From Vietnam Veterans Against the War, http://www.vvaw.org/commentary/?id=1562
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After filing an official complaint over inadequate mental health services at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, Army SPC Marc Hall was jailed on December 12, 2009 on the pretext of an angry song about "Stop-loss" he produced in July 2009. The Army has recently shipped SPC Hall to Kuwait where he remains jailed awaiting a virtually secret trial.
Marc needs our help if he is going to have adequate legal representation and mental health support under these circumstances. *Update: The Army has scheduled General Court Martial for April 27 to be held in Iraq. Marc Hall will face six Art. 134 charges, seven years in jail, and a dishonorable discharge.*
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Excerpts from a letter from Army SPC Marc Hall, February 20, 2010
I never thought that I would join the Army only to one day be incarcerated by the Army. I have never been to jail in my life, until now. The Army is charging me with Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "communicating threats" towards my chain of command. Yet I was only communicating how I felt about what I have experienced in the Army and how I felt about the Army's "Stop-loss" policy. That policy meant that I could not leave the Army when I was supposed to, and after I had already served in Iraq for 14 months.
I guess this all started with a hardcore "rap" song I made about the Army's very unpopular "Stop-loss" policy back in July 2009. Like any "rap" or rock song, I was expressing my freedom of expression under the US Constitution. Being that the Army's "Stop-loss" policy was a Pentagon decision from what I had heard on the news, I decided to send a copy of my song directly to the Pentagon.
I don't know if anyone at the Pentagon listened to my song, but somebody in Washington DC mailed the package back to my chain of command. My First Sergeant called me in to his office to discuss it. I explained that the rap was a freedom of expression thing. And that it was not a physical threat, nor any kind of threat whatsoever. I explained that it was just hip hop. He told me that he kind of liked the song, that it sounded good.
Later when we trained in the field in Georgia and at the National Training Center (NTC) in California I was made to train without a weapon due to the song and my ongoing counseling. During that time of training without a weapon; however, I felt a surprising sense of peace for the first time.
After we came back from NTC in November 2009 I got to go on leave. I thought maybe two weeks leave would do me some good. But during my leave from November 21 to December 7 a deep depression sunk into me. I just wanted to be alone.
When I returned to Ft. Stewart on December 7, 2009 I really felt from that point on that I did not belong there. I realized that I was not fit for war anymore. I was burnt out and war was the cause of it. I was feeling a little unstable and shaky and I didn't know what to do about it. The very thought of holding and being around a loaded weapon again gave me the chills. I did not know who my enemies were anymore.
About a week later I spoke to my commanding officer, Captain Wynn of F-CO BSB, about how I am still feeling. I explained to him that I felt a little unstable, angry and depressed about war and how unfit I was for war. I said I did not want to get anybody hurt in this war--being that my battle buddies might have to depend on me. I did not want to be a misfortune to anybody. I explained that I had made an official IG complaint (with the Army Investigator General) about the treatment I felt I had not received from my last visit to behavioral health, and the unfair treatment and words that came from my direct NCOs. Behavioral health just rushed me out the door and left all decisions up to my chain of command to decide if I was fit or not.
I know my behavior health treatments where pushed aside so that 2-7 IN could have more bodies for this deployment. I believe that this was not fair to me, and it's not fair to my battle buddies to put a troubled solder on the battlefield knowing that I still have issues.
Capt. Wynn got me in to speak to the Lt. Colonel about my mental state. I tried to explain about the indirect way I might hurt other soldiers in uniform due to how I was burnt out. But he took it as a threat, basically read me my rights, and put me in the Liberty County Jail in Hinesville, Georgia.
I communicated an extended need for mental evaluation--not a threat.
I have to say that I have never been so humiliated in my entire life. I'm in jail with and next to people who have committed real crimes, including murder. And I'm in here for trying to get real treatment, voicing my feelings, and asserting freedom of expression through the art.
Marc A Hall
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