Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bad Behavior Caught on Video

Earlier this week, video of two separate instances of outrageous and shameful behavior were posted on Youtube for the world to see.  And, indeed, much of the world has been viewing it as these videos have both gone viral. 

The first video is a “disgusting” and “highly reprehensible” 39-second clip showing four men in combat gear standing over the three corpses with their genitals exposed as they relieve themselves. 

The men can be heard joking “Have a great day, buddy”, “Golden like a shower” and “Yeahhhh! as they groan with relief whilst urinating. The three corpses are all male and are wearing civilian clothes. The corpse appearing to be 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.

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.”

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 Honor”.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan described the acts as “highly reprehensible and disgusting.”

ISAF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings said: “The behavior depicted in this video is reprehensible and is not in keeping with the values of U.S. Armed Forces.”

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby said the video was deeply troubling: “Whoever it is, and whatever the circumstances, which we know is under investigation, it is egregious behavior.”

Marine 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.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Upton added: “Allegations of Marines not doing the right thing in regard to dead Taliban insurgents are very serious and, if proven, represent a failure to adhere to the high standards expected of American military personnel.

The other viral video is equally disturbing as it shows reprehensible behavior and a blatant abuse of power by a Thai official.  The 1.14 minute long clip, taken from footage of a close circuit camera at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, shows 55-year-old Sombat Chatchaiwaiyawit walking through a security checkpoint at the airport. The walk-though detector sounded the alarm when he passed through, prompting security official Sirichai Maichum, 33, to follow standard security procedure and scan him with a hand-held detector.

Mr Sombat refused to be searched and then visibly lost his temper. He began publicly berating Mr Sirichai and then slapped him with both hands on the ears.

Mr Sombat then shakes his ID badge at the apologetic security agent to indicate “do you know who I am?” which prompted Mr Sirichai to bow to him humbly several times and offer his repeated apology in order to defuse the situation.

The clip was posted on You Tube by someone who calls themselves “BilingualThailand,” who also includes their own comment in the caption saying that just because some people have high ranking titles does not mean they have high intellect. They go on to comment about how sad it is that high ranking Thai officials like to flex their muscles when dealing with lower ranking officials, but once they walk off Thai soil, they become closed-lipped mice themselves. 

In the latest development, Suvarnabhumi Airport Police has issued a summons for Mr. Sombat to present himself for questioning. Mr Sombat is the chief of the Thai Customs contraband and narcotics unit at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Mr. Sombat Chatchaiwaiyawit has seven days to respond to the summons. If he does not report to police, we will issue a warrant to arrest him,” said Pol Col Nattanan Nanasombat, Superintendent of Suvarnabhumi Airport Police.

Customs Department Director-General Somchai Poonsawat has ordered Mr Sombat transferred out of Suvarnabhumi Airport to work at the Customs Facilitation Office in Klong Toey, Bangkok. Mr Somchai also ordered an internal investigation into the incident. He expects the investigation to conclude within 30 days.

If he is found guilty of misconduct, he will face action in line with the rules of the Office of Civil Service Commission,” said Mr Somchai.“His actions have caused serious damage to the reputation of the Customs Department and it is unacceptable,” he added.

Mr Sirichai, the security official who was attacked by Mr Sombat, works for Asia Security Management (ASM), a Loxley subsidiary that provides security services at the airport. He filed a complaint against Mr Sombat after a doctor had confirmed he had sustained damage to his left eardrum.“Mr Sirichai has always carried out his duties well, and from the [video] clip we can see that he did nothing wrong,” said Passakorn Aksornsuwan, ASM’s human resources manager. The company has covered Sirichai’s medical expenses and given him days off until he is fully recovered. He will resume his regular duties [after that],” he added.

There you have it, two despicable actions caught on video.  Now it is time to ask the all-important question… “What if?”

Mad Sombat vs Urinating Marine

I don’t know if “two wrongs make a right” or not, but it does make it interesting and entertaining. One is shaking his badge, the other is shaking something else. BTW, my money is on the marine.

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