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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Last October the Presidio Stockade was the scene of a sit-down protest by 27 prisoners. In characteristic callous Army fashion the men are now facing charges of mutiny. With total lack of concern for the reasons motivating the prisoners actions the Army Brass is carrying out what it obviously feels is going to be a lesson to all those who wear its ODious uniform.
On Feb 13th the Army slamed 15 years at hard labor on the first of the 27 to be tried, and followed it up with 14 years for two more.
Pvt Nesrey Dean Sood, 26 paled slightly as the seven-man Military court announced its sentence. Soods lawyer, Paul Halvonik, told the press that "military justice is to justice as military bands are to music." When asked what Sood's reaction was, Halvonik said, "He knows the Army better than I do. When they said the verdict was 15 years, Dean turned to me and said 'I thought I'd get 20!"
Halvonik argued that merely refusing to obey an order is not mutiny. The men had sat down during morning role call and sung 'We Shall Over Come' and "America the Beautiful! Sood and the other men, his lawyer said, were simply trying to call attention to their legitimate grievances. The stockade at times had 140 prisoners crowded into a space fit for 88, and rations were often short. The inmates had demanded that military guards be subjected to psychiatric tests because of alleged acts of sadism. The protest took place three days after the killing of a prisoner, Pvt. Richard Bunch.
Bunch who was being held on an AWOL charge was considered mentally disturbed by most who knew him. His mother had turned him over to military authorities after they promised he'd get help. Instead he was put in the stockade where he attempted sucide several times. One day last Oct he walked away from a prison detail and was shot in the back of the head at close range.
The conditions that the GIs protested, the Army admits, existed then and remain the same today--four months after the protest. Despite the report by the Army Investigating officer, CPT Richard Millard which said "to charge mutiny, an offense which has its roots in the harsh Admiralty laws of the previous centuries, for demonstrating against conditions that existed in the stockade, is in my opinion, a miscarriage of justice." Despite a demonstration of 400 civilians outside Presidio gates which brought national press coverage to the trials the Army would like to cover up. And despite the growing dissatisfaction GIs all over are expressing about the way they are being mistreated the only response the Army seems capable of making is bigger sentences; no recognition that they were wrong, no hint that they aren't coming close to meeting the real needs of 'the subjects', including those in the stockade. No admitance of the fact that real outlets for legitimate grievances don' exist for GIs. Just 15 years hard labor.
Fun Travel Adventure, no. 7