Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Roger Priest — OM
“As a U. S. citizen and as a human being, I wish to expose the illegality and immorality of the unnecessary war in Vietnam. I specifically charge the U.S. government, the Armed Services and its industrial allies collectively and individually with the crime of waging aggressive war crimes against humanity, and with specific violation of the laws of war.”
The above words were written by Roger Priest, editor of OM and a member of the U.S. Navy. Roger has published three issues of OM since April 1969 and the Navy has been looking for a way to court-martial him ever since that time. Roger obeyed orders and gave his officers as small a target to hit as he could. His strategy was to force them to court-martial him for OM's contents, and not for some extraneous charge which might disguise the political nature of his battle with the military.
Finally, either his Navy bosses grew impatient waiting for Roger to break a rule or OM was getting too outrageous. In late June, he was hit with a court-martial charge sheet accusing him of everything that's happened to the Navy except perhaps stealing the Pueblo or letting the air out of that atomic submarine that sank in San Francisco Bay in May of this year.
The tactics that the Navy used are truly unbelievable. Besides following him, tapping his phone and other traditional tactics, the brass actually went rummaging through Roger's garbage in the hope of finding something that they could use against him. This is surprising since Roger has always made it clear that he was publishing the paper and there could be no question of his connection with it.
The charges against Roger include soliciting men to desert, disrespect toward Gen. Earl Wheeler, J. Edgar Hoover, and Melvin Laird (this is a result of a headline in Om: “TODAY’S PIGS ARE TOMORROW'S BACON”), intending to interfere with, impair and influence the loyalty, morale and discipline of the military and Naval Forces of the U.S., etc. The best one of all is Charge IV, Specification 7:In that Roger Lee Priest, journalist seaman apprentice, U.S. Navy, did, at Washington, District of Columbia, on or about 1 June 1969 in the June issue of a pamphlet entitled “OM The Liberation Newsletter” wrongfully use the following contemptuous words against the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee to the House of Representatives, L. Mendel Rivers, to wit:
BOBBY SEALE'S PARABLE
Once upon a time, there was a very poor man who was walkig along the base of a tall mountain. The man was extremely thirsty, so he was delighted when he came upon a stream. But as he bent down to quench his thirst, he noticed that the stream was full of muck and filth. In desperate ned of a cool, clean drink, the man tried to get the filth and muck out of the stream, but to no avail. As he was about to give up, another man appeared and asked him what he was doing.
“I am very, very thirsty,” the poor man said, “but I ca’nt drink from this stream because it is filthy and I am unable to clean it.”
The second man smiled and explained that the stream was full of muck and filth because a huge hog was standing in the middle of the stream at the top of the mountain.
“This hog,” the man said, “is pissing and shitting in the stream and that is why it is so dirty. If you want a cool clean drink, you must get the hog out of that stream.”
And with that, the two men set out to climb the mountain and get the hog out of the stream.
L. MENDEL RIVERS; GET YOUR ASS OUT OF THAT STREAM. YOU HEAR, BOY?
Fun Travel Adventure, no. 10