Some time ago I posted about Liam Madden who joined the Marines out of the local high school but who after a tour in Iraq helped start the Appeal for Redress movement that involved sending a public letter to Congress asking for "redress" from various conditions related to the war in Iraq -- the term "redress" come from a statute that gives even active duty military the right to petition for "redress" from congress.
As of now both he and his fellow Appeal for Redress founder Adam Kokesh have both received honorable discharges from the Marines but still have some time to serve in the Inactive Ready Reserve. Sgt. Kokesh is due to have that service end June 18th of this year but he has now gotten a letter telling him that a hearing will be held on June 4th to decide if his discharge should be changed to a dishonorable one. Sgt. Kokesh tells his own story (and asks for help with his legal defense on this blog posting Legal Defense Fund for Adam Kokesh) on his personal blog. The posting includes scans of the legal documents that have been sent to him.
Now it seem that our own local hero Liam Madden is in a similar situation. Only a few days ago the local paper announced that Madden intended to participate in a bus tour by the Iraq Veterans Against the War
The mission of the veterans on the bus tour is to "recruit new members, inform service members about their rights and ability to oppose the Iraq war and gain community support for our message that this war is not, and will never be, winnable, moral or justified," said Madden, in an e-mail announcing the bus tour.
Now today there is a follow-up article Iraq activists threatened with legal action in the local Brattleboro Reformer announcing that Madden has received a letter similar to that received by Sgt. Kokesh
BRATTLEBORO -- A local son turned U.S. Marine turned anti-war activist has been threatened by military authorities for activities related to his opposition of the Iraq war. Liam Madden, 22, formerly of Bellows Falls and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War confirmed he received a letter from the Marine Corps earlier this month informing them he was being recommended for discharge from the individual ready reserves. Madden, who now lives in Boston, declined to speak further on the advise of his attorney.
This new trick of recalling inactive individual reserve people who have already received an honorable discharge for the sole purpose of downgrading their discharge based upon their civilian conduct seems quite questionable to some lawyers and activists.
[Eugene R. Fidell, the president of the National Institute of Military Justice] was baffled by the Marine Corps action. "It's a highly dubious business to go after someone in the ready reserves for exercising their First Amendment rights," he said. "It's a very doubtful action on the government's part." He and [Amadee] Braxton [director of organizational development for Iraq Veterans Against the War ] both expressed concerns that the military might initiate other similar actions as a way to stifle dissent within the ranks. "We are concerned about the outcome of these two cases because it will send a message to other veterans who justifiably want to speak out about their experiences in the war," said Braxton. "This could have a chilling effect."
This new move by the Pentagon may suggest that they are more worried than they are letting on about growing dissent to the Iraq war in the ranks being encouraged by activist vets.