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Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to Death

Navy SEAL Promoted After Choking Green Beret to DeathThe U.S. Navy promoted Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph four months after he admitted to choking a Green Beret to death. DeDolph—who will be back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing—was formally charged in November 2018 with felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group.Melgar was nearing the end of his deployment when he was killed in the West African nation of Mali in June 2017. He was part of an intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda’s local affiliate, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Days after Melgar was strangled, DeDolph, at the time a petty officer first class, was sent back to his base in Virginia Beach under suspicion of murder. Despite that, DeDolph found himself on the promotion list for chief petty officer in August 2017; he was “frocked”—meaning he began wearing the insignia of the higher rank—on Sept. 15, 2017, according to defense officials. He didn’t start drawing chief’s pay until December.Slain Green Beret’s Widow Speaks: ‘I Knew They Were Lying’Three days before DeDolph’s promotion, the medical examiner’s report was signed. It concluded, based on a June 8, 2017, autopsy at Dover Air Force Base, that Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation and the manner of death was homicide, according to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast.A defense official familiar with the case said Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as Seal Team 6, didn’t flag DeDolph because he was not formally charged or a person of interest in an ongoing investigation. He was a participant in the investigation but no charges were filed until November 2018.Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, told The Daily Beast this week that he authorized an investigation after he learned of Melgar’s death. Bolduc alerted Army Criminal Investigation Command and told commanders in Mali to preserve evidence. He didn’t understand why DeDolph was promoted when he returned to his unit in Virginia Beach.“It is another failure of leadership,” Bolduc said. “I mean senior leadership. It’s unfortunate. He should have never been promoted. The investigation was started right away. They whisked them out of there as fast as they could.”When asked if he was surprised by the news, Bolduc said no.“I’m disappointed,” he said. “But not surprised. It’s utter bullshit.”Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Garcia declined to comment on the promotion because DeDolph is part of an ongoing investigation.“DeDolph has remained a member of Naval Special Warfare throughout this process,” said Navy Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare. “It is paramount that the rights of the service member are protected, thus any additional information regarding this case will not be discussed.”Phil Stackhouse, DeDolph's civilian attorney, did not return calls or text messages seeking comment. Melgar’s widow, Michelle, declined to comment on the story.DeDolph’s case is just one of several high-profile incidents that have exposed issues in the SEAL culture. Members of SEAL Team 7 were expelled from Iraq in 2019 after allegations of drinking and sexual assault. Six SEALs tested positive for cocaine last year. Then there’s the case of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a former member of SEAL Team 7, who faced a court martial for war crimes charges including murder, but was convicted of posing for a picture with a dead body and granted clemency by President Trump in November 2019. Trump Tells Allies He Wants Absolved War Criminals to Campaign for HimSome of the same issues were present in Mali, where there was widespread alcohol use, partying, and prostitutes at the safehouse, according to sources familiar with the investigation. “It was like a frat house,” one source said, when asked to describe what the safe house in Bamako was like. In response to the recent incidents, Rear Adm. Collin Green, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, sent a memo last year to his subordinate units declaring the whole SEAL community has a problem.“Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason, our NSW culture is being questioned,” Green wrote in the July 2019 memo. “I don’t know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately.”Gen. Richard Clarke, the head of Special Operations Command, ordered an ethics review last August following several high-profile incidents. He acknowledged in a memo to service members on Tuesday that “unacceptable conduct” had been allowed to occur as a result of “lack of leadership, discipline and accountability.” The 71-page report summing up the ethics review warned of what Clarke described as an emphasis on “force employment and mission accomplishment over the routine activities that ensure leadership, accountability, and discipline.”Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, who was in Mali doing an assessment of the mission there, testified in August he felt it was his duty to haze Melgar—on DeDolph’s recommendation—to teach him a lesson after Melgar “ditched” the team in Mali’s capital city of Bamako on his way to a party at the French embassy. Investigator of Green Beret’s Murder Had Romantic Relationship With Witness, Lawyer SaysDeDolph, Matthews and two Marine Raiders—Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell—spent the rest of the night plotting to choke Melgar into unconsciousness, pull his pants down and videotape the incident and then show it to him later to embarrass him. When Melgar became unresponsive, Matthews and DeDolph tried to resuscitate Melgar with CPR and opened a hole in his throat. The SEALS with Sergeant First Class James Morris, Melgar’s supervisor, then rushed Melgar to a French medical facility, where he was pronounced dead. At the clinic, DeDolph admitted to an embassy official he choked Melgar, according to NBC News and subsequent reports.Maxwell and Matthews have already pleaded guilty in exchange for plea agreements with prosecutors. Matthews, 33, pleaded guilty to hazing and assault charges and attempts to cover up what happened to Melgar. He was sentenced in May 2019 to one year in military prison. Maxwell, 29, was sentenced to four years of confinement after pleading guilty in connection with Melgar’s death in June 2019.DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez are the last of the four men who carried out the attack to stand trial. Both men are expected to face courts martial this spring. An exact date has not been selected, according to Navy officials.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 8:06 PM

Harvard Chemistry Dept. Head Charged with Failing to Disclose Chinese Funding

Harvard Chemistry Dept. Head Charged with Failing to Disclose Chinese FundingThe head of Harvard University's chemistry department has been charged with failing to disclose funding from the Chinese government, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday.Charles Lieber, the department head, allegedly hid his participation in China's "thousand talents" program from officials in the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health.China uses what it calls "talent plans" to encourage scientific research by providing government funding to select scientists. The U.S. government has charged a number of individuals funded by talent plans with attempting to steal U.S. intellectual property for the Chinese government."While association with a Talent Program is not illegal, it can create incentives to steal, violate export controls, or (at a minimum) conflicts of interest," said John Demers, chief of the national security division at the Justice Department, at a November presentation.In one case, the Justice Department revealed in November that federal agents in 2017 had stopped Haitao Xiang, a Missouri resident and employee of an agriculture-biotechnology company, from boarding a plane to China with a copy a proprietary algorithm belonging to his company.Also in November, the FBI admitted in a Senate hearing that it had not done enough to counter the threat of intellectual property theft by China."With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past," said John Brown, assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, at the hearing. "The time to make up for that is now."




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 12:07 PM

Biden reportedly said he wouldn't be running if Mitt Romney was president

Biden reportedly said he wouldn't be running if Mitt Romney was presidentFormer Vice President Joe Biden isn't bashful about the reason he's running for president.Biden, though not bereft of policy plans, isn't leading a specific "movement" like some of his Democratic competitors, namely Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). In that sense, there doesn't appear to have been an ideological motivation that spurred the 77-year-old's decision to jump into the crowded Democratic primary last year, except for defeating the incumbent, President Trump, The New York Times reports.In fact, Biden reportedly told the Times while campaigning in Iowa before the state's caucus kicks off the election process next week that he likely wouldn't even have launched a campaign if someone like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the one seeking re-election, amplifying Biden's message that Democrats and Republicans need not be in a state of "perpetual war" in a post-Trump America. It's Trump, and Trump alone, that compelled former President Barack Obama's right hand man to take one last crack at the Oval Office. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com John Bolton just vindicated Nancy Pelosi It's 2020 and women are exhausted All the president's turncoats




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 12:41 PM

Kobe Bryant helicopter video emerges showing ill-fated flight minutes before crash

Kobe Bryant helicopter video emerges showing ill-fated flight minutes before crashA video that appears to show Kobe Bryant’s helicopter circling over California roughly 15 minutes before the fatal crash has been posted online, illustrating the foggy conditions faced by the chopper on its last flight.In the video, which was posted by a user on Twitter who said they live in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale — where Bryant’s flight circled for roughly 10 minutes on Sunday awaiting instruction, according to flight records — the helicopter can be seen moving slowly in the sky above, obscured by the early morning fog.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 2:25 PM

China demands an apology from a newspaper for a satirical cartoon of a Chinese flag with coronavirus particles

China demands an apology from a newspaper for a satirical cartoon of a Chinese flag with coronavirus particlesChina is outraged with a Danish newspaper for publishing a satirical cartoon of a Chinese flag with coronavirus particles in place of its stars.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 3:31 PM

A Dangerous Game: Russia and America Keep Flying Their Planes Near Each Other's Borders

A Dangerous Game: Russia and America Keep Flying Their Planes Near Each Other's BordersNuclear chicken anyone?




POSTED JANUARY 27, 2020 4:58 AM

Get Early Access to Backcountry’s Big Winter Sale Right Now

Get Early Access to Backcountry’s Big Winter Sale Right Now




POSTED JANUARY 27, 2020 4:30 PM

Mexico deports 2,300 Hondurans from '2020 Caravan'

Mexico deports 2,300 Hondurans from '2020 Caravan'Mexican migration authorities said they have deported 2,300 Hondurans who illegally crossed over from Guatemala with a caravan heading to the United States. The "assisted return" of the Central Americans took place between January 18 and Monday, according to the interior ministry and the National Migration Institute. A total of 1,064 Honduran migrants were deported on National Guard planes and charter aircraft, they said in a statement.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 2:52 AM

Democrats Are Calling on DNC to Allow Bloomberg to Join Debates

Democrats Are Calling on DNC to Allow Bloomberg to Join Debates(Bloomberg) -- Democrats concerned that presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is avoiding scrutiny by not participating in televised debates with other candidates are pushing the party to allow the billionaire on stage.Bloomberg hasn’t been eligible for debates since joining the race Nov. 24 because he’s self-funding his campaign. The Democratic National Committee requires a certain level of donations from individuals to qualify for the debate stage. Bloomberg has spent $278 million of his own money so far in ads, an effort that has earned him fourth place in recent national polls.But both Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group allied with Elizabeth Warren, said Tuesday that Bloomberg’s absence means voters don’t get to evaluate how he answers direct questions and responds to challenges from other candidates.“Imagine a world where he hypothetically buys 30% of the polls and is the front-runner,” Green said. “How would it ever make sense not to have him on the debate stage to get scrutiny and talk to voters?”Green said he raised concerns about Bloomberg being excluded from the debates in a December DNC call. He proposed that the party add an exception for candidates who exceed some of the other criteria, such as doing very well in a number of recognized polls. A DNC spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and neither did a spokesman for Warren.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.Klobuchar Tuesday told MSNBC she welcomed the former New York mayor to the stage.“I’d be fine with him being on the debate stage because I think that instead of just putting your money out there, he’s actually got to be on the stage, and be able to go back and forth so that voters can evaluate him in that way,” Klobuchar said.Politico first reported the PCCC’s outreach to the DNC. The Bloomberg campaign declined to comment on whether the campaign has also asked the DNC to change the rules, as Politico reported.“Mike has been in public life for the past two decades and is aggressively campaigning in states across the country so that voters can hear directly from him about how he’ll get it done as president,” campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement.Still, Green said that in the last debate in January, after which there was extensive media coverage about Warren and Bernie Sanders challenging each other, no one could question Bloomberg on his positions.Bloomberg’s decision to self-finance his campaign has drawn criticism from rivals including Warren and Sanders, who rely on small donors. Warren said Bloomberg is “skipping the democracy part” of the campaign by not competing in the early nominating contests and that it’s wrong for billionaires to try to “buy” elections.The former New York mayor has said he made his fortune building a business that allows him to spend money on the race and issues he cares about, and that his rivals had the same opportunity but are using money from contributors who “expect something from them.”To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net;Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan CraneFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 4:54 PM

Idaho Nurse Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Helping Cover Up Kelsey Berreth’s Murder

Idaho Nurse Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Helping Cover Up Kelsey Berreth’s MurderA former Idaho nurse was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for helping Patrick Frazee cover up the murder of his fiancée last Thanksgiving.Krystal Lee, 33, was sentenced after pleading guilty in February to evidence tampering and testifying against Frazee, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, who was convicted of killing 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth.“I know that saying sorry is not good enough,” she told a packed Teller County courtroom on Tuesday, before receiving the maximum sentence. “And I don’t even know what the right word would be to describe the remorse that I feel.”Patrick Frazee Convicted of Murdering His Missing Fiancée With a Baseball Bat, Burning Her BodyFrazee, a 33-year-old cattle rancher, was convicted in November on all six charges against him for the slaying and disappearance of Berreth and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 156 years. Berreth, a flight instructor at Doss Aviation, was last seen at a Safeway grocery store near her Woodland Park, Colorado, home on Nov. 22, 2018. Prosecutors say later that day, Frazee fatally beat his would-be wife, with whom he shared a child, with a baseball bat before burning her body and the murder weapon at his family’s ranch. The cattle rancher then enlisted the help of Lee, his secret girlfriend, to clean up the crime scene, Lee said.During her emotional two-day testimony, Lee described her troubled relationship with Frazee—which began as an affair several years ago while she was married and included a secret abortion. While the nurse has denied participating in Berreth’s murder, she later admitted she witnessed him burn the evidence of his crime.“She shouldn’t have received the plea deal that she did,” Berreth’s parents, Darrell and Cheryl, wrote in a letter read aloud in court Tuesday, according to The Denver Post. “She was an active participant in the murder. The only thing she didn’t do was swing the bat.”‘Calculating Manipulator’ Patrick Frazee Murdered Kelsey Berreth With Help From Secret Girlfriend: ProsecutorsLee recounted that in 2018, Frazee asked her three times to kill Berreth on his behalf, claiming she was abusing their 1-year-old daughter and needed to be stopped. The nurse said while she initially agreed to help, she backed out before each murder attempt. “His little girl is being abused,” Lee testified. “I understand if it was wrong. I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t make correct decisions.”Prosecutors said when Lee failed to help Frazee murder Berreth, the “cold, calculating manipulator” took matters into his own hands. Afterward, Lee said Frazee told her, “I need your help, and I need your help now. You have a mess to clean up.”Lee said during their frantic clean up of Berreth’s apartment, Frazee told her to “get the candles wiped up, get the bathroom done, and wipe up the footprints,” and threatened to kill her if she failed to do a sufficient job. Kelsey Berreth Murder Suspect’s Secret Ex: He ‘Told Me to Take Care of the Problem’“He asked me if I got it done. I told him the best that I could do. He said, ‘You better hope you did, because your life depends on it,’” she said during the trial, according to The Gazette.After the Nov. 24 cleanup, she said the two went to Frazee’s ranch, where the 33-year-old set Berreth’s body on fire, along with several trash bags. To further trick authorities, Lee said she took Berreth’s cellphone to Idaho—nearly 800 miles away from the missing mom’s home in Woodland Park—for the signal to ping before burning it. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JANUARY 28, 2020 3:01 PM

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