IVAW Member Adam Kokesh may lose his 'Honorable' status

Submitted by tnjp on June 1, 2007 - 10:51am.

IVAW Member Adam Kokesh may lose his "Honorable" status over a protest
Click here to read Adam Kokesh's letter requesting support and a copy of the notice he recieved from the Marine Corps detailing the charges against him. [Below this release is his letter to Captain Sibert and Brigadier General Moore, who is the convening authority for the hearing.]

After participating in an Iraq Veterans Against the War demonstration in Washington, DC earlier this year at which he wore parts of his uniform, Adam received a warning from Major Whyte, who had been assigned to investigate the incident. His strongly worded email response (see below) resulted in the Marine Corps pursuing Adam's separation from his current Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) status with an Other Than Honorable discharge... If this happens, Adam will lose all military benefits and must pay back monies he received thru the G.I. bill to go to college. Adam has chosen to exercise his right to a hearing to challenge the Marine Corps' charges against him. Last week, the prosecuting attorney, Captain Sibert, offered Kokesh a general discharge. To accept this would be to allow the Marines to say that members of the IRR do not have freedom of speech, so naturally, he declined.

Two other IVAW members and fellow Marines, Liam Madden of VT and Cloy Richards of MO, also participated with Kokesh in the DC demonstration and also face punishment from the Marines. Madden, co-founder of the active duty Appeal for Redress (www.AppealforRedress.org) has been accused of making disloyal statements and wearing his uniform against regulations. He will appear at today’s press conference and as a witness for Kokesh at the hearing on June 4th. Richards too has been threatened with losing his disability and other military benefits if he wears any part of his uniform at an anti-war event.

The implications of these cases against IVAW members may be far reaching, as the prosecution of a IRR military member under these circumstances is unprecedented. “At stake is the right of freedom of speech for the hundreds of thousands of members of the IRR, as well as the nation’s right to get the unbiased truth about Iraq,” stated Garett Reppenhagen, chair of IVAW Board of Directors.

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Dear Captain Sibert and Brigadier General Moore,

As an esteemed US Attorney and a General, you both must have a sense of the potential significance of my separation hearing. The prosecution of a member of the inactive reserve under these circumstances is unprecedented. As citizens, we all have a right to freedom of speech. In the Marines, we often joke that you signed away that freedom, and I understand the necessity for certain restrictions while on active duty. But those who have risked their lives to defend the rights of all Americans have a special claim to those rights when they have completed their service. Is the Marine Corps attempting to strip away those rights from the hundreds of thousands in the inactive reserves?

Maybe that’s not the case. Perhaps I am being singled out because I have become a vocal opponent of the war. Maybe Brigadier General Darrell L. Moore just got upset when he saw a picture of a Marine in the paper disagreeing with him. Maybe that’s when he decided to order Colonel Steve Brown, Deputy Commander of the Mobilization Command to recommend that I be separated with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. Maybe he thought that I would be intimidated by the long letter, the official letterhead, and the threats in official Marine Corps terminology. Maybe he thought that I would just ignore it, and let the Marines “paper-f***” me behind my back. Maybe I would shut up for a while. But let me tell you, you messed with the wrong veteran.

While there may be some purpose of this prosecution in order to maintain the, “good order and discipline” of the inactive reserve, it is clear by its prejudice that it is intended to silence the voices of dissent. Thousands of taxpayers’ dollars are being spent on this case. I love the Marine Corps, and to see it abused for political ends makes me sick. You should all be ashamed to call yourselves Marines.

I joined the Marines out of patriotism. I said that when I enlisted in 1999, before it was cool, and even wrote it as my reason on the form I filled out at the Military Entrance Processing Station. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Now that I am out of the Marines, I am continuing my patriotic duty by speaking out. It is Marines like you, Brigadier General Moore, and Colonel Brown, who are preventing the American public from hearing the truth about Iraq by intimidating those who would disagree with you from speaking out. If the policies that you support are so righteous, why are you afraid of the truth?

If I accept this “plea bargain,” I would have to allow you to punish me for speaking my mind, allow you to say that it is somehow less than honorable for thousands of IRR Marines to exercise their freedom of speech, allow you to silence the voices of those whose experiences are most relevant in the most pressing debate before the nation, and allow you to say that Thomas Jefferson was wrong. If this is your intent, I would ask to please, kindly, go f*** yourself. I will not allow it.

Semper Fi,

Adam Kokesh, PFC
Proud F***ing Civilian


What can you do to help:
1. Donate to IVAW’s legal defense fund to help get Adam and his supporters to the hearing in Missouri
2. Attend his hearing at the Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City, MO at noon on Monday, June 4th, 2007
3. Urge your representative to support Adam’s case and veterans' rights to free speech
4. Contact your local media to cover the story (Click here to download a press release.)
5. Send an Op Ed and/or Letter to the Editor to your local paper

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