AP is reporting: “An Iraq war veteran could lose his honorable discharge status after being photographed wearing fatigues at an anti-war protest. Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh and other veterans marked the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq in March by wearing their uniforms — with military insignia removed — and roaming around the nation’s capital on a mock patrol.”
Kokesh appeared last night on CNN and explained the nature of the demonstration: “This was a very unique demonstration. It was called Operation First Casualty. And it’s called that because the first casualty of war is the truth. And the purpose of this was to bring a small part of the truth of the occupation of Iraq home to the American people. And we did that by simulating a combat patrol through the streets of Washington, D.C. We did it again just this past weekend in New York City. And we had civilians who were playing occupied people. … We treat them as a combat patrol in Iraq might treat Iraqi civilians.” A Washington Post story on the demonstration in March featured a picture of Kokesh; that initial piece as well as video of the D.C. demonstration is here.
Friday, June 1, at 5:00 p.m. at Union Station, Adam Kokesh will be participating in a press conference when he departs to Kansas City for the hearing that is scheduled for June 4 at the Marine Mobilization Command. Kokesh, his attorney, and his witnesses, will be taking the “Yellow Rose of Texas Peace Bus” from D.C. to Kansas City.
Madden will join Kokesh at the press conference and on the trip to Kansas City. He was a communications and electronics specialist with the Marines in Iraq and co-founded the group Appeal for Redress. Madden left the military in January. He said today: “They are also going after me for wearing a shirt of my uniform at a peace protest. And also for making ‘disloyal statements.'”
The Washington Post reported yesterday about Madden’s statements, “summarized by the Marines in legal documents: ‘Sgt. Madden spends several minutes explaining the “war crimes” of the Bush administration. Sgt. Madden claims that the war in Iraq is a war “of aggression” and one of “empire building.” Sgt. Madden explains that the President of the United States has “betrayed U.S. military personnel” engaged in the Iraq conflict.'” [Full article]
Madden said today: “Now, I wasn’t wearing my uniform when I said any of those things. This is about what I’m saying about political discourse, about the administration’s policies. Why are they trying to silence that?”
Executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Dougherty was in Iraq from March 2003 to February 2004 with the Colorado National Guard. She said today: “This is not so much about Adam as it is an attempt by the military brass to silence opposition to the war among veterans. The military is supposed to fight to preserve free speech, not quashing it. Not only are veterans, who can attest to the realities of this war, increasingly speaking out against the war — but its grim realities are moving them to increasingly take nonviolent direct action to stop it.”
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167