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Afghanistan, gruppo di marines in posa con la bandiera delle SS

Afghanistan: prima i marines che urinano sui corpi di afgani morti. Ora altri 10 marines immortalati in posa con la bandiera delle Ss alle spalle. Sopra la bandiera americana, sotto quella della Schutzstaffel, la polizia segreta militare nazista. La foto è comparsa sul sito della Knight’s Armament, produttrice di armi di Titusville, Florida. La foto risale al settembre 2010, è stata scattata a Sangin, i marinews sono della compagnia “Charlie” del 1st Reconnaissance Battalion di Camp Pendleton, San Diego (California). Scout snipers li chiamano. Le reazioni dei comandi dei marines? Banalizzatrici e omertose.  Un gesto deprecabile, certo, ridotto a semplice disguido o a una forma di ignoranza.

“Si tratta di un crimine atroce”, ha commentato Michael Weinstein della Military Religious Freedom Foundation di Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Non si tratta di un fatto isolato, anzi temiamo che l’utilizzo di simboli nazisti sia stato praticato per anni all’interno del Corpo”, ha dichiarato Michael Weinstein all’agenzia Associated Press. La Military Religious Freedom Foundation ha mostrato una seconda foto, del  2004, all’interno del Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center di Twentynine Palms, California,coln due marin in posa con fucili e una bandiera con le svastiche. “Pure quei due uomini erano in forza al plotone di scout snipers del 1st Battalion del 7° Marines”.

Il segretario Leon Panetta ha fatto sapere di avere già incontrato il comandante dei marines, generale Amos, per chiedere la riapertura delle indagini su quanto accaduto in Afghanistan e l’assunzione di “un’azione appropriata contro i responsabili”.

Il post dell’Associated Press:

Marines posed with logo resembling Nazi symbol

By JULIE WATSON, Associated Press – 1 day ago

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Marine Corps once again did damage control after a photograph surfaced of a sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS — a special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others.

The Corps said in a statement that using the symbol was not acceptable, but the Marines in the photograph taken in September 2010 will not be disciplined because investigators determined it was a naive mistake.

The Marines believed the SS symbol was meant to represent sniper scouts and never intended to be associated with a racist organization, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, where the Marines were based.

“I don’t believe that the Marines involved would have ever used any type of symbol associated the Nazi Germany military criminal organization that committed mass atrocities in WWII,” Chapin said. “It’s not within who we are as Marines.”

The Corps has used the incident as a training tool to talk to troops about what symbols are acceptable after it became aware of the photograph last November, Chapin said.

The image has surfaced on an Internet blog, sparking widespread outrage and calls for a full investigation and punishment, including bringing those in the photograph and anyone who condoned it to court-martial.

“This is a complete and total outrage,” said Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His organization sent a letter to the head of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday, demanding punishment for those involved.

It was the second time this year the Marine Corps had to scramble to contain the damage after images were posted on the Internet of troops in inappropriate acts. Last month, Pentagon leaders faced the fallout from an Internet video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses — an act that appears to violate international laws of warfare and further strains U.S.-Afghan relations.

Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to offer assurances of a full investigation, and the top Marine general promised an internal probe as well as a criminal one.

The Marines in the photograph are no longer with the unit. Chapin said she did not know if they are still in the Corps.

In the photo taken in the Afghanistan district of Sangin in Helmand province, members of the Marine Corps unit are seen posing with guns in front of an American flag and a large, dark blue flag with what appear to be the letters “SS” in the shape of white jagged lightning bolts.

Camp Pendleton spokesman, Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, said he did not know where the flag came from but it was likely the property of one of the Marines in the photograph.

The photograph appeared on the blog for a military weapons company called Knight’s Armament in Florida. The company did not respond to emails or phone messages left by The Associated Press.

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was the police and military force of the Nazi Party, which was distinct from the general army. Members pledged an oath of loyalty to Adolph Hitler.

SS units were held responsible for many war crimes and played an integral role in the extermination of millions of Jews along with gypsies and other people who were deemed undesirable. The SS was declared to be a criminal organization at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, headquartered in Los Angeles, said he does not buy the explanation that posing with the flag was an innocent mistake and insisted the American public has a right to know what happened.

“If you look at any book on the Nazi period, this is the dreaded symbol of the SS, and to have a Marine Corps unit adopt it and put it beside the American flag when 200,000 Americans died to free the world of that dreaded symbol is just beyond the pale,” he said.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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