HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

 
Trump's war criminal muse

by digby



I mentioned this is passing in my piece
about the war criminal pardons the other day. I had no idea how much influence this psycho has but it is ... problematic:

If the president pardons U.S. servicemen accused and convicted of war crimes, you can thank one of Donald Trump’s favorite cable-news hosts.

Over the weekend, news broke that President Trump is preparing to pardon several U.S. servicemen involved in high-profile cases of gunning down civilians or killing detainees, with the White House having already ordered that the necessary paperwork be drawn up ahead of the coming Memorial Day. The news came roughly two months after Trump publicly intervened in what he called “restrictive” confinement conditions of one of the alleged war criminals.

At the heart of both these moves has been a months-long lobbying campaign by Pete Hegseth, a Fox & Friends co-host and a buddy and informal adviser of the president’s.

Since as early as January, Hegseth has repeatedly pressed the president to support the accused and convicted servicemen. Among those Hegseth—himself an Iraq War veteran and formerly the head of the conservative group Concerned Veterans for America—has advocated for is Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader set to stand trial on May 28 for allegedly shooting civilians, including a school-age girl, and knifing to death a captured ISIS fighter receiving medical treatment in Iraq in 2017.

According to three people with knowledge of the situation, Hegseth had multiple private conversations on the topic with President Trump over the past four-and-a-half months, with Gallagher’s case among those he pushed. The Fox & Friends host repeatedly told Trump that the process had been “very unfair” to Gallagher, two of these sources tell The Daily Beast. Hegseth pushed the president not only to publicly help Gallagher, but since at least March has specifically advised Trump to pardon him and the other men, the sources said.

The lobbying appears to have been persuasive. The president went to bat for Gallagher on Twitter in March. And in recent weeks, Trump has at least once described the way Gallagher has been treated as “total bullshit,” according to a source with direct knowledge of the comment. With the possibility of a pardon to come, Hegseth’s behind-the-scenes work also underscores how heavily the president has relied on Fox News stars not just for support and messaging assistance but for actual counsel on policy.

Hegseth, whom Trump had previously considered for senior posts in his administration, hasn’t been alone in pushing Gallagher’s case to Trump. He’s worked privately with like-minded political figures, such as Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), one of the knowledgeable sources said.

Hunter, a former Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has become one of the most vocal advocates on Capitol Hill for Gallagher and other servicemen accused of war crimes. His Twitter feed is a stream of attempts to turn Gallagher into a conservative hero, along with links to his appearances with Hegseth and other right-wing media personalities to make the case for Gallagher, and photos of his meetings to check up on the Navy SEAL and his family.

Several other lawmakers close to the president have joined along. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a Trump confidant, co-signed a letter to the White House with Hunter in January urging the president to dismiss the charges against the SEAL chief. In March, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) tweeted that he had spoken directly on the issue with Trump and thanked him for moving Gallagher to “less restrictive confinement.”

On May 8, Hunter convened a press conference on Capitol Hill after inviting his colleagues to review what he claimed was “smoking gun” video proof of Gallagher’s innocence. Hunter and fellow lawmakers said the footage—reportedly assembled from helmet cameras belonging to other members of Gallagher’s platoon—showed Gallagher tending to the wounds of a teenage Islamic State fighter. The SEAL chief is facing criminal charges based on allegations from his own men that he knifed that wounded fighter to death, posed with his corpse, and then threatened anyone who complained, in addition to accusations that he would open fire on unarmed civilians.

Gallagher’s attorney told the military news outlet Task & Purpose that a judge allowed him to show the helmet footage to lawmakers, but not to members of the media. Hunter’s office declined to comment for this story.

As of press time, the White House didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Hegseth and Fox News, for their part, did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment either.

Unable to sign his name to a congressional letter, Hegseth has instead used his perch on Fox News to push Gallagher’s case and those of other accused vets. And he’s done it all without appearing to have ever disclosed that he was advising Trump on such matters, according to a Daily Beast review of the footage.

Hegseth and his Fox & Friends colleagues have interviewed the families of Gallagher and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn—who was charged with murdering an Afghan male detainee and burying the body rather than releasing him in 2010—often pleading with Trump to pardon the men. “These guys make tough calls in moments for most people have never been a part of in their life,” Hegseth said to Gallagher’s brother Sean in February, “and then folks in suits in Washington, D.C., they throw paper at them and accuse them of things.”

In April, Hegseth interviewed Don Brown, a defense lawyer for 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who was convicted in 2013 of ordering the murder of two Afghan civilians who his own soldiers said posed no threat. “Mr. President, you have the greatest signature of all presidents who I have ever seen historically,” Brown begged, claiming that, as commander-in-chief, Trump has the power to “disallow” the sentence against his client. “Clint is guilty of nothing except for being a red-blooded American patriot who put his lives on the line for his country.”

In December, Hegseth floated the idea of pardoning Gallagher, saying on-air that “guys like these can be pardoned.”

On Sunday, Hegseth said on Fox & Friends Weekend that he “can’t stand” news outlets referring to the charges against Gallagher as war crimes. “These are men who went into the most dangerous places on earth with a job to defend us and made tough calls on a moment’s notice,” he said. “They’re not war criminals, they’re warriors.” In fact, he has dismissed the soldiers’ alleged crimes as simply having made “tough calls” on at least eight separate occasions this year.

Ultimately, Hegseth said on Sunday, Trump pardoning Lorance, Gallagher, Golsteyn, and others would be “heartening for guys like me and others in the service” who want a president “defending the war fighter.”

War fighter = war criminal.

Those who have talked to Hegseth tell The Daily Beast that he strongly views current rules of engagement as too restrictive, and that that restrictive nature sets U.S. troops up for failure and to be unfairly branded as criminals or monsters in combat zones.

But not every “war fighter” in the service is eager to declare solidarity with the likes of Gallagher or Golsteyn. A former Special Forces soldier familiar with the incident said the rules of engagement are valuable and Golsteyn broke them. “[T]he idea [that] he is a Green Beret hero when he murdered a dude in cold blood and hid the evidence is not what we do,” the soldier said. “He is giving the regiment a bad name… People like him make people mistrust us.”

Another Special Forces soldier who served with the same Fort Bragg-based unit as Golsteyn told The Daily Beast that if prosecutors prove Golsteyn and Gallagher did what they were accused of, they are murderers.

“We have a set of principles,” the Green Beret said. “That is what separates us. Neither one of the guys weren't aware of the consequences of their actions.”

He continued, “Geneva Conventions provide us with ample opportunity to get rid of the enemy. They were well aware their [alleged] actions were illegal… Rules of Engagement isn’t based in philosophy, it’s based on law, which they both knew. The character of the individuals allegedly killed doesn’t change the Rules of Engagement.”

Those concerns haven’t stopped prominent figures in the Trump orbit, chief among them Hegseth, from whispering in the president’s ear about how he should support these men. And it hasn’t stopped the president from reacting favorably to their efforts.

“At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas,” Trump posted to Twitter on December 16.

Fox News is running the country.

.