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Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
James Amos issues official apology, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pledges to launch investigation just one day after MRFF reveals photos to the international press and sends letter demanding immediate investigation of Marines displaying this notorious, blood-stained symbol


Panetta Orders 'SS'
Photo Investigated

Friday, February 10, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the Marine Corps on Friday to re-investigate and take appropriate action against the Marine snipers who posed with a logo resembling a notorious Nazi symbol.

  • An initial Marine investigation into the matter concluded that the troops would not be disciplined because there was no malicious intent. The Marines mistakenly believed the "SS" in the shape of white lightning bolts on the blue flag were a nod to sniper scouts — not members of Adolf Hitler's special unit that murdered millions of Jews, Catholics, gypsies and others, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

  • But the furor over the photo — which was taken in September 2010 in Afghanistan — grew as Jewish leaders and others questioned whether it was an innocent mistake.

    Pentagon press secretary George Little said that racist and anti-Semitic symbols have no place alongside U.S. service members.

    And in a statement released Friday, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos ordered individual instruction for the sniper and reconnaissance Marines about the prohibitions against inappropriate symbols.

    "I want to be clear that the Marine Corps unequivocally does not condone the use of any such symbols to represent our units or Marines," Amos said. "On behalf of the Marine Corps and all Marines, I apologize to all offended by this regrettable incident."

  • Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., said the scandals hurt U.S. military missions. His organization wrote to Amos and Panetta on Thursday (click here to read letter and statement), calling on them to "condemn this stomach-turning display without equivocation or delay and severely punish all of those responsible."

    The Military Religious Freedom Foundation released another photo showing a Marine and his rifle with the "SS" logo. According to the Marine Corps Times, embedded electronic information in the image shows that it was released by the Corps in 2004 and taken at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Two Marines in it were with a scout sniper platoon.

    The newspaper said that suggests the practice is more widespread and that the logo's use is meant to signify "scout sniper," a position exclusive to the Corps. The Army has scouts and snipers but considers the positions to be separate.

Click here to read this
article at The New York Times


Those Marines Bought an
SS Flag Without Knowing
What it Was? Seriously?
That’s Your Excuse?

by Chris Rodda, MRFF Senior Research Director

Friday, February 10, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • There are.. a whole bunch of articles with titles like "Marines: Nazi flag was mistaken for their own," since the Marine Corps’ official excuse is that the use of the flag was just a naive mistake on the part of Marines who didn’t know what the flag was and just thought the SS stood for Sniper Scout.
  • Really? And just how does someone go about buying a Nazi SS flag without realizing that it’s a Nazi SS flag? Well, I spent hours yesterday afternoon and last night trying to do just that, scouring the web for an SS flag that could be bought by mistake. And, big surprise, I couldn’t find a single place where an SS flag wasn’t very clearly being sold as what it is — a Nazi flag.
  • In the course of searching, I found what I’m certain is the exact flag in the Marines’ photo. It’s the only one anywhere on the web with a blue background, and laying the image from the website on top of the Marines’ photo shows that every dimension of the flags are identical, from the size and proportions of every part of the logo to the slightly off-center position of the logo on the flag. You can even see in the Marines’ photo that their flag had the same creases from being folded as the flag for sale on the website.
  • The description of the flag on the website, Traders of the Lost Surplus, is an "ss double runic flag, a favorite and well know ss flag," and the entire website is full of Nazi stuff. No Marine, even if they previously didn’t know that this was a Nazi symbol, could possibly be so dumb that they wouldn’t realize at this point that this is a Nazi flag! Even if someone was unfamiliar with the SS logo, all the swastika items would certainly tip them off.

Click here to read this article at


U.S. Marines And Defense Secretary Panetta Praised For Response To Nazi SS Photo

Friday, February 10, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the U.S. Marine Corps and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for taking "clear and immediate steps" in response to a photograph on the Internet of a sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of a flag bearing the symbol of the Nazi SS.
  • After the League spoke out earlier today, U.S. Marines Commandant Gen. James F. Amos contacted Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, by telephone to apologize to the Jewish community for the hurt that this ignorance and insensitivity may have caused. The Commandant made unequivocally clear that the Marine Corps does not condone and will not tolerate the use of Nazi symbols or imagery.
  • Mr. Panetta's office also reached out to ADL and issued a statement denouncing the conduct of the unit involved and saying: "Racist and anti-Semitic symbols have absolutely no place alongside the men and women of America's armed forces."

Click here to read this
article at


Amos sorry for Marine
use of Nazi SS logo

Friday, February 10, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Commandant Gen. Jim Amos has ordered an investigation of the scout sniper community’s usage of the notorious Nazi SS organization’s logo after a platoon in Afghanistan displayed it with the U.S. flag.
  • "On behalf of the Marine Corps and all Marines, I apologize to all offended by this regrettable incident," Amos said. The incident has brought scrutiny to a longtime practice in the scout sniper community. Its members have used the "lightning bolt" SS logo for years on patches, posters and tattoos, a nod toward their title. The position is exclusive to the Corps; the Army has scouts and snipers, but separates their duties into two occupations.
  • The controversy erupted Thursday after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation distributed the flag photograph and another image from 2004 showing a Marine posing with a 7.62mm M40 sniper rifle inscribed with an "SS," leading to widespread media coverage. The Corps acknowledged that the inspector general at Pendleton’s I Marine Expeditionary Force was made aware of the "SS" flag photograph in November.

  • A full investigation is necessary, said Mikey Weinstein, president of the MRFF, an organization that says it’s devoted to religious freedom in the military. The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was a military organization that committed a variety of war crimes, including killing U.S. prisoners of war. It was outlawed by Germany after World War II. "We don’t have all the information, but we know enough to know the Marine Corps needs to open a full investigation," Weinstein said. "If these guys just get a non-judicial punishment, it’s absolutely absurd."
  • MRFF’s action was prompted by 45-active duty Marines expressing concern about the logo’s use, the organization said in a letter to Amos, Panetta and other top Pentagon officials.

Click here to read this
article at Army Times


Panetta Orders 'SS'
Photo Investigated

Friday, February 10, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Marine Corps to investigate the photo in which a group of Marine scout snipers posed before a flag bearing the lightning-bolt double S of the Nazi SS.

    "Racist and anti-Semitic symbols have absolutely no place alongside the men and women of America's armed forces,"
    Panetta spokesman George Little said in a brief statement this afternoon.

  • Panetta's decision to take a deeper dive into the embarrassing photo comes as civil and human rights groups, among them the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, turned up the heat on the Pentagon Thursday, within hours of the image going viral over the Internet.

  • The photo was published by the website Knights Armament Blog last May, but gained worldwide attention on Thursday when it was circulated to journalists by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a civil rights group known for taking on the military over issues of unauthorized proselytizing within the ranks and religious bias.

    MRFF founder and executive director Mikey Weinstein said Marines unhappy with the use of the Nazi iconography gave him the images knowing he would publicize them.

Click here to read this
article at



NO SNOWFLAKE IN AN AVALANCHE: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, its Battle to Defend the Constitution, and One Family’s Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places (Vireo, 2012)

by Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein and Davin Seay

Click here to order, learn more


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