U.S.

April 13, 2012

Board says Marine who criticized Obama should be dismissed

by Julie Watson
Associated Press

A U.S. Marine who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page has committed misconduct and should be dismissed, a military board recommended.

The Marine Corps administrative board made the decision late April 5 after a hearing for Sgt. Gary Stein. Stein’s lawyers argued that the 9-year Marine, whose service was to end in four months, was expressing his personal views and exercising his First Amendment rights.

The board also recommended that Stein be given an other-than-honourable discharge, meaning Stein would lose his benefits and would not be allowed on any military base.

The board’s recommendations go to a general who will either accept or reject them. If the general disagrees, the case could go to the secretary of the Navy.

During the hearing, the prosecutor, Capt. John Torresala, said Stein went as far as superimposing images of Obama’s face on a poster for the movie “Jackass.”

Torresala argued that Stein’s behaviour repeatedly violated Pentagon policy that limits the free speech rights of service members, and said he should be dismissed after ignoring warnings from his superiors.

“Sergeant Stein has broken no law,” said his defence attorney, Marine Capt. James Baehr.

Stein created a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party. He has said his opinions are his own and has put a disclaimer on his Facebook page saying so. His attorneys argued service members have a right to voice their opinions as long as they do not appear to be presenting their views as being endorsed by the military.

Stein has said he is fighting for his constitutional rights and should be allowed to stay in the military. His lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union contend his views are protected by the First Amendment.

“Think about how dangerous this could be if the U.S. government can prosecute you for something you say on your private Facebook page,” Baehr said.

The Marine Corps has said it decided to take administrative action after Stein declared on Facebook that he would not follow orders from Obama and later clarified that statement, saying he would not follow unlawful orders.

Stein said his statement about Obama was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Qur’an burnings in Afghanistan. In that context, he said, he was stating that he would not follow orders from the president if it involved detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights

The military has had a policy since the Civil War in the 1860s limiting the free speech of service members, including criticism of the commander in chief.

Pentagon directives say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement.

Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials.

Stein’s security clearance was taken away and he has no future in the Marine Corps because he can’t do his job without that clearance, Torresala said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>