US to probe Marines urinating videos

Washington: A shocking video has appeared online showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, triggering protests from Muslim lobbies and prompting Pentagon to announce that it is investigating the authenticity of the film.

The video shows what appears to be four US Marines dressed in full military uniform relieving themselves onto bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware they have been filmed. "Have a great day, buddy", one of the Marines is caught as saying after the act. US media reports quoting military officials said that the weapons carried by the servicemen indicated that they could be members of elite sniper teams.

Some 20,000 Marines are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly around the southern city of Kandahar and Helmand province.

The Department of Defence is deeply troubled by the video, Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt John Kirby said. "Whoever it is, and whatever the circumstances – which we know is under investigation – it is egregious behaviour and unacceptable for a member of the military," he said.

A Marine Corps statement said, "The authenticity and the origin of the video has not been verified. The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.This matter will be fully investigated," the Marine Corps said.

The comments from the Pentagon came as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil right group in the US, in a letter to the Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, condemned the desecration of corpses and demanded that the guilty be punished.

"Any guilty parties must be punished to the full extent allowed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by relevant American laws," CAIR said in the letter, copy of which was released to the media.