Monthly Archives: June 2013
Editor’s note: The lawyer representing PVC Munoz, James M. Branum, is an MLTF member.
Private still scheduled for upcoming deployment to Afghanistan
Killeen, Texas – A soldier seeking a discharge from the Army based on a conscientious objection to war has been told by the command at Fort Hood that it still intends to deploy him to Afghanistan sometime in the coming weeks.
Private Second Class Christopher Munoz, 22, applied for a C.O. (conscientious objector) discharge on June 25, 2013. He has also asked for his deployment to be delayed until request for discharge would be given a fair hearing.
Servicemembers are eligible for C.O. status if they can prove to military authorities that they are opposed to all wars, and that the opposition is grounded in religious belief or moral conviction that is sincere and occurred at some point after enlistment. PV2 Munoz’s application asserts that he qualified for this status according to the provisions of Army Regulation 600-43.
As a C.O applicant, PV2 Munoz cannot be made to carry weapons or munitions if deployed.
“If deployed, PV2 Munoz will be at significant risk for harassment by his fellow soldiers since he will effectively be a ‘dead weight’ on the unit. Despite these very real risks, PV2 Munoz’s command has said that a delay of his deployment will not be considered,” said James M. Branum, an attorney who represents PV2 Munoz.
The latest issue of MLTF’s quarterly newsletter, On Watch, released to members and subscribers a month ago, is now available to the public.
- Minority enlistment: Contracts with children
- Military culture and sexual assault
- Report from GI Rights Network Conference 2013
- Bradley Manning Speaks; Court-martial imminent
- MLTF position on proposed changes to convening authority
- Regional News
And, of course, News and Notes
If you would like to receive On Watch as soon as it is published, join MLTF, or subscribe without joining for just $20.
MLTF co-founder David Gespass recently gave a talk at Tulane University. Here’s the slide presentation on the Bradley Manning case he used. He compares the current reaction to Manning to the COINTELPRO revelations in 1971. Hint: 2013 doesn’t stack up well.
News Analysis by Marjorie Cohn
The court-martial of Bradley Manning, the most significant whistleblower case since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, has begun. Although Manning pled guilty earlier this year to 10 offenses that will garner him 20 years in custody, military prosecutors insist on pursuing charges of aiding the enemy and violation of the Espionage Act, carrying life in prison. The Obama administration, which has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior presidencies combined, seeks to send a strong message to would-be whistleblowers to keep their mouths shut.
A legal duty to report war crimes
Manning is charged with crimes for sending hundreds of thousands of classified files, documents and videos, including the “Collateral Murder” video, the “Iraq War Logs,” the “Afghan War Logs” and State Department cables to Wikileaks. Many of the things he transmitted contain evidence of war crimes.
The “Collateral Murder” video depicts a US Apache attack helicopter killing 12 civilians and wounding two children on the ground in Baghdad in 2007. The helicopter then fired on and killed the people trying to rescue the wounded. Finally, a US tank drove over one of the bodies, cutting the man in half. These acts constitute three separate war crimes.
Manning fulfilled his legal duty to report war crimes. He complied with his legal duty to obey lawful orders but also his legal duty to disobey unlawful orders.
The 2013 GI Rights Network conference, held in Santa Cruz, CA, from March 7 through 10, once again was an opportunity to witness the strong bonds between MLTF and the network of (mostly) lay volunteers that staff the GI Rights Hotline with self-directed groups across the US.
It’s always a time not just for sharing skills and knowledge, but checking in with friends and colleagues working in the broader movement for GI Rights.
MLTF Executive Director Kathy Gilberd is as invaluable to GIRN volunteers as she is to those of us in the Task Force, and the warm, grateful reception she gets from conference attendees each year is witness to this reality.
In addition to working on some element of conference planning each year, she leads or co-leads numerous workshops and sits on several panels on multiple issues. Plus, she runs the MLTF literature table, which also offers, for a modest donation, the jewelry and knitted scarves she has created throughout the year. While other MLTF members attend GIRN conferences, provide their expertise on panels, and often lead workshops, to hotline workers, Kathy is the face and voice of MLTF and they always express a great deal of regard and gratitude for her, and thus MLTF’s, contributions.
According to Kathy, this year “attendees included a mix of current counselors and new ones — mostly IVAW members who attended a pre-conference basic training seminar (and most of whom will work with the Coffee Strong/GIRN group or with Bay Area GIRN). We had good attendance from MLTF attorneys and counselors, including attorneys from the Bay Area and our co-chairs from San Jose, and a couple of lawyers from the East Coast.”