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U.S. Marine Faces Discipline and Discharge for Posting “Screw Obama” on Facebook
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Though the alleged remarks have been removed from Facebook, U.S. Marine Gary Stein paraphrased himself to the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper as stating: “I say screw Obama. I will not follow orders given by him to me.” However, the Marine Corps. disagrees, because by virtue of his position, President Obama is the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces.

Stein later explained online that he had meant he would not follow “unlawful orders” from the president, but the Marine Corps. remains unconvinced. Since then, Stein has taken down the comments which he had made in course of a heated online debate over the punishment meted out to NATO and U.S. military personnel over allegations of burning the Koran in Afghanistan.

Earlier, in 2010, Stein had been criticized for expressing his opinion as a member of the armed forces on the same Facebook page titled “Armed Forces Tea Party,” though the page carries a disclaimer: “We do not represent, and are in no way affiliated with the military, or United States Armed Forces.”

  
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In 2010, Stein had averted calamity when the American Civil Liberties Union supported and spoke up for him. However, this time the Marine Corps. doesn’t seem keen on letting him get away citing First Amendment, and disciplinary proceedings and discharge seems on way. Military experts have opined that Stein has put himself in the position of speaking publicly while in uniform by associating his Facebook page with the name of the armed forces, despite the disclaimer.

Stein holds that he is free to express personal opinions when off-duty and not in uniform, and that rules of the Defense Department allow soldiers the freedom to make political statements as long as they make them not as representatives of the armed forces.

Sergeant Gary Stein, who works as a meteorologist at Camp Pendleton, filed a lawsuit in San Diego federal court to block the military proceedings against him on the grounds of his First Amendment rights. A copy of the lawsuit, along with a copy of a letter sent to the Marine Corps on his behalf by U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter was posted on Stein’s Facebook page on Tuesay. Duncan, who is a former Marine, is supporting Stein, as are many others including the local representative of the ACLU.

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The Marine Corps. has not made any comment yet on the court action by Stein.





 

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