Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Adam Kokesh


Kokesh, who had previously received an honorable discharge after active duty, including a tour in Iraq, was photographed in March in Washington, D.C., wearing fatigues--though with the military insignia removed--during "Operation First Casualty," a mock patrol that he and other veterans participated in to show their opposition to the war.
Now, the military is trying to silence him--along with fellow Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) members Cloy Richards and Liam Madden. The military is threatening all three with reopening their cases and downgrading their discharges for alleged violations of regulations that forbid wearing all or part of a uniform "while engaged in political demonstrations or activities."
But none of the three were on active duty, or even reservists, at the time. The three are part of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), which is composed of former active-duty or reserve military personnel, usually on their way to being fully discharged. The approximately 158,000 individuals in the IRR aren’t paid, don't participate in military exercises or drills, have no chain of command, and are almost never recalled to active duty.

The above, noted by Marcia, is from Nicole Colson's "Activists defend Iraq vets' right to speak" (Socialist Worker). Last week, Adam Kokesh appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now and this is from that broadcast:

KOKESH: Well, this was a very unique demonstration. It was called Operation First Casualty. And it's called that because the first casualty of war is the truth. And the purpose of this was to bring a small part of the truth of the occupation of Iraq home to the American people. And we did that by simulating a combat patrol through the streets of Washington, D.C. We did it again just this past weekend in New York City. And we had civilians who were playing occupied people. They're not playing Iraqis. They're not speaking Arabic or anything like that. But they -- we -- we treat them as a combat patrol in Iraq might treat Iraqi civilians.
ZAHN: Were you aware that you were breaking a rule? I'm going to put up on the screen right now a copy of the Marine Corps's uniform regulations. They clearly say that they apply to active, retired, and reserve members. And they prohibit you from wearing the uniform at public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or any public demonstration. It seems pretty clear. Why risk that kind of punishment?
KOKESH: Well, actually, it's specifically stated in the -- in the UCMJ that -- the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- that it does not apply to members of the Individual Ready Reserve. And, so -- and that was my understanding.

And his understanding was correct as the military panel admitted during the hearing. UCMJ does not cover the Inactive Ready Reserves. So what were we left with? Street theater. Street theater in which Kokesh (not covered by UCMJ) wearing military drag participated. What does cover those actions (Operation First Casualty has been staged in many cities)? The Supreme Court's verdict in Schacht v. United States (1970) and, though the press yesterday couldn't tell you, Schacht v. United States can be translated as: US military get your nose out of theater productions, you have no say, you have no voice -- be gone. That's not in debate, it's not in question and with a press eager to do their job (inform the people), it wouldn't be an unknown. Apparently, journalists feel Howard Zinn can do all the work unearthing our recent history all by himself. Apparently, basic, working knowledge is not required to pose as a 'reporter' or 'journalist.' All you have to do is run with what the US government tells you and call that reporting. A Supreme Court verdict contradicts the press narrative? Well don't say a word. Not one damn thing's changed since the lead up to the illegal war.

But not everyone's acting as if what's gone down is the most normal thing in the world. Tom notes Elaine Brower's "What's a Few Obscenities Between Marines" (OpEdNews):

The growing number of troops in dissent in the U.S. military is taking its toll on our Government. Since at least 1 million military members have rotated in and out of Iraq now 4+ years into this illegal and immoral war, anger among those that have to fight for a cause unknown even to them is on the rise. A Zogby poll issued in June of 2006 showed that 72% of the troops stationed in Iraq wanted withdrawal by the end of that year. See
Last year the DoD reported over 8,000 soldiers were absent without leave (AWOL). This year when the numbers started to climb past 15,000, DoD stopped reporting them. Recruiting is at an all time low, and service members who have served a tour of duty in Iraq, are redeployed 2 or 3 more times, referred to as "The Back-door draft." Public refusals to deploy by Lt.
Ehren Watada, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Spc. Suzanne Swift, Augustin Aguayo, and many others (, are climbing. These are Americans who joined an all-volunteer military because they are patriots and swore an oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution.
So what the hell is the Marine Corps. thinking when they take a patriot like Cpl. Adam Kokesh, USMC, from Kansas City, Missouri, and convene a U.S. military disciplinary panel on June 4th to revoke his "Honorable Discharge?" Cpl. Kokesh, who has just 2 weeks left in the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), served the Marine Corps. since 1999 with a tour of duty in Iraq, joined Iraq Veterans Against the War. Adam, like the other 400 members of IVAW, and the growing number of war resisters, realized that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal and in violation of the Constitution they were sworn to uphold.

Today on Democracy Now!, Antonia Juhasz is among the guests Don't get your hopes up. Murray Waas rattles on -- and on and on -- about Scooter et al for something like 40 minutes and Juhasz gets about ten to thirteen minutes. If that seems harsh, Waas is a reporter -- a two-bit reporter is my attitude these days to all the crappy press -- he is not an attorney. Elizabeth de la Vega could discuss the legal issues re: Scooter. Murray Waas?

Oh, go get a crawler and coffee and spare us all. If reporters and 'reporters' have demonstrated anything this week it's how ___ stupid they are and how they are not qualified in the least to speak about the law. You want the law, bring on Elizabeth de la Vega. Want gas baggery -- "political consequences would be immediate" -- listen to Waas.

Listening, you'll be wondering, "When can we get to Iraq! When can we get to Juhasz!" Listening, you may also wish that stumbling mumblers weren't invited on radio. Bad radio at it's worst. In the final ten to thirteen minutes, Juhasz will be brought on and have to discuss 'benchmarks,' the political process, the theft of Iraqi oil, and about five other topics (and she'll do so without stumbling or mumbling or ever once saying "warter" for "water.") Realizing how much you were short changed, you'll long for the broadcast where Michael slapped Waas around. That's how bad it is. On PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio (begins airing Friday in some markets):

In 2006, Americans spent at least $14 billion dollars on procedures involving coronary stents -- little tubes that open clogged arteries to the heart. But according to the FDA, there's no evidence that stents significantly reduce the risk of future heart attacks. Now, a major study from a top cardiologist is suggesting many of the procedures prescribed for chest pains are overused. On Friday, June 8 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW investigates the facts behind coronary procedures and finds - to no surprise - that money is as much an issue as medicine.
"There's no question that coronary intervention is big business. There is a lot of money involved in this," Researcher Dr. James Ferguson tells NOW. "And this gets everybody very nervous. And very upset. And very passionate."
With big medical device makers so vested in the sale and marketing of their equipment, are some putting profits above patients?
A healthy debate, next time on NOW.
The NOW website at will provide additional coverage starting Friday morning, June 8. Features include the full text of the research study and tips on keeping your own heart healthy.

The only thing worth reading in the New York Times' news section today is Kirk Semple's "Baghdad Gallery Owner Hopes Culture Can Dispel Hate" and we'll focus on this section:

Mr. Rawi has become so depressed by the state of his coutnry that he has not picked up a paintbrush for more than two years. He says he is ready to gather all of his art history archives -- articles, books, reviews, photographs, slides and paintings -- and burn them.
"I feel now that all humanity is against Iraq and against the Iraqi people and against Iraqi history and against Iraqi culture," Mr. Rawi, frail and slight, said on a recent afternoon while sitting in his dormant studio in western Baghdad. "We entered an endless dark tunnel."

And the New York Times website, which runs 100s of articles and also does a tiny dollop of new content managed to run a whopping one paragraph (posted last night) about Adam Kokesh. No link. Finally, war resister Agustin Aguayo is set to receive an award. Geoff Ziezuleicz (Stars and Stripes) reports that US war resister Aguayo will recieve an award from AnStifter, "According to an interpreted release put out last week by Connection e.V., another German anti-war group, the prize will be awarded to Aguayo on Dec. 1 during a ceremony in Stuttgart."

The e-mail address for this site is

ADDED: Jess just pointed out Elaine's "Adam Kokesh, Isaiah" which I hadn't read yet this morning but have now and suggest you do as well. Also covering Kokesh are Mike's "Adam Kokesh, Flashpoints, Susan Rosenthal" and (language warning) Kat's "KPFA, you're getting on my last nerve." Rebecca's "alberto's cesspool" is covering the latest in the Injustice Department and Cedric's "Shameless" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BARACK SCARES UP VOTERS!" takes a humorous look at Obama's latest talking point. And for those wanting to hear Elizabeth de la Vega discussing the legal issues, Sandra Lupien interviewed her yesterday for The KPFA Evening News. Those who would prefer de la Vega in text form can click here for a piece she wrote carried at Common Dreams.

antonia juhasz