

From the article:

It also ordered Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bob Burke to investigate the leadership and performance of the service’s Judge Advocate General Corps in the wake of a prosecution plagued by allegations of warrantless spying on defense lawyers and Navy Times; manipulating witness statements to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents; using immunity grants and a bogus “target letter” in a crude attempt to keep pro-Gallagher witnesses from testifying; illegally leaking documents to the media to taint the military jury pool; and then trying to cover it all up when they got caught.

Where’s Boomer Sooner when you need him? His plate of crow is getting colder.

https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=82441

But wait there’s more:

Part of the sanctions against the team included booting Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak, the lead prosecutor, for a warrantless surveillance program cooked up with Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents to track emails sent by defense attorneys and Navy Times.

And the spying wasn’t the only allegation of prosecutorial and police misconduct dogging the case.

They were accused of manipulating witness statements to NCIS agents; using immunity grants and a bogus “target letter” in a crude attempt to keep pro-Gallagher witnesses from testifying; illegally leaking documents to the media to taint the military jury pool; and then trying to cover it all up when they got caught.

From Navy Times

reddevil

The target letters were an attempt to find out who was leaking info to the press. Among other people, it somehow made it’s way to Carl Prine, the journalist who wrote this and many other articles critical of the prosecution. In other words, it is very likely that the defense was leaking information to the press through Prine. As far as ‘spying’ we are using that term very loosely these days. The Navy had every right to investigate Gallagher and other members of the platoon- they were accused of felonies, to include murder and various war crimes, as well as obstruction of justice. Surveillance is a proper tool of investigation- as long as it is authorized by the proper authorities, in this case the court. This was not a counter intelligence investigation, it was a criminal investigation. I have no idea if the court authorized this, but it wouldn’t surprise me given the obstruction charges. If they surveilled the defendants communications with their attorneys, that is clearly an abuse of that authority. That said, in today’s world of cyber surveillance, it is virtually impossible to set up safeguards that prevent you from collecting on everyone the actual subject interacts with. Think of it this way: If you were on a stakeout of a suspected drug dealer’s house, you are going to see everyone that comes and goes, to include the mailman. Was the mailman the target of spying? Is the pizza delivery guy a victim of warrantless surveillance because my… Read more »

timactual

If you read the letters the mailman was delivering then yes, it is illegal spying unless you have a warrant to do so.

“… and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Sapper3307

Its a good deer camp photo.

rgr769

That is exactly why the photo is a problem. They may have been hunting some extremely bad hombres, but they weren’t deer hunting. Everyone in that photo and the guy taking it knew or should have known better. If we start using dead enemy fighters as photo props, we aren’t much better than they are with their beheading videos.

SEAL TWO

You are absolutely right. I’ve seen a lot of (otherwise very level-headed) guys do incredibly stupid things in combat zones, and I’ve never understood why (and they couldn’t later explain it to me, either). But, this thing has always happened, and always will. Even during the American Civil War, photographers would use corpses on the battlefields as props to “enhance” the photos and make them more fascinating to the public.

rgr769

If I was the commander I would have given everyone involved a little verbal counseling with the warning that anything similar in the future would result in something in writing that was going in the offender’s personnel file in one form or another.

11B-Mailclerk

War is inherently bestial.

Men at war become bestial.

It has always been so, and as long as it is fought by humans, this stuff happens.

I will skip the long quote about finding oneself on Afghanistan’s plains.

The lack of judgement of taking pictures of stupid stuff….

Issue flip phones, no camera allowed. Require leaving the personal devices back home. Snail-mail stuff. It’s OPSEC, first of all.

It is idiocy to expect war to produce saints, or to expect war to be won by saints. Never happened. Never will.

Thus we should avoid them, eh?

timactual

Taking such photos was also illegal during the Vietnam war, but it was done. I don’t remember hearing of anyone prosecuted for doing it, though.

docduracoat

Are you really going to equate photographing with a dead combatant with beheading journalists and aid workers?
I’m not military, but I see a world of difference.
I an surprised that it is forbidden to take photos with dead enemy soldiers.
I am not surprised that beheading is cruel and unusual

Retired Grunt

Its going to take more than one generation to unscrew the PC and SJW atmospheres in today’s military. IMHO, the only thing the US DoD should be concerned with is improving lethality and winning any and all conflicts.

FC2(SW) Ron

Ex-fucking-zactly Grunt! Spot-fucking-ON!

Just An Old Dog

Still way too many Clintonistas and Obamites infesting the ranks of the military. Hopefully Trump wins a second term so they can all be purged from the ranks and sent packing.

FC2(SW) Ron

“That might not be a sentiment shared by Navy Region Southwest commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, the convening flag officer in Gallagher’s court-martial”.

Tell me EXACTLY what the difference is here between a REAR Admiral and the Chief of Fucking NAVAL OPERATIONS:

Officer of the Deck:Turn the boat to new course heading 090.
Helmsman: Go fuck yourself…. (sir?)

HMCS(FMF) ret

Sounds like the RADM needs to be meeting with the CNO and having a “long talk” about “retirement”.

Anonymous

Nothing like JAG trying to “get” people ’cause they’re butthurt…

Charles

There are some highly technical reasons for refusing to allow a CNO to direct dismissal of “preferred and referred*” charges pending trial by court-martial. *Preferred = Sworn. Referred = found to have merit and sent for trial by court-martial. These include the fact that one act for which SEAL Gallagher was charged (and the one that he admitted — in fact boasted — was true): Posing with the dead body of a prisoner of war. That is not only a violation of the UCMJ, it is a “serious violation” of the [Third] Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. A “serious violation” is a distinction without a difference from the more specific “grave violations” which the signatory nations have pledged to prosecute. Short Form: All signers of the Geneva Conventions have pledged to “suppress” breaches of the Convention, they also pledge to “provide effective penal sanctions” for persons committing “grave breaches” of the conventions. Well, you ask, what is the status of a “treaty” in United States law? Glad you asked. Read Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States that shall be made in pursuance thereof, AND ALL TREATIES MADE, OR WHICH SHALL BE MADE, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land …”. (The ALL CAPS are for emphasis, I’m not shouting but I don’t know how to make the web page underline or bold text.)… Read more »

Retired Grunt

I would almost agree and your logic is sound, if, and I mean if, we were fighting state actors.

FC2(SW) Ron

I tend to agree with the Grunt on the Status of Forces issue. Personally speaking, not that I’m all high and fucking pious, I wouldn’t pose with a stiff. It’s just not me. I’ve been around more than my share after a career in public service and I’m more than happy to go the rest of my life without seeing anymore bodies disfigured and contorted while assuming room temperature.

That being said:

“The Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions both provide qualifying criteria to distinguish civilians from combatants. Although no specific text requires that members of regular armed forces wear uniforms, the proposition that regular armed forces wear uniforms is customarily applied as a rule of law to determine the status of a person.

Therefore, any regular soldier who commits a belligerent act in civilian clothes is no longer a lawful combatant and loses his privileges.

“Unlawful” combatants, therefore, may be either members of the regular forces or members of resistance or guerilla movements who do not fulfill the conditions of lawful combatants”.

The laws recommend we treat them decently and in this case, the photo falls a little short and is more in “bad taste” than an abuse of a corpse. Somalia and the Black Water contractors in Fallujah comes to mind in how the barbarians treat our bodies.

Hondo

Unfortunately, desecration of a corpse – whether that of an “enemy fighter” or a murdered civilian – has long been considered a violation of the UCMJ. For one example, see

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/caaf/96-0160-AF/96-0160-AF-1998-09-29.html

Using an enemy corpse (or any corpse, for that matter) as a “photo opportunity prop” likely qualifies as desecration of a corpse.

FC2(SW) Ron

Respectfully Hondo, I’m not seeing the connection here. Military criminal commits murder/dismemberment vs posing with a body. However, the “photo opportunity prop” you mention does weave a little into that lane.

I’m not a fan of pissing on corpses either but I’d much rather have our enemies afraid of what might happen to them in the afterlife (thinking the Black Jack Pershing “story”) than them engaging our fighters.

11B-Mailclerk

Photos are desecration? Are we going to prosecute the Press?

If not, why?