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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

More Threats To Free Speech

FIRST AMENDMENT questions, similar to those at issue in the Stolte, Amick trial, are being raised in the case of Lt. Dennis Morrisseau of Ft. Devens, Mass.

On Mar. 3 Dennis attended a McCarthy rally at Dartmouth College, off-duty and in uniform. His presence was reported to his CO. Two days later, the brass asked him to take an antiwar sticker off his car or lose his on-post driving privileges. He chose the latter. Incidentally a number of cars on base carry bumper stickers supporting the war. At that point Dennis was told that he had violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice by attending the McCarthy rally.

Not easily intimidated, Dennis proceeded to picket the White House on March 10, again off-duty but in uniform, with a sign reading “120,000 American Casualties. Why?”

At this point, the Army decided to Shanghai Dennis, apparently because they were unsure they could court-martial him for free speech activities. They knew that Dennis was due in Ft. Jackson, SC., on March 14, from which point he was to go to Panama for jungle training. In fact, Dennis already had his reservation on a commercial airliner for the evening of March 13.

But that morning, he was ordered to board an Army plane for Ft. Jackson immediately. He was not allowed time to pick up his belongings, but instead was hustled into a staff car and driven to the airfield. The plane was waiting for him, engines running.

Dennis refused to board the plane, saying that he believed that the order was unlawful and that the Army was holding him prisoner. His request for counsel was denied, and he was returned to Ft. Devens and placed under arrest in his room. He has been held there ever since. Although the officer appointed to investigate the case has recommended that the charges be dropped, his CO forwarded the pre-referral of charges to First Army Headquarters, at Ft. Meade, Md.

Dennis is being represented by ACLU Attorney Edward Sherman, who will base his defense on the FIRST AMENDMENT. Sherman is keeping The Ally informed of the case.

The Ally, no. 5

 

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