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.


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 52 min 38 sec ago
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.