Stop-Lossed Iraq War Vet to Face Court Martial in Iraq over Protest Song

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Chantelle Bateman, IVAW Field Organizing Team.
chantellebateman@ivaw.org
, 1-202-758-7818

Stop-Lossed Iraq War Vet to Face Court Martial in Iraq over Protest Song

FT. STEWART, GA - The US military plans to extradite a stop-lossed
Iraq war veteran to Iraq “within a few days” to face a court martial
for allegedly threatening military officers in a protest rap song he
made.

Spc. Marc Hall has been jailed in the Liberty County Jail near Fort
Stewart, Ga., since Dec. 11 because he wrote a song called “Stop Loss”
about the practice of involuntarily extending military members’
contracts.

"It is our belief that the Army would violate its own regulations by
deploying Marc and it would certainly violate his right to due process
by making it far more difficult to get witnesses. It appears the Army
doesn't believe it can get a conviction in a fair and public trial. We
will do whatever we can to insure he remain in the United States," said
Hall’s civilian attorney, David Gespass.

Gespass claims the Army's attempts to deploy Hall violate Army
Regulations 600-8-105 and the Army's conscientious objector
regulations. Hall applied for a conscientious objector discharge
Monday. The military’s move would also separate Hall from both his
civilian legal team and military defender.

"The Army seeks to disappear Marc and the politically charged issues
involved here, including: the unfair stop-loss policy, the boundary of
free speech and art by soldiers, and the continuing Iraq occupation.
The actual charges are overblown if not frivolous, so I'm not surprised
the Army wants to avoid having a public trial," explained Jeff
Paterson, executive director of Courage to Resist.

An Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) member, Hall served 14 months
in Iraq. He was scheduled to end his military contract on Feb. 27 but
received a stop loss order that he would have to stay on active-duty to
re-deploy to Iraq with his unit.

"Marc served his tour of duty to Iraq honorably,” said Brenda McElveen,
Hall's mother. “To his dismay, he was told that he would be deployed
again. When Marc voiced his concerns over this matter, his concerns
fell on deaf ears. To let his frustration be known, Marc wrote and
released the song. Marc is not now nor has he ever been violent."

Using stop loss orders, the US military has stopped about 185,000
soldiers from leaving the military since 2001. An additional 13,000
troops are now serving under stop-loss orders. President Obama said he
thinks the practice should be stopped.

Hall, 34, was charged Dec. 17 with five specifications in violation of
Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, including
“wrongfully threatening acts of violence against members of his unit.”
His arrest came about a month after 13 people were killed in a shooting
incident at Fort Hood, Texas. Hall, whose hiphop name is Marc Watercus,
mailed a copy of his “Stop Loss” song to the Pentagon.

Based at Fort Stewart, Hall said the song was a “free expression of how
people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy” not a threat. “My
first sergeant said he actually liked the song and that he did not take
it as a threat,” Hall added.

A South Carolina native, Hall wanted to leave the military to spend more time with his wife and child.

Hall’s song: http://marcwatercus.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/stoploss.mp3

A copy of the US Army’s press release about transferring Hall to Iraq is available on request.

 

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Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) advocacy group of veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel who have served since September 11, 2001. IVAW’s Right to Heal Initiative is focused on holding the U.S. government accountable for human right violations of the health of Iraqis, Afghans and U.S. veterans. IVAW currently has over 2,500 members in fifty states, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Afghanistan.

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