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'Marines United' Admins Don’t Care That Posting Nude Photos Is A 'Moral Issue'
As military officials and lawmakers hold hearing after hearing to assess the nude-photo-sharing scandal that rocked the armed forces in early March, the servicemen who engaged in the disgusting behavior have a message for investigators: You can’t catch us all.
Despite the threat of the ongoing NCIS investigation into the “Marines United” Facebook group at the heart of the scandal, servicemen continue to upload and distribute explicit photos of servicewomen, female veterans, and civilians in apparent defiance of authorities, journalist and Marine veteran James LaPorta reported for the Daily Beast on Tuesday. From his report:
A female Marine reservist is the newest victim of an ongoing effort by current and former Marines to share nude photos of fellow servicemembers without their consent.
A Facebook group called Marines United 3.0, taking its name from the original Facebook group shut down in January for sharing nude photos, continues to flout the Marine Corps and Congress by circulating photos, including at least one new cache. The group has resorted to extreme vetting of members—including a demand that aspirants post a nude photo—to prevent infiltration, according to a source within the group.
“This is not what normal people do to each other,” the female Marine reservist, identified here as Kim to protect her privacy, said. The men sharing the pictures and videos “must have some need for vengeance toward somebody. I mean, why is this fun? What makes this so fun? If you want to see naked people, go to porn sites. I don’t understand the logic behind it. It’s to the point now that I’m just numb.”
According to LaPorta, NCIS has identified at least 17 smaller offshoots of the original Marines United page engaged in the distribution of the explicit material. As Task & Purpose reported earlier this month, Marines United is comparable to a digital hydra: When one group shuts down, several more rise from the ashes to take its place.
The veterans who run these groups, no longer subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, don’t seem at all worried about invading the privacy of unsuspecting women. “I don’t see a legal issue with it,” Former Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Fielder, an administrator of a new Marines United group, told LaPorta. “I do think there’s a moral issue with it, but there’s a lot of difference between the law and your own moral code… If the law wants to get involved, show me the passage that says this is illegal.”
“Keep it organized and post only the nastiest shit,” Fielder posted to Marines United 3.0 on Thursday. “Nothing illegal (underage), is all I ask.”
The Daily Beast report comes days after military leaders issued new social media guidelines to commanders. The core message is relatively simple: Don’t embarrass us.
"Marines must never engage in commentary or publish content on social networking platforms or through other forms of communication that harm good order and discipline or that bring discredit upon themselves, their unit, or the Marine Corps,” according to the new Marine Corps guidelines issued by Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller last week.
But as the Daily Beast report makes clear, it will take more than a few sternly worded guidances to change the fundamental causes of the Marines United scandal: the culture of sexism and misogyny that appears to permeate almost every level of the armed forces. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Monday, Rep. Jackie Speier of California, who has led the charge on revenge porn in the military since 2013, reiterated that military leaders are missing the point with their updated social media guidelines.
“No one has ever gone on Facebook, looked at non-consensually posted intimate photos, typed a rape threat and then stopped and said, ‘Oh, I better not make rape threats. That’s against the military social media policy,’” Speier said.
“We don’t need to talk about social media policies,” she added. “We need to talk about how to end this hatred and misogyny.”
Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.