On Friday, the U.S. Marine Corps decided to drop action against 22-year-old Sgt. Liam Madden, who had been threatened with an other-than-honorable discharge for wearing part of his uniform at a protest and making antiwar statements.  --  AP reported that the Marine Corps issued a statement saying it has "received sufficient indication" from Madden that he would no longer wear his uniform when engaged in political activities, but Madden said that he had not concluded any such agreement.[1]  --  "He did write in an e-mail to the Marine Corps Tuesday that he would agree to stop wearing his uniform at protests if the service put in writing 'that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate,'" Heather Hollingsworth reported.  --  "Madden said he never received the letter he requested on Marine Corps letterhead and had no further conversations with the Marines about his demand."  --  A press release issued Friday by Liam Madden showed he was anything but contrite.  --  He said:  "The dropping of charges in my case should be a signal to all vets that they can speak out.  The Marine Corps fear of holding a disciplinary hearing is an admission that my comments were accurate.  If the Marines had moved forward to discipline me I would have brought forward leading legal scholars, military law experts, and historians to demonstrate conclusively that the United States is now engaged in an illegal war of aggression under international law and therefore all acts being taken are war crimes."[2]  --  Currently on a tour of military bases to reach out to active duty troops and urge them to get involved in efforts to end the war, Madden added:  “There is no doubt that more and more troops are coming to the conclusion that this war is wrong and are ready to speak out.  Indeed, under international law all acts taken in an illegal war of aggression are considered war crimes,” noted Madden.  --  In an unrepentant letter he appended to the press release, Madden wrote to a Marine Corps officer:  "If it’s not true that the war in Iraq is illegal, then I believe it would be indeed disloyal to declare such a position.  However, the fact of the matter is that the United States is violating the sovereignty of another nation without the approval of the U.N. Security Council or a legitimate claim to self-defense.  Sir, is honesty disloyalty?"  --  A "Good Morning America" clip of an interview with Liam Madden can be viewed at the link below.[3] ...


1.

Breaking news

MARINES DROP CASE AGAINST IRAQ VETERAN
By Heather Hollingsworth

Associated Press
June 29, 2007

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6747477,00.html

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Marines won't kick out an Iraq war veteran who made anti-war statements in a speech and wore part of his uniform at a protest, the service said Friday, despite a recommendation to discharge him early.

The Marines said in a statement that they weren't proceeding with the case because they had "received sufficient indication" from Liam Madden, 22, that he would no longer wear his uniform when engaged in political activities. They also determined that his statements did not warrant further action.

"I think it's a total victory," Madden said, speaking on his cell phone from Columbia, S.C., where he is participating in a bus tour of East Coast military installations. "The country is on our side, and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimidate."

But Madden insisted he reached no such agreement with the Marines about his uniform, and the Marines later said their only action was to notify Madden of their intent to discharge him if he failed to comply with regulations.

An investigating officer had recommended in May that Madden, of Boston, receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court-martial conditions.

Madden is part of the Individual Ready Reserve, which consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations. He is scheduled to be discharged in 2010.

Madden was accused of making "disloyal statements" during a speech in February in New York in which he accused President Bush of betraying service members and called the fighting in Iraq a "war crime." The speech was posted on the Internet.

Madden also was accused of a uniform violation for wearing a camouflage, button-down shirt and jeans at a demonstration in Washington in January.

Madden insists he did not reach an agreement with the Marines and planned to keep wearing his uniform at protests. He did write in an e-mail to the Marine Corps Tuesday that he would agree to stop wearing his uniform at protests if the service put in writing ''that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate.''

Madden said he never received the letter he requested on Marine Corps letterhead and had no further conversations with the Marines about his demand.

"The Marine Corps will not need to take any action as long as Sgt. Madden continues to follow regulations," Master Sgt. Ronald J. Spencer wrote in an e-mail later Thursday, noting that Madden had not been seen wearing a uniform at a protest since the investigation started.

Madden was one of at least three Marines investigated for their protest activities. Another, Adam Kokesh of Washington, D.C., was kicked out of the Marines earlier this month with a general discharge for wearing his uniform during a demonstration and using an obscenity in an e-mail to an investigating officer.

Kokesh's attorney said the other-than-honorable discharge could affect health benefits, but Madden said his attorneys did not think it would because he previously received an honorable discharge from active duty.

An other-than-honorable discharge would affect employment prospects and ability to obtain a security clearance, Madden's attorneys said.

2.

For immediate release
June 29, 2007
1:09 p.m.

Contact: Liam Madden
Liam Madden 703-408-3626

MARINES CUT AND RUN -- DROP CHARGES AGAINST VET WHO CLAIMED IRAQ WAR IS ILLEGAL

** “Marines Cower at a Real Debate on Whether War Crimes Are Being Committed in Iraq” **

http://www.commondreams.org/news2007/0629-08.htm

WASHINGTON -- Liam Madden, the Iraq War veteran who claimed the military attack on Iraq was “an illegal war of aggression under Nuremberg principles” and that “war crimes were being committed in Iraq,” received word today that the Marines have dropped the charges against him rather than provide a forum for these issues to be debated. The Marines had claimed his comments were “disloyal” and threatened to reduce his discharge from honorable to less than honorable.

“I planned to argue that my comments were accurate and therefore not disloyal. In fact, it is the duty of veterans and active duty members of the military to stand up and tell their leaders when war crimes are being committed,” said Madden. “Now that the military has chickened out and dropped these charges I hope others will join me in speaking out against this illegal war.”

The Marines offered to drop the charges against Madden if he agreed to not wear his uniform at demonstrations. Liam responded that he would agree to that only if the Marines agreed that his comments about the war being illegal were not disloyal because they were accurate. His response to the Marines is below.

“The dropping of charges in my case should be a signal to all vets that they can speak out. The Marine Corps fear of holding a disciplinary hearing is an admission that my comments were accurate. If the Marines had moved forward to discipline me I would have brought forward leading legal scholars, military law experts and historians to demonstrate conclusively that the United States is now engaged in an illegal war of aggression under international law and therefore all acts being taken are war crimes,” said Madden.

Madden is currently on tour with fellow vets going to military bases to reach out to active duty troops and urge them to get involved in efforts to end the war. “The reception we are receiving is remarkable. There is no doubt that more and more troops are coming to the conclusion that this war is wrong and are ready to speak out. Indeed, under international law all acts taken in an illegal war of aggression are considered war crimes,” noted Madden.

Madden can be reached while he is on the road for interviews. His number is 703-408-3626.

# # #

LIAM MADDEN'S RESPONSE TO THE MARINES

June 25, 2007

Lt. Col. Blessing,

This letter is in response to the offer the Marine Corps Mobilization Command relayed to me via my military appointed attorney. I am prepared to accept the settlement proposed in which the Marine Corps agrees not to continue with the discharge proceeding regarding my alleged disloyal statements and protest activity. I understand that this is contingent on my oral promise not to engage in further political protest while wearing articles of my Marine uniform.

I will make such an oral agreement and stand by my good word if the Marine Corps is prepared to meet the following condition.

I will orally agree to not wear my military uniforms while engaged in any political protest, hell, I’ll have it carved into stone if you’d like, upon receiving a signed, written statement on official USMC letterhead acknowledging that my statements in question were neither disloyal nor inaccurate. If the Marine Corps issues this statement, apologizing for erroneously (or possibly vindictively) accusing me of disloyalty to my country, I will not share it with another living soul.

I believe that the statements I make and the protest I engage in is necessary. If it’s not true that the war in Iraq is illegal, then I believe it would be indeed disloyal to declare such a position. However, the fact of the matter is that the United States is violating the sovereignty of another nation without the approval of the U.N. Security Council or a legitimate claim to self-defense. Sir, is honesty disloyalty?

Additionally, if it isn’t true, I would hope the U.S. Government would prove to the skeptical world that the war is legal instead, of trying to stifle political opposition. I am sure we can agree that protesting against an illegal war, premised on lies and baseless assertions, cannot be considered disloyal.

If the Marine Corps decides to not accept this condition, then I cannot agree to stop wearing my uniform at protests and we must continue to exhaust my legal alternatives. Which at present, include my right to an administrative board and may ultimately result in a case in federal appeals court.

I assure you, as a fellow patriot, my actions are taken in the best interest of the American people and the people of the world. Therefore, if the Marines decide to stop pursuing this case, I will accept that measure as your implied tolerance and support of protesting against war crimes while wearing military uniforms.

Thank you for considering my counter offer and I hope we can come to agreement on the matter. I understand men in your position have their careers to think about, as I’m positive many German Colonels did in 1939.

Semper Fidelis,
Liam Madden

3.

IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR (IVAW) ON GMA

YouTube
June 3, 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPxrghxtTRs