Marine Ordered to Pay a $500 Fine After Pleading Guilty to Urinating on Bodies of Dead Taliban Soldiers

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A U.S. Marine court-martialed for urinating  on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters and posing for pictures with them in  Afghanistan has been reduced in rank and fined.

The Marine Corps announced Thursday that  Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty before a military judge.

A Marine spokesman, Col. Sean Gibson, said  Lt. Gen. Richard Mills had agreed before the court-martial was held Wednesday  that the maximum sentence he would approve in the case of Staff Sgt. Joseph W.  Chamblin is the forfeiture of $500 in pay for one month and reduction in rank to  sergeant.

The judge, who was not aware of the  pre-trial agreement, announced a harsher sentence: 30 days confinement,  60  days restriction, forfeiture of $500 per month in pay for six months, a fine of  $2,000 and a reduction in rank to lance corporal, which is  two pay grades below  sergeant.

Outrage: The video inflamed tensions between U.S. forces and the Afghans and was called a ‘recruitment tool for the Taliban’

Gibson said Mills will limit the  punishments  to those he set before the trial. Mills is the head of  Marine Corps Combat  Development Command.

The Marine Corps said Chamblin pleaded guilty  before the military judge at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He  admitted to  wrongful desecration, failure to properly supervise junior  Marines and posing  for photos with battlefield casualties.

Chamblin is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd  Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune.

The matter came to light with the  disclosure  in January of a video showing four Marines urinating on the  bodies of three  dead men in July 2011. A criminal investigation ensued.  In September 2012 the  Marines announced that Chamblin and Staff Sgt.  Edward W. Deptola would be  court-martialed. Deptola’s case is pending.

The desecration scandal came to light  when a  video surfaced in January showing four Marines urinating on the  bodies of three  dead men in July 2011.

A criminal investigation was launched. In  September 2012, the Marines announced that Chamblin and Staff Sgt.  Edward W.  Deptola would be court-martialed. Deptola’s case is pending.

The disclosure in January of a video  showing  four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of  three dead men led  to a criminal investigation by the Naval Criminal  Investigative Service as well  as a Marine investigation of the unit  involved, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines,  which fought in the southern  Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before  returning to its home base last September.

In the video, one of the Marines looked down  at the bodies and quipped, ‘Have a good day, buddy,’ while  another makes a lewd joke, as they urinated on three corpses.

The urination video was one in a  string of  embarrassing episodes for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. American troops have been  caught up in controversies over  burning Muslim holy books, posing for photos  with insurgents’ bloodied  remains and an alleged massacre of 16 Afghan  villagers by a soldier now  in U.S. confinement.

The Marine Corps said the urination  took  place during a counter-insurgency operation in the Musa Qala  district of  Helmand province on July 27, 2011. The decision to court  martial Chamblin and  Deptola was made by Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, the  commanding general of Marine  Corps Combat Development Command.

When the video came to light on  YouTube,  U.S. military officials sternly condemned the misconduct.  Defense Secretary  Leon Panetta said he feared that it could set back  efforts to begin  reconciliation talks with the Taliban.

Chamblin and Deptola also were  charged with  other misconduct alleged to have happened on the same day  as the urination  incident. That includes dereliction of duty by failing  to properly supervise  junior Marines, failing to report their misconduct and failing to require them  to wear their personal protective  equipment.

When it announced in August that three enlisted Marines had been given administrative punishment but would not be  court-martialed in the urination case, the Marine Corps said one had pleaded  guilty to urinating on the Taliban soldiers and posing for a  photograph.

It said another Marine pleaded guilty to  wrongfully  videotaping the incident and also posing for a photograph, and a  third  pleaded guilty to failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties and lying about it. The names of those three Marines were not  released.

The video of the men was called a  ‘recruitment tool for the Taliban’ and helped to inflame tensions between  Afghans and NATO troops when it was made public earlier this year.

Afghan officials were outraged by the images,  with President Hamid Karzai branding the  Marine’s actions in the video as ‘inhuman.’

Source: The Daily Mail

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