US Navy chief says Trump’s tweet is not a formal order

US Navy chief says Trump’s tweet is not a formal order
Acting Defense Secretary Richard Spencer said on Saturday he doesn't consider a tweet by President Donald Trump an order and would need a formal order to stop a review of Edward Gallagher, a sailor who could lose his status as a Navy Seal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Updated 24 November 2019

US Navy chief says Trump’s tweet is not a formal order

US Navy chief says Trump’s tweet is not a formal order
  • In a tweet, Trump insisted last Thursday he was reversing the Navy's move to take away the SEAL status of an officer accused of committing a war crime in Iraq
  • Trump’s initial order in Gallagher only referred to restoring his rank, but it did not explicitly pardon the SEAL for any wrongdoing

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia: The secretary of the US Navy said Saturday he doesn’t consider a tweet by President Donald Trump an order and would need a formal order to stop a review of a sailor who could lose his status as a Navy SEAL.
“I need a formal order to act,” Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said, and referred to the tweet. “I don’t interpret them as a formal order.”
Trump insisted last Thursday the Navy “will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” inserting himself into an ongoing legal review of the sailor’s ability to hold onto the pin that designates him a SEAL.
The Navy on Wednesday notified Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher that he will face a review early next month to determine if he should remain on the elite force.
Gallagher was acquitted of a murder charge in the stabbing death of a Daesh militant captive, but a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017. He was then demoted to chief.
Spencer, speaking on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, said if the president requests the process to stop, the process stops.
“Good order and discipline is also obeying the orders of the President of the United States,” he said.
Despite the differing views with the president over the appropriate handling of the case, Spencer told reporters that he has not threatened to resign over the issue. But he acknowledged that he serves at the pleasure of the president.
“The president the United States is the commander in chief. He’s involved in every aspect of government and he can make decisions and give orders as appropriate,” he said.
Gallagher’s lawyers have accused the Navy of trying to remove the SEAL designation in retaliation for Trump’s decision last week to restore Gallagher’s rank.
Gallagher filed a complaint with the inspector general accusing a rear admiral of insubordination for defying Trump’s actions. Rear Adm. Collin Green is the Naval Special Warfare commander.
Under the review procedure, a five-person board will convene Dec. 2 behind closed doors. It will include one SEAL officer and four senior enlisted SEALs, according to the two US officials. Gallagher can appear once before the board on Dec. 4 but without his lawyers. He can dispute the evidence given to the board that will include his conviction and call witnesses.
Gallagher can appeal any final decision that will be made by the Naval Personnel Board, which will take into account Green’s input and the board’s recommendations.
Trump’s initial order in Gallagher only referred to restoring his rank, but it did not explicitly pardon the SEAL for any wrongdoing.
Green also notified three SEAL officers who oversaw Gallagher during the deployment — Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Lt. Jacob Portier and Lt. Thomas MacNeil — that they are also being reviewed, according to the officials.
Removing their Trident pins means they will no longer be SEALs but could remain in the Navy.
The Navy has revoked 154 Trident pins since 2011.


China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners
Updated 19 January 2021

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners
  • Twenty-two workers have been stuck 540 meters underground near Yantai in east China’s Shandong province

BEIJING: Chinese rescuers drilled several fresh holes Tuesday to reach at least 12 gold miners trapped underground for nine days, as dwindling food supplies and rising waters threatened their survival.
Twenty-two workers have been stuck 540 meters (1,750 feet) underground at the Hushan mine near Yantai in east China’s Shandong province after an explosion damaged the entrance.
After days without any signs of life, some of the trapped miners managed to send up a note attached to a metal wire which rescuers had dropped into the mine on Sunday.
Pleading for help, the handwritten message said a dozen of them were alive but surrounded by water and in need of urgent medical supplies.
Several of the miners were injured, the note said.
A subsequent phone call with the miners revealed 11 were in one location 540 meters below the surface with another – apparently alone – trapped a further 100 meters down.
The whereabouts and condition of the other 10 miners is still unknown.
Rescuers have already dug three channels and sent food, medicine, paper and pencils down thin shafts – lifelines to the miners cut into the earth.
But progress was slow, according to Chen Fei, a top city official.
“The surrounding rock near the ore body is mostly granite... that is very hard, resulting in slow progress of rescue,” Chen told reporters on Monday evening.
“There is a lot of water in the shaft that may flow into the manway and pose a danger to the trapped workers.”
Chen said the current food supply was only enough for two days.
Rescuers drilled three more channels on Tuesday, according to a rescue map published on the Yantai government’s official twitter-like Weibo account.
A telephone connection has also been set up.
Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed dozens of rescuers clearing the main return shaft, while cranes and a massive bore-hole drill was used to dig new rescue channels to reach the trapped miners.
Rescue teams lost precious time since it took more than a day for the accident to be reported, China Youth daily reported citing provincial authorities.
Both the local Communist Party secretary and mayor have been sacked over the 30-hour delay and an official investigation is under way to determine the cause of the explosion.
Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.
In December, 23 workers died after being stuck underground in the southwestern city of Chongqing, just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped underground at another coal mine in the city.