April 16, 2010

Free Marc Hall - drop the ridiculous charges and give him the honorable discharge he has earned

In a few more days (April 27th) Marc Hall’s court martial will begin. Thanks to all the people who helped put together his defense. Thanks to those individuals and organizations who donated money to help fund his defense. Special thanks to Courage To Resist for all the work they have done.

I listened to an Iraq war veteran speak at Buffalo State the other night. He was part of a counter-recruitment program put on by the Students for Peace.

We always talk about the responsibility we have for what is going on and when did we know and not do the right thing. When did we really know.

The speaker had three words for us for when we realized what we needed to do and we did nothing, “SHAME ON YOU”. Since then the phrase goes around in my head and finds places in my life where I can easily squeeze it in. Not because I did something wrong, but because I didn’t do something right.

I know you can’t do everything and shouldn’t even try. But I’m sure there were times when you knew you should have done it. Sometimes you did and sometimes you didn’t.

This brings me back to Marc Hall. He was stop-lossed after serving a tour in Iraq. He wrote an angry hip hop song protesting the stop-loss policy and sent it to the Pentagon last July. He sought PTSD treatment. In December, he filed formal charges with the Inspector General for lack of adequate mental health services. He was arrested and jailed.

For five months the said nothing about the song; five days after he filed charges, they arrested him for the song.

About a month ago, he was shackled and shipped to Kuwait where he is being held in prison waiting for his court martial to begin in Iraq - a war zone - the very same country where he developed his PTSD. The trial begins on April 27th. We were unable to raise enough money to cover all the costs he needs to support his case. Not enough people cared or realized what was happening or the importance of Marc’s trial. There is almost no coverage of this in the media.

If you didn’t contribute because you just didn’t care, SHAME ON YOU.

The Army has all the money and resources it needs to send him anywhere; to lock him up for as long as they like and to make sure he doesn’t have a reasonable chance to defend himself as adequately as he could if it were a fair trial.

Many of us contributed to the prosecution’s effort when we paid our taxes. That is why they have limitless resources. When it came to contributing to his defense, where were all the people who claim to be against these wars.

The Army wants to shut Marc down; they don’t him to set any precedent of resistance to the illegal wars. As more and more soldiers say ‘no’, the military grows more concerned that they won’t have the troops to fight.

(I’m sure the huge numbers of troops refusing orders in Vietnam led to the US decision to withdraw from that country and the military doesn’t want to see that happen again in these occupied countries.)

If we want to end the war, we need the soldiers to refuse to fight (especially since Congress won’t). If we want them to refuse to fight, we must support them when they do.

Below is a letter demanding the Army drop all charges against Marc Hall and give him the honorable discharge he deserves.

Write a letter or print this letter, sign it and send it to the addresses below. Let the military know we care about correcting this injustice. Let them know we don’t want the Generals running the country.

If you can afford it, send a donation for his defense to Courage To Resist immediately.

Thank you,

Dear General Charles Campbell,

I am writing to protest the extraordinarily unjust court martial of SPC Marc A. Hall, which is scheduled to be held in Iraq on April 27. The facts of this case clearly show that Specialist Hall, who was in combat in Iraq for 14 months, is being retaliated against for his persistent assertions of inadequate mental health care. Instead of being given much needed treatment for his PTSD, Specialist Hall’s time of discharge from the Army was involuntarily extended and he was ordered to return to Iraq.

While Specialist Hall's hip-hop song critical of the Army's "stop-loss" policy serves as a pretext for this trial, it is telling that the Army took no action against SPC Hall for five months after he sent his protest song to the Pentagon. Yet on December 12, five days after Specialist Hall filed a complaint with the Army Inspector General, he was charged with eleven counts of violating "good order and discipline” at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

I believe these charges are without merit and clearly retaliatory. At Specialist Hall’s recent arraignment (Article 32 hearing) in Kuwait, the Army’s presiding legal officer dismissed 5 of these charges as being without merit and raised serious questions about the prosecution’s overall case. She then recommended a Special Court Martial, which can give a maximum 1-year jail sentence. But the Army command rejected this recommendation and is pursuing a General Court Martial, which could theoretically sentence Specialist Hall to many years in prison. And for what?

Why was Marc Hall shipped off to Kuwait, and why will his court martial be held in Iraq? His lawyers in the United States specifically requested that he be given a fair trial in the U.S., where expert defense witnesses and supporters could attend a public proceeding. Instead the Army has treated Specialist Hall like a terrorist and subjected him to an “extraordinary rendition.” He has been removed 8.000 miles from his legal counsel and from any public oversight of this highly questionable prosecution.

Today SPC Hall is jailed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He is now charged with six specifications of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – the vague rule that outlaws anything "to the prejudice of good order and discipline." This is no way to treat an Iraq war veteran.

I strongly urge you to return SPC Marc A. Hall to Fort Stewart, Georgia immediately, and to drop all charges against him. SPC Hall is deserving of an immediate Honorable Discharge, based on his original four year enlistment. Giving Specialist Hall a punitive discharge would deny him the medical care he needs for the wounds he suffered in the Iraq war, and would only compound the Army’s outrageous treatment of this Iraq war veteran.

I am sending a copy of this letter to President Obama and I will be contacting my Congressional representatives about this matter. You will be hearing from me and others until Marc Hall is granted the just treatment he needs and deserves.


General Charles Campbell
1777 Hardee Avenue SW
Fort McPherson, GA 30330-1062

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

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