A US Army officer is being investigated after a TikTok video of him making disparaging remarks about Jews and the Holocaust surfaced on social media. The video appears to show 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, who amassed nearly 3 million TikTok followers, saying he would not be verified on the app due to the nature of his "dark jokes." Freihofer goes on to say that a "Jewish person's favorite Pokémon character" is Ash, the name of the protagonist in the popular cartoon and video game series, in a reference to the Nazi's extermination of 6 million European Jews as part of the Holocaust. David Lapan, a former Defense Department spokesman, told Insider the video was distasteful. "It is a glaring example of what the military services try to avoid in social media," Lapan told Insider. "On the one hand, we encourage service members to use social media, but to do so responsible and in ways that reflect positively on their service. This video fails."
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A US Army officer is being investigated after a TikTok video of him making disparaging remarks about Jews and the Holocaust surfaced on social media. "We are investigating reports of a Soldier assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps allegedly making vile remarks on a social media video," the North Carolina-based XVIII Airborne Corps confirmed in a statement. "The statement made in the video is completely inconsistent with our values. We will review all facts and take appropriate action." In a separate statement, the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division also confirmed it was launching an investigation of the "vile remarks" from the TikTok video, adding that the officer was "suspended of any and all leadership authorities effective immediately." The video appears to show 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, who amassed nearly 3 million TikTok followers and over 135 million "likes" on his account, saying he could not be verified on the app due to the nature of his "dark jokes." Freihofer goes on to say that a "Jewish person's favorite Pokémon character" is Ash, the name of the protagonist in the popular cartoon and video game series. At the end of the short video, Freihofer proclaims "if you get offended, get the f--- out, because it's a joke." "Don't be a pussy," Freihofer added.
2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer, a popular TikTok influencer with nearly 3 mil followers, posted a joke about the holocaust.“If you get offended, get the fuck out because it’s a joke,” he says.May be contrary to Army's “Think, Type, Post” social media policy, but hey what do I know pic.twitter.com/TpkLr1xhPt — Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) August 31, 2020
Freihofer did not appear in uniform during the video, but other clips on his account shows him performing military tasks in fatigues. Freihofer is likely a new soldier in the Army. Second lieutenants are the most junior rank for newly-commissioned officers in the Army and typically have less than two years of service. The officers command platoon-size groups of roughly 16 to 44 soldiers. Freihofer did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Public response to the viral video, which was first uploaded by Task & Purpose editor-in-chief Paul Szoldra on Monday, was swift. "This is completely unacceptable," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, the senior-most enlisted soldier in the service, said on Twitter. "On social media or not, racist jokes are racist. Period." David Lapan, a former Defense Department spokesman, concurred with Grinston's assessment and told Insider the video was distasteful. "It is a glaring example of what the military services try to avoid in social media," Lapan told Insider. "On the one hand, we encourage service members to use social media, but to do so responsible and in ways that reflect positively on their service. This video fails."
Lapan added that despite Freihofer's likely nascent career in the military, his lack of experience was not an excuse for the tone in the video. "Quite simply, in the military, we have high expectations and place a lot of responsibility on people of a very young age," Lapan said. "We enlist people in the military at 17 years old. But as part of their training process, again, they are implicated with the values of the particular service." "We teach them what things are appropriate and inappropriate because at the end of the day, being in the military means you might have to use deadly force against people," Lapan added. "You might be faced with very difficult and life-altering decisions at 17, 18, 19 years old." The military has struggled with the proliferation of unflattering TikTok videos that have emerged on numerous social media apps, many of them containing service members wearing a uniform, or half-dressed in one. In one recent TikTok video, two US Army soldiers appeared to dance to rapper Cardi B's song "WAP," prompting fierce backlash from a predominately male audience. The US military officially banned the use of the app for its troops, regardless of whether they appeared in videos wearing a uniform, citing concerns with its ownership of the China-based technology firm, ByteDance. President Donald Trump has railed against TikTok and claimed that ByteDance "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." In 2019, Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, said that criticism for a service members' use of Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops. Berger added that the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for." "That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'" "That's not their fault. That's on us," Berger added. "Once they begin to understand the risks, what the impact to them is tactically … then it becomes clear. I don't blame them for that. This is a training and education that we have to do." Madison Hall contributed reporting.Join the conversation about this story »
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Americans are 'not sensitized' to high US casualties likely in a future war, Marine Corps' top officer says
Summary List Placement The US public is not used to the heavy casualties that are likely...Summary List Placement The US public is not used to the heavy casualties that are likely in a future conflict between similarly powerful forces, the Marine Corps' top general said this week. The Corps, like other military branches, is reorienting to face a rival with comparable capabilities — namely Russia or China — in an era of renewed great-power competition. Such a fight would mean heavy combat losses, which has its own deterrent effect, Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said at a Defense One event Thursday. "We're not resigned to high casualties, but we should not think that in a great power competition it's going to be clean," Berger said in response to a question comparing a future conflict in Asia to World War II. In a scenario where both adversaries are "pretty strong," neither would look for "head-on-head" conflict but rather seek out the other's weaknesses, Berger said. History suggests a direct clash between nuclear powers is unlikely. The US, Russia, and China have fought numerous proxy conflicts, but the only nuclear-armed states to go to war with each other are India and Pakistan, who share a disputed border and antipathy dating to their traumatic founding. But there is still a risk, Berger said. "Great power competition, as does counterinsurgency, comes with casualties if it comes to a scrap." Berger is just the most recent senior officer to make such a warning. In his first major strategic document, published this month, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said the US has had "a historically-anomalous period of dominance" in the air since the first Gulf War. Brown cautioned that future airmen "must be prepared" for "combat attrition rates ... more akin to the World War II era." Air losses in World War II were heavy. Between 1942 and 1945, more than 26,000 members of the Eighth Air Force were killed over Europe. About 7,000 US troops have been killed in the post-September 11 wars in the Middle East. (Direct deaths of combatants and civilians in those wars are close to 800,000.) "We haven't had that kind of high number of casualties in a long while," Berger said Thursday. "The public is not sensitized to that today, on either side. Hence ... neither side wants that kind of a conventional force-on-force fight ... that doesn't work to your advantage." Soft spots Berger has pursued a force redesign to make the Marines lighter, more mobile, and better suited to operate in small units on islands across the Pacific. That has meant a number of dramatic changes, like getting rid of "big, heavy things" like tanks and artillery, cutting aviation units, and reducing overall force size. "We have to distribute the forces, first of all, to give the adversary a lot of looks from a lot of different directions in every single domain," Berger said Thursday. By presenting "a lot of different looks," he added, "you make it very difficult for them to focus their strengths." That distribution can mitigate casualties, but Berger emphasized the overarching operational goal: deterrence. "It's a distributed way of fighting and maneuvering so that you can put the enemy in a dilemma, and he says 'OK, it's not worth it today.'" Berger has noted the logistical challenges of a dispersed conflict, which the service hasn't faced decades. Similarly, medical care will be a greater challenge over those distances, he said Thursday. The Corps has the "mechanics" needed to deal with combat casualties, but Marines also have to "sensitize ourselves," Berger said, citing the impracticality of the "golden hour," the period between wounding and reaching appropriate medical care that became the norm in Afghanistan and Iraq. "That's not reasonable when you're fighting a distributed fight, so that means we have to have a medical capability more forward than we did before," Berger said. Wounded troops were often able to reach level-three trauma care in that "golden hour," but a distributed fight means that could take "four hours or four days," Berger added. "We have to deliver medical capabilities [and] logistics far forward in a different way than we needed to in Afghanistan or Iraq." Unmanned vessels and other methods are being developed or have been proposed to resolve new logistical and medical challenges — for the latter, researchers have even looked at changing how the body works. A peer adversary will target that "logistical backside" or any other "soft spot," Berger said. "They will try to put pressure on us in any weak spot that they see. We're going to do the same."SEE ALSO: The US Air Force's special operators are learning new tricks to fight in the tough Arctic environment Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch the US Marines place a temporary bridge across the Colorado River
Ahmed al-Babati was arrested for protesting in uniform against UK links to Saudi bombingAnti-war campaigners are...Ahmed al-Babati was arrested for protesting in uniform against UK links to Saudi bombingAnti-war campaigners are calling on the army to drop proceedings against a soldier who was arrested after he staged a one-man protest against Britain’s involvement in the Saudi bombing of Yemen near Downing Street.Ahmed al-Babati, a lance corporal in the Royal Signals, absconded from duty to protest in his uniform in Whitehall on Monday. During his demonstration he blew a whistle every 10 minutes, representing how often a child is said to die in the conflict. Continue reading...
'Imagine if you're Colin Kaepernick': Former Green Beret who advised NFL player to kneel criticizes viral attack dog video
A retired US Army Special Forces soldier who advised former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist...A retired US Army Special Forces soldier who advised former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick said that a demonstration at the National Navy SEAL Museum, where dogs bit a human target wearing Kaepernick's football jersey, was tasteless and lacked critical thinking. "That was a very specific intention – as if he's the antithesis of the American flag, a symbol of freedom, or military stance," Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret, told Insider. "It's almost like he's an enemy of the United States." Boyer consulted with Kaepernick — who sparked controversy over kneeling during the national anthem —on how to respectfully protest during the national anthem in 2016. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A retired US Army Special Forces soldier who advised former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick criticized the US Navy for hosting a demonstration that featured dogs biting a human target wearing Kaepernick's football jersey, as tasteless and lacking in any critical thinking. "I thought it was a soft-target thing. It was pretty weak," Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and a former long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, told Insider. "They're trying to raise money for a charity event and that's what they were using? I don't know, I think that it's a weak move." Boyer noted that the decision to dress the target in a Kaepernick jersey was done with "very specific intention – as if he's the antithesis of the American flag, a symbol of freedom, or military stance. It's almost like he's an enemy of the United States." A video of several dogs attacking a man wearing protective gear under a Kaepernick football jersey received over 7 million views after it circulated on social media over the weekend. The demonstration was hosted in 2019 by the National Navy SEAL Museum in Florida, a nonprofit group that is not supervised by the US Navy, and included armed participants who wore camouflaged uniforms. Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce used “Colin Kaepernick stand-in" for K-9 demonstration at fundraiser last year #BecauseFlorida https://t.co/COHFCeJ3GN pic.twitter.com/EpcELHxrSe — Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 2, 2020 The Navy said in a statement that initial indications showed that there were no military equipment or active-duty personnel used during the event. On Tuesday, the service branch announced it would cut ties with the non-profit organization due the perception of the video, adding that it was "completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of ... the US Navy." "While the museum is an independent non-profit organization and the participants were contracted employees from outside the [Department of Defense], in many ways, these facts are irrelevant. We have been inextricably linked to this organization that represents our history," US Navy Rear Adm. Collin Green of the Naval Special Warfare Command said in an email obtained by the Associated Press. "We may not have contributed to the misperception in this case, but we suffer from it and will not allow it to continue," Green reportedly added. Retired Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, a former Pentagon spokesman, agreed that the demonstration put the Navy and the SEAL community "in a very bad light." "I'm also concerned with any of the general public who were over there watching the demonstration, and not being able to make the distinction between a private organization and the military itself — especially when you have people carrying weapons and dressed in uniforms that people associate with the military," Lapan told Insider. "The stunt is in extremely poor taste," Lapan added. Boyer likened the demonstration to comedians "who consistently use a soft target like Donald Trump." "To a lot of people it might be funny, but it's an easy way out," Boyer said. "I'd like people to think a little harder and to try to be more creative and uniting. "Imagine if you're Colin Kaepernick in this situation," Boyer added. Boyer, who now leads several veterans groups, became acquainted with Kaepernick in 2016 after writing an open letter to the football player. At the time, Kaepernick drew criticism after he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem at football games, as a protest to police brutality against African Americans. In his letter, Boyer wrote that he was trying to understand Kaepernick's views and that he was keeping an open mind. "I'm not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It's your inalienable right," Boyer wrote. "What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I'd be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I've never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you've gone through is as ignorant as someone who's never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it's like to go to war." "Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I'm trying to listen to what you're saying and why you're doing it," Boyer added. "I look forward to the day you're inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I'll be standing right there next to you." Following his letter, Boyer and Kaepernick held a meeting, where the two discussed how to send a message that would resonate with more observers. Boyer advised that kneeling, rather than sitting down, would do just that. Kaepernick played for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 season but then opted out of his contract after one year. He became a free agent but failed to obtain a contract with another NFL team. In 2018, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell banned players from kneeling during the national anthem, and threatened to fine teams if any of their players violated the rule. In 2017, Kaepernick sued the league, claiming there was collusion to keep him out of the league, and settled his case with the NFL in 2019. President Trump has periodically waded into the kneeling controversy. In 2017 he referred to Kaepernick as "son of a bitch," and a year later he told Fox & Friends, "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the country." Trump has recently reversed course over Kaepernick, as has Goodell, who in June — following protests around the death of George Floyd — publicly apologized for the earlier ban. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," he said. Join the conversation about this story »