February 5, 2010

Stop the Illegal Extradition of Iraq Vet Marc Hall to Iraq.

US military plans to extradite stop-lossed Iraq war vet to Iraq for court martial over protest rap song

Veterans for Peace, IVAW, Courage To Resist and many others are encouraging us to support Marc immediately as he may be shipped out any day. Following are two posts about his situation.

The Auburn Journal in California:

Since December 11 an Iraq War veteran and rap musician named Marc Hall as been sitting in the Liberty, Georgia jail. Hall wrote an anti-war song when he was issued a "stop-loss" order after he had finished his tour in Iraq and returned home to his wife and kids and his music.

Under his hip-hop alias, Marc Watercus, Marc Hall sent his song to the Pentagon to protest the stop-loss policy. Hall told his military superiors he opposed stop-loss and the war in Iraq and that his song was a “free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy.” Hall's sergeant told him he actually liked the song and didn’t consider it to be seditious or a threat.

But Hall's base commander at Ft. Stewart had Hall arrested. He then contracted with civilian police authorities to imprison Hall until some future date when a court marshal might be convened. Then the Pentagon enhanced the charges against Hall by claiming that Hall's song had “communicated a threat” to his fellow soldiers.

Using stop-loss, the Pentagon has prevented 120,000 soldiers from leaving the military when their contract is up. Originally intended to prevent having to withdraw soldiers from the battlefield if their active duty contracts expired while they were engaged in combat, stop-loss has morphed into a ploy to force soldiers to remain in the military unwillingly to make up for low reenlistment numbers. Stop-loss orders generally hit soldiers who have come home and who, like Hall, have returned to their families and civilian life.

Attorney Jim Klimanski, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the Military Law Task Force, has been following Hall’s case. Klimanski says that the military is grossly “overreacting” and that Hall’s musical protest is protected by the First Amendment.

Marc Hall and other stop-loss victims look at the unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and believe that they are doomed to keep returning to battle until they are killed. Hall says his song is simply reflecting this attitude, a common one among troops who have been forced to serve multiple combat deployments in violation of their military contracts.

We can support Marc Hall and others like him who feel stop-loss is a travesty and violation of our basic liberties as Americans. Call your elected representatives and demand that Hall and other stop-loss protesters be released. Tell military age men and women tempted by promises of college funding and "signing bonuses" the truth. Let them know that they can be prevented from ever using their GI benefits by being stop-lossed to death. Make them aware that at the military’s whim they can be kept under fire virtually forever, just like Marc Hall and 120,000 other betrayed troops.

Selena Coppa's facebook page:
IVAW Press Release: Please Share!

Fort Stewart, Ga. – The US military plans to extradite a stop-lossed Iraq war veteran to Iraq “within a few days” to face a court martial for allegedly threatening military officers in a protest rap song he made.

Spc. Marc Hall has been jailed in the Liberty County Jail near Fort Stewart, Ga., since Dec. 11 because he wrote a song called “Stop Loss” about the practice of involuntarily extending military members’ contracts.

"It is our belief that the Army would violate its own regulations by deploying Marc and it would certainly violate his right to due process by making it far more difficult to get witnesses. It appears the Army doesn't believe it can get a conviction in a fair and public trial. We will do whatever we can to insure he remain in the United States," said Hall’s civilian attorney, David Gespass.

Gespass claims the Army's attempts to deploy Hall violate Army Regulations 600-8-105 and the Army's conscientious objector regulations. Hall applied for a conscientious objector discharge Monday. The military’s move would also separate Hall from both his civilian legal team and military defender.

"The Army seeks to disappear Marc and the politically charged issues involved here, including: the unfair stop-loss policy, the boundary of free speech and art by soldiers, and the continuing Iraq occupation. The actual charges are overblown if not frivolous, so I'm not surprised the Army wants to avoid having a public trial," explained Jeff Paterson, executive director of Courage to Resist.

An Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) member, Hall served 14 months in Iraq. He was scheduled to end his military contract on Feb. 27 but received a stop loss order that he would have to stay on active-duty to re-deploy to Iraq with his unit.

"Marc served his tour of duty to Iraq honorably,” said Brenda McElveen, Hall's mother. “To his dismay, he was told that he would be deployed again. When Marc voiced his concerns over this matter, his concerns fell on deaf ears. To let his frustration be known, Marc wrote and released the song. Marc is not now nor has he ever been violent."

Using stop loss orders, the US military has stopped about 185,000 soldiers from leaving the military since 2001. An additional 13,000 troops are now serving under stop-loss orders. President Obama said he thinks the practice should be stopped.

Hall, 34, was charged Dec. 17 with five specifications in violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, including “wrongfully threatening acts of violence against members of his unit.” His arrest came about a month after 13 people were killed in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas. Hall, whose hiphop name is Marc Watercus, mailed a copy of his “Stop Loss” song to the Pentagon.

Based at Fort Stewart, Hall said the song was a “free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy” not a threat. “My first sergeant said he actually liked the song and that he did not take it as a threat,” Hall added.

A South Carolina native, Hall wanted to leave the military to spend more time with his wife and child.

INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE: - Jason Hurd, IVAW Organizer, is in regular contact with Marc Hall. jehurd@gmail.com , 1-678-896-3821 - Brenda McElveen, Marc Hall's mother, 1-843-206-3439 - Chantelle Bateman, IVAW Field Organizing Team. chantellebateman@ivaw.org , 1-202-758-7818 - David Gespass, Hall’s civilian attorney, 1-205-323-5966 - Jeff Paterson, the founder and director of the soldier advocacy group Courage to Resist, jp@jeffpaterson.net , 1-415-279-9697 - LTC Eric Bloom in Iraq, US Army Public Affairs, eric.bloom@mnd-b.army.mil

It is also suggested that people call Ft. Stewart Public Affairs Chief Kevin Larson, (912) 435-9879 and say they are opposed to holding Marc's court martial in Iraq and that all charges against Marc be dropped. If you are a veteran, tell them so!!

No comments: