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Antiwar GI Editor Gets Eight Years.

PFC. Bruce L, Petersen, a founder and editor of Ft, Hood's underground paper, the Fatigue Press, was found guilty of two counts of possession of marijuana in a general court martial here November 6. He was sentenced to eight years at hard labor and a dishonorable discharge. The marijuana he supposedly had possessed was such a small amount that the prosecution was unable in present any of it in court as evidence. Petersen's real crime was his work with the Fatigue Press, and with the Oleo Strut Coffeehouse in nearby Killeen.

On September 7, Petersen was standing in front of the Oleo Strut. A Killeen policeman drove up, questioned him about a “yellow and black” car, made a radio call, motioned Petersen into his car and drove off. Friends learned that he was being held for “suspicion of possession of marijuana,” that the lint had been removed from his pockets to be “sent off for analysis,” and that he was being held on $25,000 bail. He was held in the Bell County Jail until September 10, when the charges were dropped and he was turned over to military authorities. The Army than charged him with two counts of marijuana possession, on the basis of the civilian arrest.

Petersen's attorney presented motions to have the trial thrown out on the basis that the arrests were made by civilian authorities, that under civilian procedures the search and seizure was illegal, and that there was not sufficient evidence to take the case before the civil courts. The motions were denied.

The Army's “expert” witness said he had made a microscopic analysis of the “evidence,” and that it was indeed marijuana. This was the only “evidence” that could be presented in court, as it had all been destroyed during the “analysis.” The defense asked for a continuance in order to subpoena other experts who could prove that marijuana cannot he identified by microscopic analysis. The request was refused.

An automatic appeal of Petersen's conviction has already been made. However, no evidence not admitted in the original trial can he admitted in the appeal, and the appeal remains within the military judicial system. Friends of Petersen are trying to get a congressional investigation of Ft. Hood, and to bring pressure on the authorities while the case is being appealed.

All organizations and individuals are asked to put pressure on their congressmen to force an investigation of military justice at Ft. Hood. Without outside pressure, Petersen will be railroaded for certain.

THE ALLY URGES ALL ITS READERS TO WRITE THEIR CONGRESSMEN AND TO SENATOR McCarthy.

The Ally, no. 12

 

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