May 31, 2007 Update
Adam Kokesh and Liam Madden are active members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Both are former Marine sergeants who served in Iraq and were later honorably discharged. Due to their outspoken opposition to the war, the Marine Corps is now formally threatening to revoke their discharges and retroactively change them to “other than honorable.” This is a new, unprecedented step the military feels is necessary in order to suppress a growing anti-war voice from within the military itself. We cannot allow this suppression of free speech to occur!
Kansas City, Missouri rally to support Adam Kokesh during his hearing! Veterans: Please wear a piece of your military uniform as a show of solidarity. Monday, June 4th at Noon in front of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command Building, 15303 Andrews Road, Kansas City, MO 64147.
Iraq Veterans Against the War’s “Operation First Casualty” in Washington DC, March 19, 2007. Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist
Letter from former Marine Sgt. Adam Kokseh:
I need your help. Because of my involvement in IVAW, I have been singled out and called for a military hearing to be made an example of for those of us who have spoken out against the war. I have been an active member of IVAW for a mere four months, but have already garnered enough attention to be perceived as a threat by those using our military to maintain political support for the occupation of Iraq.
Because my second activation as a reservist extended past my six-year obligation, I am only in the Inactive Ready Reserve from my honorable discharge from active duty last November to June 18th. After my discharge, I moved to Washington, DC to get a Master’s in Political Management at GWU, and joined IVAW. I have since appeared on behalf of IVAW speaking at concerts, universities, and high schools. I have written about my views on the occupation and my military experience for the IVAW website and on my blog.
Most notably, I participated in Operation First Casualty on March 19th. This was a mock combat patrol through Washington, DC in order to bring home the truth of the occupation of Iraq, because the first casualty of war is the truth. I appeared in my uniform, without my name, without rank, and without the patch that says US MARINES. I received an email of warning about possible violations of the UCMJ for appearing in uniform at a political event. Instead of ignoring it like everyone I know who has received similar emails, I wrote a strongly worded reply admonishing the Major who was “investigating” me for wasting time on such trivial matters.
I soon received a package from the Marine Corps informing me of a separation hearing to re-separate me with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. A scan of the complete package can be seen below. I have sought private counsel for this hearing, as is my right. I intend to bring as many witnesses as possible to testify to both the character of my service and the nature of my involvement with IVAW. The Marine Corps only made it known to us today that the hearing will be held on June 4, in a mere 13 days. They have also decided to activate me for the hearing and hold it in Kansas City, home of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command.
This case is important because the intimidation of servicemen who speak out will suppress the truth about Iraq. With the help of IVAW, I intend to fight this to the end and stand up for the rights of all members of our armed forces.
Please support this effort by mailing a check made out to IVAW with “Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund” in the memo to PO Box 8296, Philadelphia, PA 19101 or by going here, clicking on “Donate Now” and including “Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund” in the Special Project Support window.
Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist