Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a US Navy SEAL awaiting a court-martial for war crimes charges, was systematically protected by his SEAL superiors for a year, a Navy investigation report covered by the New York Times reveals. Gallagher’s trial begins May 28 for premeditated murder, attempted murder, obstruction of justice and other crimes related to war crimes in Iraq, and there is an ongoing investigation into similar actions in Afghanistan.
The war crimes described in the 439-page report and the subsequent cover-up by Gallagher’s superiors highlight the toleration and promotion of deranged and fascistic elements within the military. The SEALs, which stands for Sea, Air and Land Teams, are the US Navy’s special operations force. They are closely tied to the Central Intelligence Agency, going back to SEAL-CIA operations during the Vietnam War and CIA recruitment from the SEALs today.
The central allegation against Gallagher, who also goes by the nickname “Blade,” is that he murdered a captive Iraqi teenager while deployed to Mosul. SEALs told investigators that on May 4, 2017, Gallagher heard that an Islamic State fighter had been wounded and was in custody. According to the Times, “Chief Gallagher responded over the radio with words to the effect of ‘he’s mine.’”
“A medic was treating the youth on the ground when Chief Gallagher walked up without a word and stabbed the wounded teenager several times in the neck and once in the chest with his hunting knife, killing him, two SEAL witnesses said.”
Gallagher then gathered SEALs for a gruesome reenlistment ceremony over the teenager’s body, complete with an American flag and photos.
That night or the next day, SEALs reported the incident to Gallagher’s immediate superior, a troop chief, as well as Lieutenant Jacob Portier, the platoon commander. Portier has been charged separately for allegedly covering up the stabbing because he lied to his own superior, Lieutenant Commander Robert Breisch, who asked if there was “anything criminal” associated with the reenlistment ceremony.
SEALs also describe Gallagher shooting his sniper rifle “about ten times as often as other snipers,” including shooting a young girl and an unarmed old man (both incidents have two witnesses). A message in a Mosul sniper nest read,