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In the Media

article imageU.S. Marine faces dismissal over criticism of Obama on Facebook

article:322600:41::0
By Anne Sewell
Apr 8, 2012 in Internet
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Camp Pendleton - U.S. Marine sergeant Gary Stein made the mistake of criticizing President Barack Obama on his Facebook page. That mistake may cause him to be dismissed in shame.
Stein superimposed images of President Obama's face on to a poster advertising the movie "Jackass". According to his lawyers, he had done nothing more than exercise his right to free speech.
Captain James Baehr, a defense lawyer representing Stein, said: "We are truly surprised and disappointed but it was an honor to fight for a hero like Sgt. Stein and every other marine's right to speak freely."
Baehr also stressed that Stein had, in fact, not broken any existing law.
Stein is a member of both The United States Justice Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union and these groups say that his First Amendment rights are being violated.
However the prosecution has said that Stein has repeatedly violated Pentagon policies and should be dismissed because he ignored a warning from his superiors about his various activities on the popular social media network.
Prosecutor Captain John Torresala claims that the marine's anti-Obama Facebook postings and comments could influence junior marines.
The policies of the Pentagon limit the freedom of speech of servicemen, including criticism of the country's commander-in-chief. Personnel in the military are not allowed to set up a political club, nor to openly support any political candidate or party on TV or in a public event.
As well as the Jackass image recently posted to his Facebook page, he has also referred to the "Armed Forces Tea Party" and had superimposed Obama's face on another movie poster, this one for "The Incredibles", which he renamed "The Horribles".
In the meantime Stein has insisted that all the comments and views posted on Facebook were his own, and not the military's and he has also placed a relevant disclaimer on the page.
After a one day hearing at Camp Pendleton for Sgt. Gary Stein, the board recommended that the marine be given an other-than-honorable discharge, meaning Stein would lose his benefits and also, should this come to pass, he will not be allowed on any military base.
In the meantime, until conclusions are reached in the matter, Stein has been removed from his position at the Marine Recruiting Depot in San Diego and has now been assigned a desk job with no computer access.
article:322600:41::0
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