US Marines official dismissed for leaking video of arrest of Henoko protesters
March 20, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
Two activists protesting construction of a replacement base for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Henoko were dragged onto U.S. Marine Camp Schwab by the Japanese security guards working for the U.S. military on February 22. The U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa has since dismissed Robert Eldridge, the foreign policy deputy director of U.S. Marine Corps on Okinawa, for leaking video footage of the protesters being detained. The footage appears to be shot from a surveillance camera inside Camp Schwab. Several people involved revealed his dismissal. While Eldridge has been stepped-down, the Marines Corps has not officially disclosed the job title and full name of the person punished. However, a Marines Corps spokesperson explained to the Ryukyu Shimpo that they have punished the person involved in revealing the footage through an improper route.
Eldridge is now on leave of absence. The Ryukyu Shimpo has sent emails to Eldridge regarding his punishment, but he has not returned them as of March 19.
In the leaked video, Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center and Daigaku Tanimoto can be seen being dragged onto the base by the Japanese security guards for allegedly trespassing onto the base on February 22. The footage appears to be shot from a surveillance camera inside the base.
According to the people involved, Eldridge provided the video to a 51-year-old man living in Okinawa. The man uploaded the video on YouTube on March 9. He said that he could not say how he got the video.
A spokesperson for the Public Affairs Office of the Marine Corps Base on Okinawa told the Ryukyu Shimpo that they did not release the video and told the reporter to ask the one who uploaded it. They denied their organization’s involvement in the leak. However, Marine Corps authorities have whistled a different tune, admitting on March 14 the video leakage was an inside job.
(English translation by T&CT)
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