Marine charged for criticizing Obama on Facebook
22 Mar, 2012 16:16
On Wednesday Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was notified by the Marine Corps that he was in violation of the Pentagon’s policy for blatantly condemning President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Stein’s actions could now lead to his dismissal and a possible downgrade in ranking.The Marine who is based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and has photos showcasing slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all,” has been under the microscope since 2010.Stein was first warned by his superiors two years ago after he launched the social media page on Facebook critiquing Obama care. Stein offered to remove the page while he revised the rules at the bidding of his superiors.According to Stein, after the revision of the rules he determined he was not in violation.Earlier this month the Marine Corps released a statement alleging Stein's commanding officer ordered a preliminary inquiry of the social media page after hearing allegations that Stein posted controversial political statements about the Commander in Chief on Facebook.The remarks made by the sergeant were in reference to an online debate regarding NATO permitting US troops to be put on trial for burning copies of the Quran in Afghanistan.The statement that got the Marine into this predicament was he claimed he would not follow orders from the president if the orders meant he had to detain US citizens, disarming them or doing anything that would violate their constitutional rights."After reviewing the findings of the preliminary inquiry, the commander decided to address the allegations through administrative action," the Corps said.According to the Associated Press, Stein created the page in hopes of encouraging fellow servicemen and women to exercise their right to free speech. He also added that he would not follow the “unlawful” orders of the president.But on the page it clearly states the page is “to offer a forum that will allow the voices of the US Armed Forces to stand with the Tea Party movement, and be heard.”The Marine added, "I've done nothing wrong. I've only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that's a crime, what is America coming to?"Stein is now fighting the charges and claiming his innocence for violating the Pentagon’s policies and submitted the paperwork to extend his service with the Marine Corp which is due to expire in a few months, reported the AP.If his actions lead to a violation of the Pentagon’s policy he will be discharge and have his rank lowered to lance corporal.According to Pentagon policy, military persons in uniform cannot support or sponsor a political club or party. Also participating in any kind of mass media interview or discussion regarding political parties or a specific candidate are strictly prohibited. Commissioned officers are banned from using disdainful remarks against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president.