Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
GIs And Supporters Turn Armed Forces Day Around.
24 Bases Closed
GI Jury Tries Brass-Union Chairman Prosecutes
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. May 16-The imperialist Armed Forces of the United States went on trial here today. The site of the trial was the Champaign campus of the University of Illinois. The jury was comprised of 13 active-duty servicemen from Ft. Knox, Chanute Air Force Base, and Grissom Air Force Base. The charges were war crimes, crimes against the civilian populace of the U.S. and military injustice against the low ranking servicemen in the military.
Prosecuting the case was Andy Stapp, national Chairman of the American Servicemen's Union. This was a people's trial. There were no blackrobed judges, no paid informers, no cops to "keep order in the courtroom." Just 13 enlisted men and about 500 students crowded into the auditorium who had come to listen and cheer. In short it was a rehearsal for the day when the people would hold the real power and put their tormentors from the ruling class on trial.
Stapp called the witnesses to the stand to testify. Prof. Herb Schiller testified on the role of corporations in controlling foreign policy to insure greater profits for their companies. Mike Connell, a Vietnam veteran testified about the devastation that the U.S. expeditionary force had loosed on Southeast Asia. Lauri Macarthy spoke on the way working class people are manipulated into the military and then given the hardest and most dangerous jobs. Rod Reeves, a veteran, testified about the psychological methods the Brass, use to force rank and file GIs to submit to their authority.
Also testifying was Susan Fox, who documented the role the U.S. military has played in repressing the peoples' struggles here at home, from the railroad strikes in 1877 to the use of paratroopers against the black masses of Detroit in 1967 to the murder of the Kent State students. Herb Semmel, another veteran, testified about the 6th Army command's brutal suopression of the sitdown strike in the Presidio stockade in 1968.
The Bond, vol. 4, no. 6