Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Military Attacks “Where It’s At”
Ever since the first issue of Where It's At came out last summer, the Brass has developed various schemes to prevent its circulation among guys in the US military. It started with character guidance sessions in the companies, where GIs were given the impression that Where It's At might somehow corrupt their innocent minds and that the American civilians who write and print Where It's At are a bunch of kooks, commies, hippies or subversives - remote-controlled by Ulbricbt, Breschnew, Mao, or sometimes the Devil.
At the same time the Brass tightened the screws on individual GIs. Men were called in for personal talks with their CO. They ware coaxed and they were threatened. Newspapers were confiscated. Extra duty and shit details were assigned.
The Brass knew damn well that GIs have every legal right to possess, read, and circulate Where It's At; that it is private property and no one is allowed to take it away. But the officers didn't play by the rules. Why should they? After all, the EMs were supposed to have already been trained not to think for themselves. Surely just a little pressure would keep him from reading Where It's At.
But it didn't. Since the first issue, Where It's At has been getting out to more and more GIs. Requests for the paper have come in from bases all over the world. Soldiers themselves have been writing articles.
Discouraged by the backfiring of its attempts, the military has now opened attack on another front. Where It's At is written by American civilians in West Berlin. Some of us are former GIs, some are students, some are working here. Recently the editors of Where It's At ... were summoned to appear before s police interrogation board here in Berlin. Allegedly two of our newspaper articles had contained a call to desertion, thereby violating Allied Ordinance No. 511, Article 2, amended by Ordinance No. 534, Article 3, passed Sept. 5 1968, in which it states that all persons “willfully persuading or inducing by oral or written means a member of the Allied Forces to leave or stay away from his unit or duty station without permission” shall be subject to prosecution.
No soldier could possibly have misconstrued either of the two articles to be a call to desertion or disobedience. What’s more, the editors. of Where It's At feel that only the soldier himself can make such far-reaching decisions about his life, since only he will be made to bear the consequences.
What we can do in writing Where It's At is see that the American serviceman overseas gets the news be needs in order to make his own decisions - news that for some reason never manages to get into print in Stars and Stripes, for example.
Since in fact there is no call to disobedience in the newspaper, why is the military, working through the German police, so uptight? Whose interests are being served by withholding information? Certainly not the interests of the American man in uniform who may have to make decisions of life and death for himself and others on the basis of censored information.
The military's plea to crush Where It's At is a blatant attempt to further limit freedom of speech for the GI. Of course the attempt will fail, as GIs have already demonstrated.
The Military's last resort may be to deport us from Berlin. If that happens, then guys in the army may want to start their own newspaper - like the FTA, The Last Harrass, and the Fatigue Press - put out by GIs at Fort Knox, Fort Gordon, and Fort Hood.
Where It's At, vol. 2, no. 1