Tea Party Marine Gary Stein Lies To CNN

Last week Gary Stein, the Marine sergeant who runs the Facebook page Armed Forces Tea Party, was found to have violated military rules of conduct when he made hostile remarks directed at his commanders, including his commander-in-chief, President Obama. The board hearing his case ruled unanimously to recommend an “other than honorable” discharge for Stein and he is now awaiting a final decision from the base’s general.

As if he weren’t already in enough trouble, Stein appeared on CNN this morning for an interview with Soledad O’Brien where he was given the opportunity to defend his behavior. In response to a question from O’Brien, Stein somehow thought it would advance his position to blatantly lie.

Gary Stein CNN

Stein: First of all let’s talk about those comments. Those comments were made on a closed forum. They were up for five minutes, which we found out from testimony in the hearing. And only three people saw them. In fact the only reason anybody has a picture of those posts or knows what those posts are is because a Marine master sergeant decided that he was gonna take a screen capture and send it out to God knows who.

This is shockingly stupid on Stein’s part because the truth is so easy to verify. Stein’s assertion that the comments were made on a closed forum is rebutted by the fact that the forum is still available and is wide open for anyone on Facebook to access. His claim that the comments were up for only five minutes is rebutted by the fact that some of them, including one specifically cited by O’Brien (pictured above), are still there weeks later. And he must surely know that his comments were seen by more than three people because they have “Likes” and responses attached to them (note the 114 “Likes” and 32 responses on the image above). Finally, that image was not sent to me by a Marine master sergeant. I captured it myself on Stein’s Facebook page, and so can you.

So Stein’s remarks on CNN were entirely, and certifiably, false. That dishonesty is surely going to be apparent to anyone reviewing his case. It is startling that his attorney, sitting next to him for the whole interview, permitted him to be so brazenly deceitful on national television.

That brings us to the identity of his attorney, Gary Kreep, of the United States Justice Foundation. Kreep’s biography reveals that he was the general counsel to the racist, anti-immigration group, The Minutemen. He has been affiliated with the radical and violent anti-choice group, Operation Rescue. He was a California delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1976 and 1980. He was also the creator of the “DefendGlenn” web site launched to counter the opposition to Glenn Beck that eventually led to his ouster from Fox News.

Most notably Kreep has been a leader of the “birther” movement that seeks to nullify Obama’s election on the grounds that he is not a U.S. citizen. Kreep has been one of the most vocal proponents of the birther myths going back to at least November 2008, when he tried to prevent California delegates to the Electoral College from casting their votes. He originally worked with birther queen, Orly Taitz, representing several clients, including Alan Keyes. He later replaced Taitz as counsel to birther litigant “Rev.” Wiley Drake. Drake is notable for publicly praying for the death of President Obama.

When a man like Drake selects you to represent him, over Orly Taitz, that is quite an endorsement. It is likewise revealing that Stein should retain Kreep out of all the lawyers available to represent him. He received help during his discharge hearing from the ACLU, and Tea Party organizers FreedomWorks are rallying support for his dubious cause. Yet the best he can do for legal representation is this Kreep (and how ’bout that tie?).

[Update] On April 25, 2012, the Marines formally discharged Stein as the commanding general of the base accepted the administrative board’s recommendation for discharge.

Fox News Heralds Anti-Obama Marine

Let’s face it, Fox News is unabashedly opposed to Barack Obama and everything his administration represents. The network has virtually conceded that it is nothing more than a promotional vehicle for conservative Republican politics and politicians.

Now Fox News has stepped even further across the line of objectivity by taking up the case of a Marine sergeant whose adventures in social media are blatantly disrespectful to his superiors and teeter toward insubordination or worse.

Sergeant Gary Stein is the founder of a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party.” According to reports from the Associated Press, Stein had been informed that he was in violation of Pentagon policy prohibiting political activities. The policy specifically forbids military personnel from using contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president. At first Stein cooperated with his commanders by taking down the Facebook page, but he later restored it based on his own conclusion that he was not in violation of any code. As a result, he is now the subject of an administrative action that could result in a discharge.

Stein is adamant that he is innocent of any infraction. he contends that he was exercising his free speech rights by posting messages in which he declared that he would refuse to follow any order issued by the President, his commander-in-chief, that he deemed unlawful.

“I’m completely shocked that this is happening,” Stein said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that’s a crime, what is America coming to?”

Technically, I agree with Stein on the matter of a soldier’s obligation to refuse to follow an unlawful order. That is a standard set after World War II that resulted in the inadmissibility of the defense that “I was just following orders.” But Stein had better have a damn good basis (and an opinion from a legal expert) before he engages in what might constitute mutiny. Stein had no such basis when he chose to ignore the orders of his commanders or to declare that he would refuse to follow orders from the President if those orders included detaining or disarming U.S. citizens. That overly broad standard would mean that Stein would not act against Adam Gadahn, the American who is presently the media adviser for Al Qaeda.

Stein’s story was broadcast on Fox News’ America Live with Megyn Kelly. Fox News also featured the story on both the Fox News web site and Fox Nation, where Stein has been treated as a hero for standing up to President Obama. However, he has a pretty thin case to make for his patriotism when he posts comments like this: “I say screw Obama. I will not follow orders given by him to me.” That comment has since been deleted and Stein says that he later qualified his comment to reflect that he would only disobey unlawful orders. But you can still find this comment on his Facebook page without qualification: “Obama is the “Domestic Enemy” our oath speaks about.”

Armed Forces Tea Party

That goes far beyond Stein’s assertion that he was merely stating what the military code says about following unlawful orders. It is an exhibition of overt disloyalty that the military ought not to abide. In fact, it designates the President as an enemy of the state, which would make him a suitable target, in Stein’s warped view, for hostile action or assassination. And that is exactly the view that Fox News, and their audience of pseudo-patriots, are applauding. Disgusting, isn’t it?

[Update] On April 6, a military board recommended that Stein be dismissed from service with “other than an honorable discharge” (i.e. dishonorable).

“The three-member Marine Corps administrative board at Camp Pendleton found that Sgt. Gary Stein had committed misconduct by posting anti-Obama comments on a Facebook page, calling the comments ‘contemptuous.’ […] The final decision on Stein’s status will be made by the commanding general of the Marine Corp Recruit Depot San Diego.”

[Update II] On April 25, 2012, the Marines formally discharged Stein as the commanding general of the base accepted the administrative board’s recommendation for discharge.