US Marine convicted of abusing corpses of Taleban insurgents

Updated 21 December 2012
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US Marine convicted of abusing corpses of Taleban insurgents

WASHINGTON: A US Marine staff sergeant who urinated on dead Taleban insurgents and posed for photographs with the bodies has pleaded guilty to two charges in a military court, the Marine Corps said on Thursday.
His sentence was a reduction in rank and forfeiture of $500 in pay.
Staff Sergeant Joseph Chamblin pleaded guilty at a special court martial at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to dereliction of duty for failing to properly supervise junior Marines. He also pleaded guilty to wrongfully urinating on a deceased enemy combatant.
The incident occurred during a counter-insurgency operation in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in July 2011. It came to light in January this year when a videotape of the incident was posted on YouTube and other websites.
The video showed four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses. One of them joked, “Have a nice day, buddy,” while another made a lewd joke.
The video was one of a series of offensive incidents involving US service members that roused Afghan ire and led to heightened tensions between Washington and Kabul earlier this year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the actions in the video as “inhuman” and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta telephoned him to denounce the incident as “deplorable” and promise an investigation.
Chamblin was charged with failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear protective equipment, failing to report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, the Marine Corps said in a statement.
Chamblin waived his right to a jury and pleaded guilty to two counts before a military judge, the statement said. The judge levied a penalty that including 30 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, but because of a pretrial agreement Chamblin received a lesser sentence.
The maximum penalty under the agreement was a reduction in rank to sergeant and a forfeiture of $500 in pay for one month, the statement said.
The Marine Corps declined to release details about the evidence or the findings of the investigation because, it said, cases were still pending related to the urination video incident.


Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

Updated 21 June 2018
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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO: Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.
Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town said they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida said.
But the city suddenly canceled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.
Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.
Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.
North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”
But the regional mood has turned toward diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.