|Army moves to strip jailed hip-hop soldier of due process and a public trial with Iraq transfer
By Courage to Resist.
February 9, 2010
Fort Stewart, Georgia officials confirmed that the Army will
attempt to separate Spc Marc A Hall from both his civilian legal team
and his established military defender Capt. Anthony Schiavetti by
immediately sending him to Iraq
to face court martial.
The Army declared that, “The jurisdiction transfer ensures a full and
fair trial for both Spc. Hall and the United States.” Nothing could be
farther from the truth, at least for Spc. Hall.
“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,”
explains attorney David Gespass of Birmingham, Alabama.
Hall produced and distributed an angry hip-hop song in
July 2009 when he
discovered that he would not be allowed to leave
active duty due to the
Army’s “stop-loss” policy. Spc. Hall continued
to serve with his unit
for the next four months undergoing command and
mental health counseling
as requested. “I explained to [my first
sergeant] that the hardcore rap
song was a free expression of how
people feel about the Army and its
stop-loss policy. I explained that
the song was neither a physical
threat nor any threat whatsoever. I
told him it was just hip-hop,”
explained Spc. Hall.
When Spc. Hall continued to express strong
objections to redeploying
to Iraq, his unit used the hip-hop song as a
pretext to incarcerate
Spc. Hall on Dec. 12, 2009. The command likely
believed Spc. Hall would
refuse to deploy anyway creating discomfort
among other soldiers.
Spc. Hall was charged Dec. 17, 2009, with
five specifications in
violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of
Military Conduct, two
of those for wrongfully communicating a threat
based on song lyrics.
Article 134 is the vague rule that outlaws
anything “to the prejudice
of good order and discipline.”
McElveen, Spc. Hall’s mother notes, “Marc served his tour of
Iraq honorably. To his dismay, he was told that he would be
again. When Marc voiced his concerns over this matter, his
on deaf ears. To let his frustration be known, Marc wrote
the song. Marc is not now nor has he ever been violent.”
1, 2010 Spc. Hall underscored his non-violent outlook by
applying for discharge from the Army as a conscientious
application explains the transformation he went through
year-long deployment to Iraq. The Army’s attempts to now
violate AR 600-8-105 (Military Orders) and the Army's
Objector regulations among other errors.
“The Army seeks to
disappear Marc and the politically charged issues
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 of Courage to
Resist (couragetoresist.org), an organization
working in collaboration
with Iraq Veterans Against the War (ivaw.org)
to support Spc. Hall.
Supporters have created stoplossmusic.org to
support Spc. Hall and pay
for his legal defense.
Ft. Stewart Public Affairs Chief Kevin
Larson, (912) 435-9879,
announced today that he will no longer provide
Spc. Hall. Media should instead contact
Iraq-stationed LTC Eric Bloom
via email only at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This alone underscores the lack of a fair and
trial available to Spc. Hall in Iraq.
The Army continues
to implement its stop-loss policy despite
President Obama’s promise to
end the unfair practice that involuntarily
extends the active duty
service term of many soldiers. According to
the Pentagon 120,000
soldiers have been affected by stop-loss since
2001 and 13,000 are
currently serving under stop-loss orders.
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