Army Imprisons Soldier for Singing Against Stop-Loss Policy

When I first heard about Army Specialist Marcus Waters being arrested recording a song about his frustration with ‘Stop Loss’  all I could do was shake my head in disbelief. I’m not  sure if anyone has been to a military base.. but for those who haven’t, our brave men and women who put their lives on the line are allowed to be entertained by comedians and rappers who joke and rap about everything from lewd sex acts  to who they shot down in the streets over a beef.. We’re allowed to have our soldiers exposed to that in the guise of entertainment..  Our soldiers can have radio stations that pipe in Pro-war politicized messages wrapped in religious cloth.. but if one of our men and women in military take a stance and talk about a policy that not only impacts the men and women who served, but is likely to have dire impact on the rest of us when a troubled, angry, post traumatized individuals return home to the community, they can wind up in jail…

This is absolutely crazy… Stop Loss is a problem onto itself and its high time.. President Obama do the right thing and reverse a policy put into place by his predecessor George Bush. Before folks start trying to pick a part this story and point out some sort of technicality or pompously state he signed on the dotted line and gave up his rights…blah blah blah.. People need to fall back and keep a couple of things in mind…

In many of our communities we have two types of people who have gone away and will soon be returning home. We have a lot of prisoners. Many who went to jail for a long time for ‘correctable crimes’,  meaning that they should’ve been rehabilitated, but in many places they are simply warehoused as we pump out our collective chests and say we are tough on crime…

Well sadly many of those folks come back, hardened, wacked out, angry at the world after experiencing the horrors of prison and have made up their mind that someone will pay-that’s usually us-the community.

The other group that’s returning are soldiers, many who enlisted because they were poor and saw their choices narrowed down to  run the streets and go to jail or ‘be all you can be’ and join the army… Well amny have been demoralized upon realizing they are fighting a war that seems to have no end in sight. Many are upset that they on the battlefield under false pretenses-the Big Lie about ‘Weapons of Mass Desrtuction’… many are despondant as they see that there are lots of people caking bigtime off these wars.. Companies like Haliburton.. Blackwater, DymeCorp..  etc.. War is big business aand the men and women who come from poor communities and are now on 3rd and 4th tours of duty are feeling the same frustration that was eloquently expressed in the song..

When these trained warriors return home they come to those same communities with returning prisoners.. We have two angry, traumaticized groups of people in the community and we have blowhards telling us we don’t need healthcare, job training, mental health facilities etc.. Folks we best be prepared..

We also need to keep in mind that the military just arrested a sister Alexis Hutchinson who refused to deploy because she has a 10 month old baby and no one to take care of him.. Talk about causing generational trauma.. How sad is that?  Am I the only one to think about how they described slavery where babies were born and slave mothers were made to go back on the field within a few days or weeks after giving birth?Here we have aguy exercising free speech who is arrested and woman who bares a child and is arrested for opting to take care of her 10 month old.. This is crazy.

Peep Marcus Waters song called Stop Loss here : http://bit.ly/4Rwqm9

-Davey D-

Army Imprisons Soldier for Singing Against Stop-Loss Policy

Friday 08 January 2010

by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Report
(Photo: Courage to Resist; Edited: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t)

Marcus Water

Army Specialist and Iraq war veteran Marc Hall was incarcerated by the US Army on December 11, 2009, in Liberty County Jail, Georgia, for recording a song that expresses his anger over the Army’s stop-loss policy.

Stop-loss is a policy that allows the Army to keep soldiers active beyond the end of their signed contracts. According to the Pentagon, more than 120,000 soldiers have been affected by stop-loss since 2001, and currently 13,000 soldiers are serving under stop-loss orders.

Hall, (aka hip hop artist Marc Watercus), who is in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, was placed in Liberty County Jail for the song (click here to listen to “Stop-Loss,” by Marc Watercus), in which he angrily denounces the continuing policy that has barred him from exiting the military.

Military service members do not completely give up their rights to free speech, particularly not when they are doing so artistically while off duty, as was the case with Hall. He is charged under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which covers “all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline” and “all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.” The military is claiming that he “communicated a threat” with his song. Hall mailed a copy of the song to the Pentagon after the Army unilaterally extended his contract for a second Iraq deployment.

Hall planned to leave the military at the end of his contract on February 27, before his commander, Captain Cross at Fort Stewart, moved to have him incarcerated for the song. The military currently intends to keep Hall in pre-trial confinement until he is court-martialed, which is expected to be several months from now.

Jim Klimanski, a civilian military lawyer, member of the National Lawyers Guild and the Military Law Task Force, who is closely following Hall’s case, told Truthout that he feels the military is overreacting to the case, and that it is simply a matter of free speech and that the Army’s actions violate his First Amendment right to free speech.

“It’s a political case, and the military should know that,” Klimanski explained, “I think they are overreaching and overreacting because of Maj. Hassan (who went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood on November 5), and I can understand that to some degree, but cooler heads should prevail and they should deal with stop-loss, and maybe we’ll get the case thrown out. One would hope that common sense would prevail.”

Hall is opposed to the occupation of Iraq, and had told his commander he would not deploy if ordered. His unit deployed to Iraq without him in mid-December, but this is not why Hall is in jail, as he was jailed before his unit was sent to Iraq.

“The military never ordered him to go [to Iraq], they put him in jail before that,” Klimanski continued, “They can’t charge him with missing movement, because he couldn’t go because they put him in jail. He told them he wanted out, he wouldn’t go, but they didn’t put him in jail for not going.”

In a statement on January 5, Hall said, “”My first sergeant called me into his office to discuss the song’s nature. I explained to him that the hardcore rap song was a free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy. I explained that the song was neither a physical threat nor any threat whatsoever. I told him it was just hip-hop.”

Hall added, “My first sergeant said he actually liked the song and that he did not take it as a threat. He and my commander at the time just recommended me for mental counseling and evaluation.”

Truthout obtained a redacted copy of the Army’s Charge Sheet against Hall, filed by Marcus Seiser, that includes five charges. On the sheet, Hall is accused of telling someone he would “go on a rampage,” that “the song makes threats of acts of violence,” and that Hall is accused “of planning on shooting the brigade or battalion commanders.”

Jason Hurd, an Iraq war veteran who has been assisting Marc Hall, told Truthout that he believes the military is overreacting to Hall’s song due to the November 5 shooting at Fort Hood.

“It really frustrates me that they [military] are reacting in such an excessive way,” Hurd, a member of Iraq Veteran’s Against the War, told Truthout, “When you are talking about communicating a threat, a threat has to be at something or someone. If you listen to Marc’s song, he’s not saying he wants to kill someone in his chain of command, he makes broad artistic expressions of anger. The military likes to keep a lid on things, and it’s now very frustrating they are taking such extensive measures to save face, and they are afraid after the Ft. Hood shooting. So as a result of Ft. Hood, they have persecuted Marc, and now he’s incarcerated.”

Hurd also feels the case underscores an underlying hypocrisy within the military.

“From a military that has us, while we’re jogging, chant in cadence about killing babies, to then come down on someone for writing an angry song, is ludicrous,” Hurd added, “Marc is just expressing the anger that 13,000 soldiers are feeling right now, because there are currently that many who are stop-lossed. All he did was make his opinion heard.”

According to Hurd, who has been speaking with Hall regularly via telephone, Hall told him that how the military has handled his case “really got me thinking about the whole situation, and how we acted like thugs over there [in Iraq]. In good conscious I could not go back over there and do it again.”

Jeff Paterson, the founder and director of the soldier advocacy group Courage to Resist, which is assisting Hall, told Truthout, “Marc’s case is unique in that the military hasn’t shown a propensity to go after these political speech cases for several years. Here, since he’s an angry man who recorded a song, they are making him a target for having expressed his anger in an artistic way. We think this is an important case because it could set precedent for free speech rights for those in the military.”

Klimanski, along with underscoring the importance of the case for the First Amendment, thinks the case highlights the military’s ongoing use of stop-loss, which also contributes to how they have responded to Hall’s song.

“It’s a song, and he puts it out to the public,” Klimanski told Truthout, “We’re not talking about a Major Hassan who is quietly plotting violence … this is political hyperbole. This is his rant on stop-loss. It’s political speech.”

Klimanski said that by nature, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end, and Hall’s song expresses concern over the possibility of his never being discharged from the military.

“He’s over there saying I have no control over my life. I could be in here forever. We’re not talking about a war that is going to be over next year. We’re talking about a war that could go on forever. So poor old Marc Hall could possibility be in the military forever. Once enlistment starts dropping, the Army maintains troop levels by keeping the ones they have. If you’re not going to go to one place, you’re going to another, but you’re not going to get out. I see this as an issue of political speech. The military may not like what they’re hearing, but that’s what it is. There are people in the military saying their being in it is/was wrong, and they want out.”

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Why Is the Media So Obsessed With Horrifying Images of African-American Mothers?

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Why Is the Media So Obsessed With Horrifying Images of African-American Mothers?

By Melissa Harris-Lacewell, The Nation.

With Michelle Obama in the White House, I expected a resurgence of the Claire Huxtable stereotype. Instead, hideous depictions of abusive, irresponsible black moms are everywhere.

http://www.alternet.org/media/144190/why_is_the_media_so_obsessed_with_horrifying_images_of_african-american_mothers_/?page=entire

Bad black mothers are everywhere these days.

With Michelle Obama in the White House, consciously and conspicuously serving as mom-in-chief, I expected (even somewhat dreaded) a resurgence of Claire Huxtable images of black motherhood: effortless glamor, professional success, measured wit, firm guidance, loving partnership, and the calm reassurance that American women can, in fact, have it all.

Instead the news is currently dominated by horrifying images of African American mothers.

Most ubiquitous is the near universally celebrated performance of Mo’Nique in the new film Precious. Critically and popularly acclaimed Precious is the film adaption of the novel Push. It is the story of an illiterate, obese, dark-skinned, teenager who is pregnant, for the second time, with her rapist father’s child. (Think The Color Purple in a 1980s inner-city rather than 1930s rural Georgia)

At the core of the film is Precious’ unimaginably brutal mother. She is an unredeemed monster who brutalizes her daughter verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually. This mother pimps both her daughter and the government. Stealing her daughter’s childhood and her welfare payments.

The mother of 5 year old Shaniya Davis

Just as Precious was opening to national audiences a real-life corollary emerged in the news cycle, when 5-year-old Shaniya Davis was found dead along a roadside in North Carolina. Her mother, a 25-year-old woman with a history of drug abuse, has been arrested on charges of child trafficking. The charges allege that this mother offered her 5-year-old daughter for sex with adult men.

Yet another black mother made headlines in the past week, when U.S. soldier, Alexis Hutchinson, refused to report for deployment to Afghanistan. Hutchinson is a single mother of an infant, and was unable to find suitable care for her son before she was deployed. She had initially turned to her own mother who found it impossible to care for the child because of prior caregiver commitments. Stuck without reasonable accommodations, Hutchinson chose not to deploy. Hutchinson’s son was temporally placed in foster care. She faces charges and possible jail time.

These stories are a reminder, that for African American women, reproduction has never been an entirely private matter.

Nobel Laureate, Toni Morrison, chose the stories of enslaved black mothers to depict the most horrifying effects of American slavery. In her novel, Beloved, Morrison reveals the unimaginable pain some black mothers experienced because their children were profitable for their enslavers. Enslaved black women did not birth children; they produced units for sale, measurable in labor contributions. Despite the patrilineal norm that governed free society, enslaved mothers were forced to pass along their enslaved status to their infants; ensuring intergenerational chattel bondage was the first inheritance black mothers gave to black children in America.

Alexis Hutchinson

As free citizens black women’s reproduction was no longer directly tied to profits. In this new context, black mothers became the object of fierce eugenics efforts. Black women, depicted as sexually insatiable breeders, are adaptive for a slave holding society but not for the new context of freedom. Black women’s assumed lasciviousness and rampant reproduction became threatening. In Killing the Black Body, law professor, Dorothy Roberts, explains how the state employed involuntary sterilization, pressure to submit to long-term birth control, and restriction of state benefits for large families as a means to control black women’s reproduction.

At the turn of the century many public reformers held African American women particularly accountable for the “degenerative conditions” of the race. Black women were blamed for being insufficient housekeepers, inattentive mothers, and poor educators of their children. Because women were supposed to maintain society’s moral order, any claim about rampant disorder was a burden laid specifically at women’s feet.

In a 1904 pamphlet “Experiences of the Race problem. By a Southern White Woman” the author claims of black women, “They are the greatest menace possible to the moral life of any community where they live. And they are evidently the chief instruments of the degradation of the men of their own race. When a man’s mother, wife, and daughters are all immoral women, there is no room in his fallen nature for the aspirations of honor and virtue…I cannot imagine such a creation as a virtuous black woman.”

Decades later, Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” designated black mothers as the principal cause of a culture of pathology, which kept black people from achieving equality. Moynihan’s research predated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but instead of identifying the structural barriers facing African American communities, he reported the assumed deviance of Negro families.

This deviance was clear and obvious, he opined, because black families were led by women who seemed to have the primary decision making roles in households. Moynihan’s conclusions granted permission to two generations of conservative policy makers to imagine poor, black women as domineering household managers whose unfeminine insistence on control both emasculated their potential male partners and destroyed their children’s future opportunities. The Moynihan report encouraged the state not to view black mother as women doing the best they could in tough circumstances, but instead to blame them as unrelenting cheats who unfairly demand assistance from the system.

Black mothers were again blamed as the central cause of social and economic decline in the early 1990s, when news stories and popular films about “crack babies” became dominant. Crack babies were the living, squealing, suffering evidence of pathological black motherhood and American citizens were going to have to pay the bill for the children of these bad mothers.

Susan Douglass and Meredith Michaels, authors of The Mommy Myth explain that media created the “crack baby” phenomenon as a part of a broader history that understands black motherhood as inherently pathological. They write: “It turned out there was no convincing evidence that use of crack actually causes abnormal babies, even though the media insisted this was so…media coverage of crack babies serves as a powerful cautionary tale about the inherent fitness of poor or lower class African American women to be mothers at all.”

This ugly history and its policy ramifications are the backdrop against which these three contemporary black mother stories must be viewed.

Undoubtedly Mo’Nique has given an amazing performance in Precious. But the critical and popular embrace of this depiction of a monstrous black mother has potentially important, and troubling, political meaning. In a country with tens of thousands of missing and exploited children, it is not accidental that the abuse and murder of Shaniya Davis captured the American media cycle just as Precious opened. The sickening acts of Shaniya’s mother become the story that underlines and makes tangible, believable, and credible the jaw-dropping horror of Mo’Nique’s character.

And here too is Alexis Hutchinson. As a volunteer soldier in wartime, she ought to embody the very core of American citizen sacrifice. Instead she is a bad black mother. Implied in the her story is the damning idea that Hutchinson has committed the very worse infraction against her child and her country. Hutchinson has failed to marry a responsible, present, bread-winning man who would free her of the need to labor outside the home. Hutchinson does not stay on the home front clutching her weeping young child as her man goes off to war. Instead, she struggles to find a safe place for him while she heads off to battle. Her motherhood is not idyllic, it is problematic. Like so many other black mothers her parenting is presented as disruptive to her duties as a citizen.

It is worth noting that Sarah Palin’s big public comeback is situated right in the middle of this news cycle full of “bad black mothers.” Palin’s own eye-brow raising reproductive choices and parenting outcomes have been deemed off-limits after her skirmish with late night TV comedians. Embodied in Palin, white motherhood still represents a renewal of the American dream; black motherhood represents its downfall.

Each of these stories, situated in a long tradition of pathologizing black motherhood, serves a purpose. Each encourages Americans to see black motherhood as a distortion of true motherhood ideals. Its effect is troublesome for all mothers of all races who must navigate complex personal, familial, social, and political circumstances.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, is completing her latest book, Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn’t Enough.

Army takes single mother’s 11 month old & force her off to Afghanistan

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AlexisHutchison-225

Alexis Hutchinson

This is further proof that America hates its children.  Why would women with children under 2 ever be separated from them in the first place?  There’s no good reason for that.  In fact, we should not even consider sending mothers with young children overseas to fight some damned imperialist war to enrich the corporate elite.  This ongoing destruction of families is an outrage, not to mention the ongoing genocidal wars against the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Moreover, recent reports have exposed the huge number of rapes female soldiers have suffered often without recourse.  I can’t for the life of me see why a woman would ever want to join this reactionary, sexist military.  But then the propaganda machine and false recruitment promises play on the naivete of our sisters, no doubt.  In any case, we must demand an end to this practice of deploying parents with no regard for the welfare of their/our children. 

Sister Kiilu Nyasha

Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan
 By Dahr Jamail
Source: Inter Press Service
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/23140

VENTURA, California, Nov 13 (IPS) – U.S. Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother, is being threatened with a military court-martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan, despite having been told she would be granted extra time to find someone to care for her 11-month-old son while she is overseas.

Hutchinson, of Oakland, California, is currently being confined at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, after being arrested. Her son was placed into a county foster care system.

Hutchinson has been threatened with a court martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan on Sunday, Nov. 15. She has been attempting to find someone to take care of her child, Kamani, while she is deployed overseas, but to no avail.

According to the family care plan of the U.S. Army, Hutchinson was allowed to fly to California and leave her son with her mother, Angelique Hughes of Oakland.

However, after a week of caring for the child, Hughes realized she was unable to care for Kamani along with her other duties of caring for a daughter with special needs, her ailing mother, and an ailing sister.

In late October, Angelique Hughes told Hutchinson and her commander that she would be unable to care for Kamani after all. The Army then gave Hutchinson an extension of time to allow her to find someone else to care for Kamani. Meanwhile, Hughes brought Kamani back to Georgia to be with his mother.

However, only a few days before Hutchinson’s original deployment date, she was told by the Army she would not get the time extension after all, and would have to deploy, despite not having found anyone to care for her child.

Faced with this choice, Hutchinson chose not to show up for her plane to Afghanistan. The military arrested her and placed her child in the county foster care system.

Currently, Hutchinson is scheduled to fly to Afghanistan on Sunday for a special court martial, where she then faces up to one year in jail.

Hutchinson’s civilian lawyer, Rai Sue Sussman, told IPS, “The core issue is that they are asking her to make an inhumane choice. She did not have a complete family care plan, meaning she did not find someone to provide long-term care for her child. She’s required to have a complete family care plan, and was told she’d have an extension, but then they changed it on her.”

Asked why she believes the military revoked Hutchinson’s extension, Sussman responded, “I think they didn’t believe her that she was unable to find someone to care for her infant. They think she’s just trying to get out of her deployment. But she’s just trying to find someone she can trust to take care of her baby.”

Hutchinson’s mother has flown to Georgia to retrieve the baby, but is overwhelmed and does not feel able to provide long-term care for the child.

According to Sussman, the soldier needs more time to find someone to care for her infant, but does not as yet have friends or family able to do so.

Sussman says Hutchinson told her, “It is outrageous that they would deploy a single mother without a complete and current family care plan. I would like to find someone I trust who can take care of my son, but I cannot force my family to do this. They are dealing with their own health issues.”

Sussman told IPS that the Army’s JAG attorney, Captain Ed Whitford, “told me they thought her chain of command thought she was trying to get out of her deployment by using her child as an excuse.” ‘

Major Gallagher, of Hutchinson’s unit, also told Sussman that he did not believe it was a real family crisis, and that Hutchinson’s “mother should have been able to take care of the baby”.

In addition, according to Sussman, a First Sergeant Gephart “told me he thought she [Hutchinson] was pulling her family care plan stuff to get out of her deployment”.

“To me it sounds completely bogus,” Sussman told IPS, “I think what they are actually going to do is have her spend her year deployment in Afghanistan, then court martial her back here upon her return. This would do irreparable harm to her child. I think they are doing this to punish her, because they think she is lying.”

Sussman explained that she believes the best possible outcome is for the Army to either give Hutchinson the extension they had said she would receive so that she can find someone to care for her infant, or barring this, to simply discharge her so she can take care of her child.

Nevertheless, Hutchinson is simply asking for the time extension to complete her family care plan, and not to be discharged.

“I’m outraged by this,” Sussman told IPS, “I’ve never gone to the media with a military client, but this situation is just completely over the top.”

here’s some local coverage of this incident

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=7118010

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