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21 Jun, 2019 03:31

Medic says he, not Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, killed injured ISIS teen in stunning turnaroud

Medic says he, not Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, killed injured ISIS teen in stunning turnaroud

A high-profile court case against decorated SEAL Eddie Gallagher, accused of killing an ISIS teen fighter and shooting at civilians in Iraq, has taken a sudden twist: the medic witness claimed responsibility for the boy’s death.

The testimony of Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, deployed to Mosul, Iraq with the Navy Seal medical team in 2017, has the potential to turn the premediated murder case against Gallagher upside down.

Taking the stand on Thursday, Scott gave a startling confession: while Chief Gallagher did stab the wounded ISIS prisoner handed over by Iraqi forces to the US at the height of the Mosul battle, the knife blows did not kill him. Scott claimed that it was he who suffocated the prisoner shortly afterwards by blocking his breathing tube with his thumb.

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The ISIS fighter, reportedly 15 years old, was treated for shrapnel wounds and breathing difficulties by the Navy SEALs medical team, who were supposed to hand him over to the Iraqis. When asked by Gallagher’s attorney why he did it, Scott implied that he was putting the teen out of his misery, as he “wanted to save him from what was going to happen next to him.”

Gallagher is facing life in prison for the alleged stabbing. He also posed in a photo with the lifeless body, then conducted a reenlistment ceremony next to the corpse and hovered a drone over it.

Prosecutors, however, cast doubt on Scott’s account of events, which has never been mentioned before by any of the witnesses to the incident, noting that Scott’s own previous written testimony contradicts the bombshell revelations.

Lt. Brian John, the prosecutor in the case, suggested that Scott’s change of heart is aimed at shielding Gallagher from murder charges, noting that it coincided with the medic being granted testimonial immunity.

“You can lie about the fact that you killed the ISIS prisoner because you don’t want Chief Gallagher to go to jail,” the prosecutor argued.

While Scott’s confessions might seem baffling and profoundly suspicious to some, Gallagher’s attorney, Tim Parlatore, emerged jubilant from the court, saying that he expects that “at the end of this [trial] there will be a not guilty verdict.”

“Today, the truth started to come out. What we’ve been saying for all this time, this is a shoddy investigation. No investigator, no prosecutor has ever asked the question: What is the cause of death?” he told journalists outside the court.

While Scott’s testimony might change the course of litigation, it is only the tip of the iceberg in a sea of war crime-related charges the former SEAL is facing.

He is also accused of shooting civilians indiscriminately and unprovoked, and peppering civilian neighborhoods with machine-gun fire. Prosecutors allege that at one point he shot an elderly man carrying water in Mosul and killed a girl walking along the river.

Investigators said fellow SEALs even tampered with his rifle and fired warning shots to discourage civilians coming closer out of fear Gallagher would kill them.

Many of his subordinates were uneasy about the conduct of their commander, and eventually reported him in March 2018, but were rebuffed by top brass before the formal investigation was launched and Gallagher was arrested in September. He has been charged with attempting to silence his platoon members in order to impede an investigation.

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