FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In Liberty County Jail

In the ironically named Liberty County Jail since December 11 sits Army Specialist and Iraq War veteran Marc Hall, a rap musician who had the audacity to write a song attacking the Pentagon for subjecting him to a so-called stop-loss order after he had finished his Army tour and had returned from a posting in Iraq.

Hall, whose hip-hop alias is Marc Watercus, wrote the song and sent it to the Pentagon as a protest. His commander at Ft. Stewart initially had him arrested after he went to his base commander to protest his stop-loss order. He had planned to leave the service when his contract was up on Feb. 27. The Pentagon then upped the charges, claiming that in sending his song to the Pentagon, he had “communicated a threat” to he military. In the song lyrics, Hall says he will shoot officers if he is stop-lossed.

The Pentagon reports that since 2001 it has prevented 120,000 soldiers from leaving the service using the stop-loss policy, which critics say is being grossly mis-used. Originally intended to keep the military from having to withdraw active troops from the battlefield if their contracts expire while they are engaged in the field, the policy has become instead a way of compensating from low enlistment and re-enlistment rates, with stop-loss orders generally hitting soldiers who have already returned home from the wars and who, like Hall, who has a wife and child, are preparing to return to civilian life.

The ironies of Hall’s incarceration and prosecution–he is being held without bail, pending a court-martial proceeding, which could be months off–are stunning.

Liberty County, Georgia earned its name–it was originally called St. John’s Parish by the Puritan settlers who founded it–because back in the 1770s it was a hotbed of revolutionary sentiment in a colony that was largely populated by pro-British Loyalists. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence hail from the county. One, Dr. Lyman Hall, actually shares Marc Hall’s surname, and was one of the most ardent of revolutionists in America–a man who despised tyranny boldly and who and actually went to the original Continental Congress representing not Georgia, but only his own county, because of lack of support from the population of the broader colony. Hall was a primary writer of the Constitution, which he allegedly based upon a pamphlet he had been carrying with him that had been penned by John Adams.

The story of Hall’s colleague Button Gwinnett, the other Liberty County signer of the Declaration of Independence, is even more reminiscent of the modern Specialist Hall. Gwinnett, like Hall, was frustrated and angry at his superiors. As commander of the Georgia Militia during the American Revolution, he disagreed with the man named to head the Georgia Continental Battalion by the Continental Congress, Lachlan McIntosh. Gwinnett, as governor or Georgia, felt he should be commander in chief or Georgia’s citizen soldiers. His unit’s subsequent subversion and disobedience culminated in a duel fought between Gwinnett and McIntosh, in which both men were gravely wounded. Gwinnett died several days later of infection resulting from his wound.

Rapper Hall, who has taken a bold public stand against the Pentagon’s brutal stop-loss program, which many critics have said is nothing but an unofficial draft, stands in the proud tradition of both Gwinnett and Hall.
Although his song vows violent retribution if he is stop-lossed, Hall insists it was “just hip-hop.” He says he told his sergeant that he opposed the war in Iraq, that he would not go back there if ordered to go, and that his song was simply a “free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy.” He says that his sergeant told him he actually “liked the song” and didn’t consider it to be a threat.

Attorney Jim Klimanski, a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the Military Law Task Force, who is following Hall’s case, says that the military is “overreacting,” and insists that Hall’s song is protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.

Klimanski says that Hall and other stop-loss victims look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, see that they are unending quagmires, and understandably feel that with stop-loss, they are doomed to stay in the service until it kills them.

If you want to defend Hall and the First Amendment right of soldiers, call your Senators and Representatives and demand that he be released. Call the jail at 912-876-6411 to demand an end to this illegal confinement. Letters of protest can be sent to: CPT Cross, Commander, B 2-7 INF BN, Fort Stewart GA 31314.

Also be sure to let any young men and women you know who are being tempted by recruiters to sign up for the military, with promises of college funds, and skills training and signing bonuses, that it is all a big lie. Tell them they could, like Hall and many others, be prevented from using their GI benefits by stop-loss. They could be kept prisoner in uniform at the military’s discretion, as Hall and 120,000 other troops have been.

DAVE LINDORFF  is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff@mindspring.com

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Frank Clemente
The GOP Tax Bill is Creating Jobs…But Not in the United States
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail