Corps accused of 'muzzle' tactics

Adam Kokesh, an ex-Marine who has been participating in anti-war
protests (It was he would counted Alberto Gonzalez 74 "I don't knows")
is facing a hearing other veterans and several attorneys find unusual,
the Marine Corps has ordered him to appear at a hearing to consider
throwing him out - even though he's already out - with an "other than
honorable" discharge.

Corps accused of 'muzzle' tactics
Iraq war protest is reason, ex-Marine says
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Stephen Koff
Plain Dealer Bureau Chief

Washington- Adam Kokesh has an honorable discharge from the Marines,
commendations for his service under enemy fire in Fallujah, a self-
taught knowledge of Arabic that he used in running a checkpoint in
Iraq - and a date Monday to face Marine Corps officials.

They don't like the way that he and other former Marines protest the
Iraq war, running around Washington wearing camouflage uniforms and
voicing disrespect.

So in a move that Kokesh, other veterans and several attorneys find
unusual, the Marine Corps has ordered him to appear at a hearing to
consider throwing him out - even though he's already out - with an
"other than honorable" discharge.

Kokesh says they just want to shut him up.

"It seems like these guys were over in Iraq fighting for their
country, and now they're being brought up on charges for exercising
the free speech they were fighting for," said Marv Johnson,
legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Kokesh's attorney, Michael Lebowitz, says the case "is about the
Marine Corps seeking to stifle critics of the Iraq policy."

Lebowitz, a graduate of Mentor High School, Kent State University and
Case Western Reserve University's law school, and a former
paratrooper, will represent Kokesh on Monday before the Marine Corps
Mobilization Command in Kansas City.

It might seem odd that a veteran could be subject to such sanctions.
But like hundreds of thousands of veterans who figured their service
was over, Kokesh is subject to recall as a member of the Individual
Ready Reserve, a category most soldiers and Marines fall in for a
period after discharge. The IRR, which critics refer to as a "backdoor
draft," provides a pool of troops that can be reactivated if needed.

And according to the Marines, that means former Marines like Kokesh
must behave as Marines as long as they're even subject to IRR
activation. Marines officials would not discuss Kokesh's case

Kokesh and a band of contemporaries roamed Washington in camouflage
March 19, acting as if they were on military patrol.

On March 29, a Marine major sent him an e-mail to tell him he was
being investigated for misconduct by appearing at a political event in
uniform. Kokesh responded, telling the major what he thought, and
using an expletive to do so. That resulted in an additional misconduct

These accusations were brought under the Uniform Code of Military
Justice, which applies solely to service members.

"I can't see where they have jurisdiction to do this," Keith Scherer,
a Chicago-based attorney, said.

A Marine spokesman, Gunnery Sgt. Chad Homan, said that anyone subject
to call-up in the IRR is "still obligated to the Marine Corps," which
means following Marine rules.

Kokesh, who grew up in New Mexico and lives in Washington, D.C., was
one of three veterans cited in the Marines' inquiry and the first to
have a hearing.

Former Marine Liam Madden of Boston, who is active in the anti-war
movement, declined through an intermediary to comment.

The third former Marine, Cloy Richards of Missouri, has an 80 percent
combat disability, according to his mother, Tina Richards, herself an
anti-war activist. She says he feared losing most of his benefits by
protesting in uniform, so he agreed not to for the next year and a
half, which will take him through the end of any possible IRR call-up.

Kokesh does not pretend to be an angel. He brought home a pistol from
Iraq; he says he bought it from a policeman there, but it was in
violation of rules and it prevented him from returning on a second
Iraq tour that he wanted. Though he had risen to the rank of sergeant
after 3½ years in the Reserves, he was demoted to corporal and soon
thereafter discharged honorably - with a re-enlistment code that
basically said, "you can't re-enlist."

This means the Marines don't want him back, yet have charged him as if
he is back. Not only that, he and his attorney note, but June 18 is
when any possible obligation to the IRR would legally end.

But first, he must face the charges. "Which is," Kokesh notes, "the
most ironic point."


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