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The Intimidation of a Vet: An Interview with Liam Madden

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Liam Madden is a Marine veteran who spent seven months in Iraq. After returning to the United States, he became a co-founder of the Appeal for Redress. This is a campaign of active service members who are appealing to the US Congress to remove all American military forces and bases from Iraq. He is also a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Recently, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) notified him that they were going to change his honorable discharge to a less than honorable discharge. He finds himself fighting this attempt while also continuing his organizing against the war. As for the Appeal for redress, there are now 2002 service men and women who have signed the statement. What follows is a brief exchange between Liam and myself over this attempt to silence him and other service members for speaking out against the war.

 

Ron:Liam, What exactly is the military trying to do to you?

Liam:The Marine Corps notified me that I was being recommended for "Other then Honorable Discharge" from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for two alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

1. Wearing a partial USMC camouflage uniform at a political protest

2. Making Disloyal Statements at a speech in New York City. I said that "The War in Iraq is, by Nuremberg standards, a war crime and a war of aggression" and "the president has betrayed U.S. service members by committing them to a war crime

In essence, they are trying to apply the UCMJ to members of the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) who aren't supposed to be subject to it. Further, they are attempting to silence political opposition to the war by intimidating vets and GIs.

Ron:Just to clarify, are you still in the reserves?

Liam:I'm still a member of the IRR

Ron:Why do you think they chose you? Is this also happening to other service people or vets?

Liam:I believe they chose to target me because they perceive me as a figure head for the veterans who are speaking about the illegality of the war Two other members of IVAW are being targeted. Adam Kokesh and Cloy Richards are both former Marines who have been under investigation by the USMC and Adam has already faced his discharge board

Ron:Historically, is this that unusual for the military to come down on you?

Liam:Normally people aren't discharged from the IRR. It is simply a list of names the military can call upon in times of national crisis. When they don't want someone on the list they typically just cross them off. However it is not unusual that the government cracks down on those who are questioning the motives of their actions. For example, COINTELPRO, the imprisonment of Eugene Debs, and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ron:What is the status of the case? When do you have to go to court or whatever?

Liam:They haven't scheduled a date yet

Ron:What are the potential punishments if they bust you?

Liam: It is basically a black eye on my record that makes it difficult to obtain future employment, particularly government employment

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http://stillhomeron.blogspot.com/

Ron Jacobs is a writer, library worker and anti-imperialist. He is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up. His collection of essays and other musings titled Tripping Through the American (more...)
 

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Ron: 4. Donate to the legal defense fund atBut the... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Thursday, Jun 21, 2007 at 10:27:29 AM
I'm not sure what happened. The site to go to is ... by Ron Jacobs on Thursday, Jun 21, 2007 at 8:08:58 PM