soldier Blake Lemoine: jailed 7 months for refusing to kill
|Darmstadt, Germany - A U.S. military court convicted Blake
LeMoine, a 23-year-old Army mechanic, of disobeying orders after he had
spent a year in Iraq. Specialist LeMoine had said he wanted to quit the
army due to religious beliefs. The special military court sentenced him to
seven months confinement, reduction in rank to private and gave him a bad
Blake and Alayna Lemoine
Blake LeMoine returned from Iraq in May 2004 to the military base in
Darmstadt, Germany. His contract for active duty service was due to expire
on February 13, 2005, but when he requested to bring his wife Alayna, 20,
to live with him in Darmstadt, the Army required him in return to extend
his active duty contract for eight months, until October 13, 2005.
However, his tour of active duty could be extended indefinitely under the
new Stop Loss orders (http://www.nlg.org/mltf/stoploss.html)
issued by the military requiring soldiers to remain in active duty for as
long as needed. Thus, he could again be sent to Iraq or elsewhere, if the
U.S. decides to invade another country. The Military Law Task Force (MLTF)
along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) are currently
challenging the Stop Loss orders in U.S. court.
Mr LeMoine has been trying to get a discharge from the U.S. Army
unsuccessfully. His application for Conscientious Objector status is
pending. He also spoke out against U.S. army violence against Iraqis,
saying: "Iraqi civilians are often treated worse than animals."
In protest, Mr LeMoine has been on a hunger strike for a total of 41 days.
On February 17, he ended his first hunger strike after being told that the
Army was considering releasing him. However, on March 4, the Army charged
him with disobeying a lawful order. On March 4, Mr LeMoine also began a
second hunger strike, which he continues to this day. He has lost a total
of 28 pounds so far.
Blake LeMoine stated: "I have been hearing far too much about the
American All Volunteer Army lately. It is true that the draft is not in
effect. No one is forced to join the American Military, but it is very
much like a roach motel. People check in but they can't check out. The
enlistment contract is a slave contract and unfortunately I found this out
far too late. The Thirteenth Amendment guarantees that no citizen of the
United States will have to endure slavery or enforced servitude. I was
speaking to a congressman's aide about this and was directly told that the
UCMJ* (Uniform Code of Military Justice) overrides that amendment. It does
not apply to soldiers.
I can understand that the US military's contract must be different than
civilian contracts. The difference is the fact that if one party wishes to
terminate their contract the other party will use guns (i.e. the military
police) to ensure otherwise. If someone can answer a question for me I
will be greatly appreciative: If I am in a US volunteer army, why do they
need to hold a gun in my face to make me work?"
If his CO application is denied by the military, he will appeal in
civilian U.S. Federal Court.
Darnell Stephen Summers of Stop the War Brigade
Tel. +49 178-2056692; StoptheWarBgde@hotmail.com
David Stutzman, Reuben Miller of Military Counselling Network (MCN) in
Tel. +49 6223 47506 and +49 175 429 1388;
Elsa Rassbach of American Voices Abroad (AVA) Military Project
Tel. +49 30 326 015 40; mobile +49 177 3260154; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rudi Friedrich of Connection e.V.
Tel.: +49 69-82375534 office@Connection-eV.de
Ralf Siemens of Kampagne gegen Wehrpflicht, Zwangsdienste und Militr
Tel. +49 30 440 1300; info@Kampagne.de
For more information, see
28 March 2005