IVAW

Marine Corps Attempts to Stifle IVAW Free Speech

From the Iraq Veterans Against the War Newsletter:

I am writing to let you know about an urgent issue that is affecting several of our IVAW members. Adam Kokesh and Liam Madden are both very active members and former Marines.  Because of their outspoken opposition to the war, the Marine Corps is threatening to revoke their honorable discharges and change them to other than honorable.  We cannot allow this suppression of free speech to occur!  Adam and Liam need our help to pay for legal defense and travel to their hearings.  Adam just found out his hearing is in Kansas City on June 4th, less than two weeks away!

Attached below is a letter from Adam, describing his situation and asking for your help.  Besides financial contributions, we also need people who are in the Kansas City area to gather support for Adam before his June 4th hearing.  Please contact me at Kelly@ivaw.org if you are in the area and would like to find out how you can help.  I will keep you updated on both Adam and Liam’s cases as they unfold.

Thank you so much for your time and support, it really means everything to our veterans who dare to speak the truth.

In Peace,
Kelly Dougherty
Former Sergeant Army National Guard
Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War

May 22, 2007

Dear Friend of Iraq Veterans Against the War,

My name is Adam Kokesh and I need your help. Because of my involvement in IVAW, I have been singled out and called for a military hearing to be made an example of for those of us who have spoken out against the war. I have been an active member of IVAW for a mere four months, but have already garnered enough attention to be perceived as a threat by those using our military to maintain political support for the occupation of Iraq.

I was honorably discharged after serving over six years, and two tours in Iraq, last November. I am part of the Inactive Ready Reserve until June 18, 2007, less than a month away. After my discharge, I moved to Washington, DC to get a Masters in Political Management at GWU, and joined IVAW. I have since appeared on behalf of IVAW speaking at concerts, universities, and high schools. I have written about my views on the occupation and my military experience for the IVAW website and on my blog.

Most notably, I participated in Operation First Casualty on March 19th. This was a mock combat patrol through Washington, DC in order to bring home the truth of the occupation of Iraq, because the first casualty of war is the truth. I appeared in my uniform, without my name, without rank, and without the patch that says US MARINES. I received an email of warning about possible violations of the UCMJ for appearing in uniform at a political event. Instead of ignoring it like everyone I know who has received similar emails, I wrote a strongly worded reply admonishing the Major who was “investigating” me for wasting time on such trivial matters. The text of that email is posted here.

I soon received a package from the Marine Corps informing me of a separation hearing to re-separate me with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. A scan of the complete package can be seen here. I have sought private counsel for this hearing, as is my right. I intend to bring as many witnesses as possible to testify to both the character of my service and the nature of my involvement with IVAW. The Marine Corps only made it known to us today that the hearing will be held on June 4, in a mere 13 days. They have also decided to activate me for the hearing and hold it in Kansas City, home of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command.

This case is important because the intimidation of servicemen and women who speak out will suppress the truth about the Iraq occupation. With the help of IVAW, I intend to fight this to the end and stand up for the rights of all members of our armed forces. Please support this effort by mailing a check made out to IVAW with “Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund” in the memo to PO Box 8296, Philadelphia, PA 19101 or by going here, clicking on “Donate Now” and including “Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund” in the Special Project Support window. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Adam Kokesh
adam@ivaw.org
kokesh.blogspot.com

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