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Ft. Ord Brass Try To Gag GIs

FORT ORD, Calif., April 9 - - The Army has opened up its most blatant attack on the GIs right of free speech with the announcement that it will court-martial Pvt. Ken Stolte for having passed out an anti-war leaflet to his fellow GIs. The charge is '' promoting disaffection among the troops and civilian populace,'' and carries a possible penalty of three years imprisonment,

Private Stolte is stationed at the Army Hospital on this 25,000-man base near Monterey. In the middle of February, several GIs distributed a leaflet entitled "We Protests'' that said in part:

''We are uniting and organizing to voice our opposition to this war. If you want to be constructive towards building a better world, then stop being destructive. If you really want to work for peace and freedom, then join us in our opposition. We are organizing a union to express our dissention and grievances,''

Although the leaflet merely says what many GIs, and even some retired generals, have been saying about. the war in Vietnam, the Brass have singled out Stolte for an attack on the GIs' right to speak his mind. The charges allege violation of articles 134 and 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and even attack the right of GIs to talk about forming a union!

At a time when it. is admitted that the majority of the American people oppose the government's policies on the war, it is criminal that a soldier who speaks up should be persecuted by the Brass. According to the Army, everyone has a right to an opinion on this war except the guys who have to fight and maybe die in it! However, it is one more indication that although legally a man is assumed to retain his rights when he is forced to put on a uniform, in practice GIs have to fight for their rights,

Private Stolte intends to fight for his right of free speech, and will be represented at his general courtmartial by Atty. Francis Heisler of Carmel.

The Bond, vol. 2, no. 4


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