By Daniel Bates
January 11, 2012
Marine Corps probe after video emerges showing American troops ‘urinating on dead Afghan bodies’
* The anonymous person who put it online wrote, ‘Scout sniper team 4 with 3rd battalion 2nd marines out of camp lejeune peeing on dead talibans’
The U.S. Marine Corps today launched an official investigation after footage emerged which showed American soldiers urinating on dead bodies.
The 40-second clip shows four men in combat gear standing over the three corpses with their genitals exposed as they relieve themselves.
At one point one of the men can be heard saying: ‘Have a great day, buddy’ to laughter from his colleagues.
Horrifying: A video posted online claims to show four Marines urinating on dead bodies
Grinning: One of the men can be heard saying: ‘Have a great day, buddy’ as his colleagues laugh and another jokes: ‘Golden like a shower’ and ‘Yeahhhh!’
Another of them jokes: ‘Golden like a shower’ and ‘Yeahhhh!’ as they groan with relief whilst urinating.
It is not clear if the corpses belong to civilians or insurgents engaged in combat, although the film does appear to have been shot in Afghanistan.
The anonymous person who posted it included the caption: ‘Scout sniper team 4 with 3rd battalion 2nd marines out of camp lejeune peeing on dead talibans.’
The film is likely to spark a huge diplomatic row between Washington and Kabul and rekindle memories of the abuse meted out by American troops at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
The three corpses are all male and are wearing civilian clothes. The youngest lies on his front with an overturned wheelbarrow dumped by his side.
The other two are on their backs and one has a large blood stain on his chest.
Marines spokeswoman Kendra Hardesty said: ‘While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.
‘This matter will be fully investigated and those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.’
A spokeswoman for the Marines said: ‘While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps’
The footage emerged on Liveleak.com where some people left comments in support of what the soldiers had done.
One commenter wrote: ‘We’re all proud of you guys’, while another put: ‘The first bath they have had in years!’ and ‘cut their heads off and bury them with a pig’.
However others were disgusted and wrote: ‘Not cool.. fight with honor and dignity for others, you sign up to get shot at so deal with it , set an example for future Soldiers. dont pee on the dead.’
Camp Lejeune is in North Carolina and is the largest Marine Corps Base on the East Coast of the U.S., home to 40,000 marines.
The 3rd Batallion 2nd Marines consists of 800 Marines and sailors and is nicknamed the ‘Betio Bastards’, a reference to the island of Betio in the Tawara Atoll and the site of one of the most deadly battles with the Japanese in World War II.
More recently they have served in Iraq, the Haiti earthquake of 2010 and in Afghanistan.
Their motto is: ‘We quell the storm, and ride the thunder!’ or ‘Strength and Honour’.
The video adds to a list of embarrassments that includes the abuses pictured from Abu Ghraib
The image of American troops has been battered by a series of scandals involving troops behaving appallingly whilst in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The further revelations are likely to make winning the hearts and minds of locals in the field even harder.
The most shocking instance was the abuse at the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Baghdad in 2004 where detainees were piled naked into human pyramids for the amusement of their American guards.
Other inmates were put on wooden platforms with a hood over their heads and told they would be electrocuted if they stepped off.
There were also reports of rape, sexual abuse and other forms of torture. Eleven soldiers and a number of officials were disciplined over the scandal.
There was also the ‘Thrill Kill’ squad which murdered three Afghan civilians for sport and took their body parts as trophies.
Their leader, Sgt Calvin Gibbs, 26, was jailed for life for blasting innocent bystanders to death at random then covering his tracks by leaving grenades next to their bodies.
Nine other members of the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division were also implicated.
The photos used to back up the story were later proved to be a hoax but not before they were dubbed ‘a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda’.