Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Adam Kokesh


A panel of Marine Corps officers yesterday evening recommended a less severe sanction than Marine investigators had proposed for a reservist who protested the war while wearing parts of his uniform during a theatrical demonstration in Washington in March.
Adam Kokesh should receive a "general discharge under honorable conditions," the panel ruled, according to his lawyer, Michael Lebowitz. A Marine investigator and a lawyer acting as prosecutor for the corps had sought to have Kokesh, 25, separated from the reserves under a somewhat harsher "other than honorable" discharge. Kokesh already had been honorably discharged from active duty after serving in Iraq.

[. . .]
"There's still a First Amendment issue involved," Lebowitz said. "We have a lot to go on if we take it to federal court."
The less severe discharge means Kokesh probably would not lose health benefits from the military, Lebowitz said. However, it is still a stain on his honor, implying that the reservist was doing something wrong -- which Kokesh denies.

The above, noted by Martha, is from David Montgomery's "Marines Reduce Penalty For Reservist-Protester" (Washington Post). Adam Kokesh, amazingly, has never been a topic for the New York Times. Of the articles members are highlighting on Kokesh, Montgomery's is the one that gets it right. There's a lot of nonsense out there by reporters who don't know what they're writing about (and indeed, there are news readers who don't know what they're talking about as well -- on air news readers). There is "a lot to go on" if Kokesh and his attorneys decide to take this further. The US military overstepped their bounds in many ways and they grasp that which is why the hearing that should have taken 2 weeks to issue a finding instead issued one immediately. They know this is a legal loser and they also grasp this is a loser with the public as well. The US military has taken a highly unpopular position and it's one that raises free speech issues as well as ignores a 1970 Supreme Court verdict that has already addressed this issue and stated that the US military has no say in theater (street theater or big productions).

AP continues to play dumb and suggest that the action was just a protest. While it is a protest, it is also street theater and the Supreme Court defined actions just like this as such in 1970 (a three person action, very similar, staged outside a recruiting center). From AP:

The Marines' first witness, Maj. John R. Whyte, testified that he wrote Kokesh an e-mail informing him that the Marines were investigating the possible uniform violation. Kokesh responded with a note that included an obscenity.
Brig. Gen. Darrell L. Moore, one of two officers who received an e-mail from Kokesh that contained an obscenity, will decide whether to go along with the board's recommendation.

So John R. Whyte is the chicken sh*t who wouldn't go public until the hearing. He wrote a snide and sarcastic e-mail and received a forty-line-plus reply from Kokesh that, at the very end, used the f-word and Whyte has milked that for all he can. The reality is if the US military was considering investigating someone, they send a hard copy, registered mail. He decided to be "chatty" and "informal" and then wants to whine when he's told to mind his own business. If he wanted to be 'respected,' he should have 'respected' the process and not dashed off an e-mail. He was so quick to stir some sh*t and then he wanted to play poor, pathetic, injured party. Apparently marine majors are very weak flowers who wilt easily. Aaaah, poor little boy.

The LA Times' wire notes: "The military considered it a political event, at which personnel are not allowed to wear their uniforms without authorization." Repeating, the Supreme Court already ruled (1970) that the US military cannot make that decision, they cannot rule whether or not a theater production is or isn't one. The case was Schacht v. United States and let's repeat Justice Hugo Black because the majority of today's press corps is too stupid and too timid to note it:

Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world.

Hate to break it to the majority of the press and to the military, but the Supreme Court ranks higher than the US military. When they rule, it applies to all. In this instance, they were specifically ruling about the US military overstepping their bounds. This issue was legally cleared nearly forty years ago and maybe if J-school graduates weren't so often the equivalent of general studies major, they would have an actual education to fall back on. Instead, they dumb down America because they don't know the first thing they're talking about in most cases.

Apparently Carey Gillam (Reuters) supplemented the required courses or is just naturally smart enough to notice key details (maybe Gillam could tutor AP?):

He maintained that he has been acting as a civilian since his discharge from active duty in November 2006 and decried the action by the Marines as a restraint on freedom of speech and a "corrupt" and political act by the U.S. military.
"It's clear these tactics of intimidation are being used against members of Iraq Veterans Against the War," said Kokesh, who wore a black anti-war T-shirt to the hearing. "Freedom of speech means the right to say what other people don't want to hear."
The government argued that Kokesh was still a member of the "Individual Ready Reserves," which meant he could be called back to duty and was subject to some military conduct regulations.
"This is an administrative discharge for the good of the service," said Marine Col. Patrick McCarthy. "It is not a freedom of speech issue. This is about uniform violation and disrespect to an officer."
However Kokesh was asked during the hearing if he was a "card-carrying member" of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, what membership entailed and if he voted in the last presidential election.

"Card-carrying member"? Want to claim this wasn't a witch hunt? Want to claim the military hasn't overstepped their bounds?

As Rebecca rightly noted last night, the Bully Boy thinks he can shred the Constitution and now the US military thinks it can ignore Supreme Court rulings. We should all be outraged.

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