A picture showing a US Marine scout sniper team posing in front of what appears as a flag of the notorious Nazi organization SS, has surfaced online. The Marine Corps confirmed that the embarrassing photo taken in Afghanistan is real.
The use of the SS symbol in not acceptable and the Corps has addressed the issue, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton said in a statement Thursday.
He did not elaborate on what measures have been taken, but stressed that the Marines shown in the picture are no longer with the unit.
The picture circulating on the internet was taken in September 2010 in Afghanistan’s Sangin province.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) in Washington said it was outraged by the photograph.
“Heads need to roll and this needs to be fully investigated,” said Mikey Weinstein, founder of MRFF.
The Marines posing in the photo wanted to identify themselves as scout snipers, not Nazis, reports the British newspaper Daily Mail, citing a spokesman of the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was the military wing of the German Nazi Party. They played an essential part in many crimes against humanity, including the genocide of Jews in territories controlled by the Third Reich.
The twin Sig rune, resembling two lightning bolts, was used as the insignia of the criminal organization.
The scandal comes less than a month after the US Marines were marred by another scandal. Several of its scout snipers were filmed while urinating on dead bodies of Taliban militants. The tape surfaced on the internet, causing public uproar and official condemnation of the desecration.