If not for Bears Den please move. Article on the Mail Online cut and paste but not the photos.
SHAMEFUL: Fury over UK soldiers investigated after performing Nazi-style salute in Helmand
MPs’ anger that gesture could be dismissed as ‘Loyalist tribute’
Picture believed to have been taken at an Army base in Helmand Province
It shows serving British soldiers two of which are giving Nazi-style salutes
They are standing in front of a Union Flag and the flag of Northern Ireland,
‘Invicta Loyal’ is the name of a Glasgow Rangers supporters’ club in Kent
MoD spokesman says the two soldiers seen saluting ‘have been spoken to’
By MARK NICOL, NICK CRAVEN and ANDY BEAVEN
PUBLISHED: 22:02, 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 23:32, 26 October 2013
In an image which will cause widespread outrage, two serving British soldiers appear to give Nazi-style salutes while standing to attention in front of the Union Flag.
Apparently taken at an Army base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the photograph will provoke international disgust as Remembrance Day approaches.
Last night the Ministry of Defence told The Mail on Sunday that both soldiers have been investigated by Army chiefs. A spokesman said: The two people doing the salute in the photo have been spoken to.
Shocking: These two soldiers making Nazi-style salutes in front of the Union Flag have been investigated by Army chiefs
‘This sort of behaviour has no place in the Armed Forces. We take such matters seriously.
MPs and ex-military leaders condemned the troops behaviour.
John Mann, chairman of the Commons All Party Group Against Anti-Semitism said: This is an insult to the memory of those who gave their lives to stop the Nazis.
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These idiots need to be re-educated and they should be sent to visit Auschwitz and see what happened there and witness the evil which so many people fought to stop.
So many thousands of people died for this country and the last thing we want is their memory being tarnished by a couple of idiots in uniform.
As Remembrance Sunday approaches, the MoD should send these guys around the country to clean war memorials.
The Ministry of Defence yesterday confirmed that the men in the photograph were genuine soldiers.
The photograph also shows the flag of Northern Ireland, while the Union Flag is inscribed with Invicta Loyal the name of a Glasgow Rangers supporters club, based in Kent.
Insult: In another picture published online the soldiers hold guns but their faces are obscured. ‘Invicta Loyal’ is the name of a Glasgow Rangers supporters’ club in Kent
There is a suggestion that the gesture may be a Red Hand of Ulster salute, a gesture once used by Rangers football fans to show allegiance with Northern Irish Loyalists.
But Mr Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, added: Whether they call it a Red Hand salute or whatever makes absolutely no difference this is one of the most offensive gestures they could make in the modern world.
Jeffrey Donaldson MP of the Democratic Unionist Party said: Anyone who would imitate a Nazi salute in front of the Union Flag or wearing the uniform dishonours these flags and the British Army.
Any symbolism associated with fascism has no place in the Unionist tradition or any regiment of the British Army.
‘We do not know to which regiment these soldiers belong but the Royal Irish Regiment, with which I am associated, has a proud record of fighting fascism.
Fellow Democratic Unionist MP Sammy Wilson added: This is not a salute made by marching bands [in Northern Ireland]. It is not clear what the context is but I do not think it can be explained away as some type of Red Hand of Ulster salute.
The Ministry of Defence said the men had been subjected to administrative action a process of investigation with possible punishment if the personnel are found to have breached Army regulations.
Soldiers are allowed to belong to political parties, but are banned from political marches and demonstrations, and are expected to abide by Army values.
Outrage: John Mann (left), chairman of the Commons’ All Party Group Against Anti-Semitism and Jeffrey Donaldson MP (right) of the Democratic Unionist Party are among those to voice their disgust
In another photograph published elsewhere on the internet, a group of soldiers are seen bedecked in the sashes and other regalia of the Orange Order.
Many of the pages on the Invicta Loyal website display open sectarian hatred, while it also includes loyalist songs such as The Billy Boys now banned at Rangers ground, Ibrox which includes the lines: Were up to our knees in Fenian Blood /Surrender or youll die.
The website also has photographs from a social event held by Invicta Loyal members where a gents toilet displayed a notice inviting supporters to P*** on a Papist as pictures of the Pope, Gerry Adams and IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands were stuck to the urinal.
Last month soldiers at a Rangers match as part of Armed Forces Day were accused of joining in sectarian singing. Troops who had been parading on the Ibrox pitch were seen to break ranks, and one soldier was allegedly photographed with a Keep Ulster Protestant scarf.
The incident was reported to the police and a file was also sent to Army chiefs.
THE SUSPECT RED HAND DEFENCE
Rangers fans were investigated by UEFA in 2007 when some made straight-armed salutes during a match against an Israeli team in Tel Aviv.
European footballs governing body was satisfied by Rangers explanation that the fans were making Red Hand of Ulster salutes but the club warned fans not to repeat the gesture.
Some experts, however, dismiss the idea that such a tradition exists.
Historian Ian S Wood, who has studied Ulster Loyalism for decades, said: Ive never seen or heard of anything called a red hand salute.
An MoD statement on the matter said at the time: Any personnel found to have fallen short of the Armed Forces values and standards will be dealt with by the chain of command and, if necessary, by the police.
So far there has been no announcement of disciplinary action against any of the troops and no charges brought by police.
John McMillan, former general secretary of the Rangers Supporters Association last night warned against one-arm salutes.
He said: It is something that fans should really avoid doing as it can be misinterpreted as a Nazi symbol and offend people. I do not think it is something we should be associated with and I do not think the club would welcome it.
I am quite sure it was not meant to be a Nazi salute. I have not seen fans making the Red Hand of Ulster salute myself, but I would advise against anyone doing it because of how it could be viewed by others.
Drew Roberton of the Rangers Supporters Associations agreed that such salutes were ill-advised.
He said: In this day and age people must be mindful of the gestures they make. Regardless of what their own opinion is, it doesnt necessarily fit with the wider view.
The Red Hand of Ulster salute is ill-advised. People have compared it to the Nazi salute and it could be misinterpreted as such it looks very similar so I would ask people to desist from doing it.
I am 100 per cent certain that the salute performed by these soldiers is not in any way showing support for the Nazis they are doing a Red Hand of Ulster salute. I am not surprised that they have done it but I would ask them to refrain from it.
But not everyone considered the soldiers transgression so seriously.
Belfast-born Iraq War commander Colonel Tim Collins, who led the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, said: These soldiers are behaving inappropriately in uniform but I wouldnt get too worried about soldiers behaving playfully.
If this is offensive then so is the First XV Rugby team not wearing regimental ties. This is beyond minor, it is a grain of sand and I do not think for a second that these soldiers should be removed from the British Army. Youd end someones career for having a laugh? How do people manage to be offended by so little?
A spokesman for the Royal British Legion, which launched its annual Poppy Appeal last week, said they could not comment on the incident as it was subject to Army discipline.
COMMENT: Im disgusted by this slur on memory of soldiers who died fighting the Nazis
By COL RICHARD KEMP (EX-COMMANDER UK FORCES AFGHANISTAN)
Condemnation: Col Richard Kemp
I took just one glance at this photograph today and felt utterly sickened. Whatever the reasons behind it, it looks awful and I condemn the behaviour of the soldiers involved.
All soldiers should know its abhorrent and offensive and even if done in jest will bring the British Army into disrepute.
I believe this is not the way most soldiers think and that this would be an isolated incident.
Clearly, British soldiers serving in Afghanistan face terrible dangers and even death and men find relief from the stress of fighting on the frontline in many ways.
But even if these men were doing just that, they have overstepped the mark.
Whenever they are wearing the uniform, they have a duty to remember how they must behave for they represent their colleagues, their regiment and the nation itself to the world.
Most of all they represent those who have fallen in battle in the past. The men in these photographs have stained with shame the honourable memory of those who came before them.
Their gesture is one that can never be defended or tolerated. Perhaps it wasnt meant as a Nazi salute it has been suggested it has some connection with Loyalists in Northern Ireland but their foolishness has left the image open to the worst interpretation.
These young men would do well to remember that tens of thousands of their forebears died fighting the Nazis in the Second World War.
That the picture has emerged so close to Remembrance Sunday is also regrettable as our thoughts turn to acknowledging the ultimate sacrifice of so many soldiers.
Sometimes soldiers do stupid things, it is in their nature, and in that regard they are the same as the rest of us.
All the same, for a soldier to make or pretend to make what might seem to be a Nazi salute in private, or in front of a small group of his colleagues, makes me feel very uneasy. The picture first emerged on the internet and so inevitably will be seen around the world arousing fury everywhere.
‘These men and the Army must learn from this’
One of the problems faced by military commanders today, with regard to the conduct of their men, is the proliferation of camera phones.
Practically all their soldiers will possess these devices, and even though these are not supposed to be used or carried in Afghanistan, these rules are sometimes broken.
The worst images that can flash back from the frontline are of soldiers bodies but that is not to belittle what is going on here. There are those who would call for the soldiers immediate dismissal but despite my disgust at their behaviour, as a former commander I feel that they should be shown leniency.
What the soldiers did was stupid but not a heinous crime. However, they and the Army as a whole must learn from this appalling episode. This photo raises issues in the area of political neutrality. This neutrality is essential.
Where British troops serve they must be seen to be impartial and never to sway towards any political grouping on the Left or the Right or towards any cause such as Irish Nationalism or extremist Loyalism.
The image appears as we face potential prosecutions for British soldiers from Bloody Sunday and amid reports of alleged collusion between the security services in Northern Ireland and Loyalist terrorist groups.
These pictures will do nothing to quell these fears.
( Source: Rangers Media FORUM http://ift.tt/1dcau5c )