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DoD Investigating Hundreds Of Marines For Sharing Explicit Photos Of Servicewomen On Social Media
Hundreds of Marines could face charges of misconduct for their participation in soliciting and sharing naked photos of female service members and veterans on social media. According to an investigation by Reveal News and The War Horse published March 4, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating scores of enlisted Marines for compiling thousands of naked photos of servicewomen, often surreptitiously, and distributing them through Facebook and Google Drive.
The private Facebook group “Marines United” boasts 30,000 followers and countless profane comments, including threats of rape. Already, more than two dozen female Marines have been identified down to their duty station and rank, a gross violation of their privacy. From Reveal:
More than 2,500 comments about the photos were left by group members, many of whom used their personal Facebook accounts that include their names, ranks and duty stations. Some invited others to collect, identify and share photos of naked or scantily clad servicewomen. Based on their profiles, service members who participated in the photo sharing are stationed across the world — from Japan to North Carolina — and across military branches, from air wing to infantry.
Dozens of now-deleted Google Drive folders linked to from the Facebook page included dossiers of women containing their names, military branches, nude photographs, screenshots of their social media accounts, and images of sexual acts. Dozens of other subfolders included unidentifiable women in various stages of undress. Many images appear to have originated from the consensual, but private, exchange of racy images, some clearly taken by the women themselves.
The complaints to the Pentagon began on Jan. 30, less than a month after the first female enlistees reported for duty with a Marine infantry unit. The existence of the page's activities, confirmed by the Department of Defense, was first uncovered by The War Horse editor-in-chief Tom Brennan, a Marine veteran himself.
“The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about allegations regarding the derogatory online comments and sharing of salacious photographs in a closed website,” the Corps wrote in a draft response. “This behavior destroys morale, erodes trust, and degrade the individual. The Marine Corps does not condone this sort of behavior which undermines our core values. The Marine Corps takes every allegation of misconduct seriously. Allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated and handled at the appropriate judicial or administrative forum.”
In a statement sent to Task & Purpose, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said, "For anyone to target one of our Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner, is distasteful and shows an absence of respect. ... I expect every Marine to demonstrate the highest integrity and loyalty to fellow Marines at all times, on duty, off-duty, and online."
While the Pentagon investigation may be weeks old, problems like this have plagued the Corps for years. In 2013, Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, decried the misogynistic behavior exhibited in multiple private Facebook groups in a letter to then-Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel as “contribut[ing] to a culture that permits and seems to encourage sexual assault and abuse.” Just a year later, Task & Purpose reported that a growing network of Facebook pages, often run anonymously, were becoming increasingly part of junior enlisted infantry culture, overflowing with terrifyingly casual comments ranging from rape and racism to homophobia and outright sexism.
The Corps is aware of the problem: A public affairs guidance memo obtained by Reveal News advised public affairs officers to maintain an “active” posture while offering resources to those affected by this problem. It also cautioned against a coming backlash from enlisted soldiers and vets: “The story will likely spark shares and discussions across social media, offering venues for Marines and former Marines who may victim blame, i.e., ‘they shouldn’t have taken the photos in the first place,’ or bemoan that they believe the Corps is becoming soft or politically correct.”
In an email to Task & Purpose regarding actions the Corps plans to take against individuals who participate in sexual harassment and cyber bullying, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ryan E. Alvis said, Marines "could potentially be charged for violating Article 133 (for officers) or Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). If a Marine shared a photo of another person that was taken without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which that other person had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Marine may have violated Article 120c, UCMJ, for broadcasting or distribution of an indecent visual recording. A Marine who directly participates in, encourages, or condones such actions could also be subjected to criminal proceedings or adverse administrative actions."
Jared Keller is a senior editor at Task & Purpose and contributing editor at Pacific Standard.
UPDATE: This story was updated to include a statement from Marine Corps public affairs. (Updated: 3/4/2017; 8:41 pm)
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.