Entertainment

US Navy SEAL Convicted Of A War Crime For Taking A Selfie With The Head Of A Teenager He Stabbed To Death Gets A Clothing Line

In September of 2018, a US Navy SEALS Special Warfare Officer came into the national media spotlight when he was charged with ten offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Edward Gallagher, who—after months of legal gymnastics—continues to hold the rank of Chief Petty Officer, was accused of stabbing to death an injured and sedated teenage prisoner of war who had been fighting for the Islamic State.

But Gallagher didn’t just commit an unjustifiable murder (which, given the context, was also a war crime)—Gallagher then took a photo of himself holding the corpse’s head by the hair, which he later sent around to his friends. In addition to this charge, Gallagher was accused of randomly killing two Iraqi civilians: a young girl walking with her friends, and an unarmed elderly man. And when fellow Navy SEALS reported Gallagher’s aggressive sniper behavior, they were often met with threats and intimidation.

Although Gallagher was respected among SEAL teams for his leadership, SEALS who served under him during his first combat platoon in 2017 in Mosul, Iraq, reported that he had become obsessed with getting in firefights, made strange and treacherous tactical decisions, and killed people in a way that did not align with military protocol.

In video interviews with investigators, first made public by The New York Times, numerous SEALS described Gallagher as dangerous, becoming deeply emotional while sharing their experiences under his command.

Credit: Facebook

“The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator Miller told investigators. “The guy was toxic,” Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. “You could tell he was perfectly okay with killing anybody that was moving,” said Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon.

In these interviews, these SEALS not only had to relive disturbing events—but they had to break a potent unwritten code of silence within the SEALS’ elite social paradigm. Their willingness to do so serves as a testament to the intensity of what they observed while they were deployed under Gallagher’s leadership.

After being acquitted on nine of the original ten charges, Gallagher was ultimately found guilty of posing for a photo with the teenager’s body and was later sentenced to demotion and a maximum of four months confinement. But President Trump ordered Gallagher’s rank to be restored, granting him clemency in spite of the many testimonies from Gallagher’s peers that reaffirmed his questionable ethics.

Presidents are usually hesitant to issue military pardons, as this type motion is often fraught with controversy and grave sensitivity. And when they do grant leniency, it is usually for non-violent crimes. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all granted military pardons—but they waited several years to do so. Donald Trump, on the other hand, issued his first pardon to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio in August of 2017 and has issued sixteen federal pardons since. After receiving his pardon in July of 2019, Gallagher retired from the Navy will full honors the following November.

Since his retirement from the military and the controversial trial that preceded it, Gallagher has shifted his focus in a new entrepreneurial direction: he has started his own lifestyle brand in collaboration with the veteran-owned and -operated clothing brand Nine Line Apparel.

Described as a “coastal lifestyle brand with an edge,” Gallagher’s line—called Salty Frog Gear—is geared toward male outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy drinking, fishing, and spending time on the shooting range. With T-shirts slogans like “Stay Salty” and “Unleash the Tempest,” Salty Frog Gear embodies a certain macho sensibility, something Gallagher seems to be channeling into his new career as an “influencer.”

Using his contentious past as fuel for his growing social media presence, Gallagher is exploring more than just the world of outdoor apparel—according to The New York Times, he and his wife have also ventured into the realm of dangerously sassy clothing, creating an online shop with T-shirts that liken the Navy (and the SEALS that testified against Gallagher in court) to “mean girls.” He promotes several right-wing veteran groups that promote a certain vehement nationalism, including We Kill Bad Dudes, the company that made the knife Gallagher was accused of using to kill the teenage captive. But beyond the world of clothing and gear, Gallagher has also used Instagram as a platform to advocate for a slew of other products, from veteran-owned coffee beans to nutritional supplements.

Regarding his collaboration with these different brands and companies, Gallagher wrote: “I was afforded the opportunity to work with both Nine Line Apparel and Black Rifle Coffee Company to help promote our collaborative line with Nine Line, ‘Salty Frog Gear.’ These two veteran-owned companies set the bar for brotherhood and showing the country it’s not just a statement but a way of life.”

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

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Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is once again touting what he sees as the benefits of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The Vermont senator first made comments praising parts of Castro’s Cuba in a 1985 interview. Now, 15 years later, Sen. Sanders is standing behind his idea that not everything is bad in Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview.

Senator Bernie Sanders is facing backlash from critics after his 60 Minutes interview because of his comments on Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In the 1980s, Sen. Sanders was caught on camera more than once praising parts of the Castro regime in Cuba. He points to the health care and education systems as parts of the government that works for Cuban people. The comments resurfaced in 2019 and caused a backlash against the senator in the Cuban diaspora, whose pains are still fresh from the overthrow of the government.

Now, in a “60 Minutes” interview, the Vermont senator has doubled down on his comments that some of the Cuban government is good.

Anderson Cooper – “What is Democratic Socialism?”

Bernie Sanders – “When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called Socialism. What Democratic Socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interest of working families.’”

BS – “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But, you know, it’s simply unfair to say that everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

AC – “There were a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”

BS – “That’s right and we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear. I do not think that Kim Jung Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”

The comments have sparked some backlash on social media from Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

Credit: @marcorubio / Twitter

Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has been a vocal opponent of Socialism. He has used the crisis in Venezuela to solidify his point about the dangers of the government system he believes Sen. Sanders wants to start in the U.S. Yet, Sen. Sanders’s point is not that the Castro regime is good. In the “60 Minutes” interview, the senator made it clear that he does not support the Castro regime and the brutality it caused for the Cuban people. However, he does believe there are things we can learn from the Caribbean island about offering health care and education to the population.

One point of contention with the senator’s comments is that the Cuban people didn’t fight back because of the new programs.

Credit: @DebbieforFL / Twitter

The Castro regime is known to have oppressed dissidents and political opponents. Speaking out against the authoritarian regime was not safe. People were jailed, killed, and exiled for standing up to Castro’s rise to power. Families fled the island and settled around the world to escape what they saw as a justifiable threat to their lives and sovereignty.

Some people are sharing personal stories of their families’ treatment under the Castro regime.

Credit: @GiancarloSopo / Twitter

The generational trauma created by the Castro regime is still felt today. Some people used Sen. Sanders’s comments as a chance to tell a fuller story of the government some have praised for their social services.

A clip of President Barack Obama speaking on the same social issues in Cuba is also circulating.

President Obama worked tirelessly to reopen relations between the U.S. and Cuba. He was the first sitting president to visit the island when it was announced that diplomatic ties were reopened between the two countries. Part of being able to open those relations was eliminating the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed Cuban nationals to stay in the U.S. after migrating. This allowed Cubans to be deported back to Cuba, something that hadn’t happened since Cubans first started to flee their homeland. In response, Cubans illegally in the U.S. have been subjected to ICE raids and detention for the first time because of President Donald Trump’s increasing escalation against the immigrant community.

There is a lot of concern from Democratic supporters that the comment could cost the party Florida in the general election if Sen. Sanders is nominated.

Credit: @IvanBrandon / Twitter

The Cuban and Cuban-American population in Florida is a key demographic to win the state in general elections. His comments cherry-picking what is and is not good about the Cuban government is having a resonating effect in Florida. Cuban Democrats and Republicans in the state are untied in rebuking the senator’s comments as glossing over the true victimization and terror millions faced.

READ: Bernie Sanders Praises Fidel Castro And His Revolution In Cuba During Resurfaced Interview From 1985

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

Entertainment

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

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It was a sad and reflective day at the Staples Center today as fans and friends of the late basketball player Kobe Bryant gathered to celebrate his life as well as that of his daughter Gianna Bryant. The memorial held in their honor saw guests speak about their lives, passion for the game of basketball and love for the people they left behind.

Here’s a look at the top most emotional moments from the memorial today.

Christina Aguilera’s “Ave Maria” performance

The six-time Grammy Award-winning singer Christina Aguilera took the stage at Staples to perform “Ave Maria” for Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service.

Shaq reflected on his rivalry with Kobe.

Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant’s long time competitor, opened up about life as his teammate.

“We fought and we bantered back and forth with offhanded remarks, but make no mistakes, and you folks thought we were on bad terms, and when the cameras were turned off we would wink at each other and said, ‘let’s go whip some ass.'”

O’Neil also shared a sweet anecdote about their relationship as teammates. “Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and love with one another. The day Kobe gained my respect was when the guys were complaining, and they said, Kobe’s not passing the ball. I said I will talk to him. I said, Kobe, there’s no “I” in team, and he said, I know, but there’s a “Me” in that m**********r.” Shaq recalled he returned back to his other teammates and said “Just get the rebound, he’s not passing.”26 min ago

Michael Jordan described Kobe’s death saying “a piece of me died.”

Michael Jordan had long been attributed to being Kobe Bryant’s inspiration for his successful basketball careers. Speaking about learning about Bryant’s death, Jordan said “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”

Kobe’s wife Vanessa brought the stadium to tears with her speech.

Though Kobe’s wife Vanessa gave her speech early on during the memorial, her’s was by far the most sentimental and emotional. Speaking about her daughter Giana, Vanessa recalled how she was “very thoughtful and always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri, and i thought she had left to school without saying goodbye. I text and say, ‘No kiss?’ And Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you. You were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’ She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me, and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day. She was daddy’s girl, but I know she loved her mama, and she would always show me and tell me that she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.”

Speaking about her husband Kobe, Vanessa recalled how “A couple weeks before they passed Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together, just the two of us, without our kids, because I am his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities. But I’m thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows. He wanted Natalia to take over his company and he wanted to travel the world together. We talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would have been the coolest grandpa..”