Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Voices Of Defiance - From Inside Dix Stockade
n 3 Feb. in a training class on the Code of Conduct in the Fort Dix Stockade two men were put in maximum security because they believed that the history books told them: that America was a freedom-loving country and that they had the right to openly discuss points brought up in the Training Class. They were mistaken, of course. The two men were Bob North and John Lewis.
The class instructor told us how bad Communism was. How if we weren't watchful it would "get" us. How the communists were trying to take our freedom away - we had to laugh at that one. How if we were captured by the "enemy" we would be brainwashed and beaten and degraded.
At this point John Lewis stood up and asked the instructor what he was trying to do to us except brainwash us into believing the lies he was telling us.
Lewis asked him and the other prisoners who had captured them and put them behind the wire? The communists? Who had sent them to the jungles of Vietnam? The communists? Who was trying to brainwash them right now? The communists? Who spent hours harassing and degrading them? The communists? No, to all those questions. The enemy of the prisoners in the Fort Dix Stockade is the Army and the Government of the United States. They are depriving us of our freedom and rights They tell us about our freedoms out of one side of their mouths and then tell us to shut up out the other side when we begin to practice these rights.
To the instructor Lewis said, "You are my enemy. You talk about how free this country was after the Revolution in 1776. You tell this to the 50 or 75 black men in this room and knowing that their forefathers and mothers were slaves in 1776.
"You talk to us of freedom. We are not free. We are prisoners of war. We are in a concentration camp. We are deprived of our human rights and our civil rights."
Lewis pointed his finger at the instructor and said, "You're a liar! Everything you have said today is a lie!"
John Lewis was ordered to leave the training room. All during his rap the guys in the room applauded and yelled their approval. Now they yelled their demand that he be allowed to remain in the training room.
John Lewis was held in a cage called a bull pen for 12, hours before he was finally sent to maximum security. His friend and supporter Bob North was asleep when guards came for him in the night.
On Feb. 5 John Lewis and North were put on bread and water simply because Lewis exercised his right of free speech.
In spite of this, the two men said in their letter statement smuggled out of the stockade: "If we want our freedom and rights we must fight for them. We must 'organize our brothers. We must stand up because if we don't, we surrender our rights. It is a hard fight, a lonely fight at times. But above all it is a necessary fight if we want to be free men."
Terry is two cells down from me. John Lewis is in the middle between Terry and I, and Robert North should be moved over here later tonight.
The major has told me he's going to keep me here. He has tried me three times in Cell Block 60 and has had to move me back to the steel cells each time. He also told me this, "Brakefield, I don't want to happen here at my hotel what's happening out at Presidio."
William S. Brakefield
New York Resistance
PFC Terry Klug, who wrote the following, worked with RITA in Europe, then returned to join the GI struggle here.
On the 1st of March, 1969 at approximately 1:00 pm in segregation cell block 71, Sgt. Wicklow, then on duty as segregation shift leader, conveyed to me the reason that I was placed behind bars in maximum security and not committed to the Pound along with the majority of the prisoners. The reason is, as he put it, because I am a "trouble-maker and instigator". He went on to explain that Maj. Cashman could not possibly afford to release me into the Pound because I would undoubtedly speak to the other men of my political ideas and convictions and that the majority of them would probably listen to me and adhere to my ideas, not because what I have to say to those men would be the truth, but "because most of them are stupid!" Therefore I gathered that in Sgt. Wicklow's estimation, Major Cashman is justified in keeping me behind bars (on a Code 14 -- very sensitive person) so that I will not be able to exercise my constitutional right of free speech.
Sgt. Wicklow said that if by some chance I was let out of segregation and placed back in Cell Block 60 (also maximum security) or in the Pound, that he would see to it that I was placed back in the inhuman 8 ft. by 6 ft. steel cage. It is obvious to me that I will remain in the "cage" regardless of faulty or flawless conduct for the remainder of my time in the Fort Dix Stockade. It must also be noted that as of yet I have not been tried or convicted of any crime -- either in civilian or military court. Because of this, I regard myself as a political prisoner whose constitutional rights have been and continue to be unjustly and immorally violated.
Witness to what Sgt. Wicklow said to me is prisoner John Lewis who at this time is in the cell immediately next to mine.
ASU member and organizer
The Bond, vol. 3, no. 3