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Petition Tag - wrongful court martial
SPC Marc Hall produced and distributed an angry hip-hop song in July 2009 when he discovered that he would not be allowed to leave active duty due to the Army’s “stop-loss” policy. SPC Hall continued to serve with his unit for the next four months undergoing command and mental health counseling as requested. “I explained to [my first sergeant] that the hardcore rap song was a free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy. I explained that the song was neither a physical threat nor any threat whatsoever. I told him it was just hip-hop,” explained SPC Hall.
When SPC Hall continued to express strong objections to redeploying to Iraq, his unit used the hip-hop song as a pretext to incarcerate SPC Hall on Dec. 12, 2009. The command likely believed SPC Hall would refuse to deploy anyway creating discomfort among other soldiers.
SPC Hall was charged Dec. 17, 2009, with five specifications in violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, two of those for wrongfully communicating a threat based on song lyrics. Article 134 is the vague rule that outlaws anything “to the prejudice of good order and discipline.”
On Feb. 1, 2010 SPC Hall underscored his non-violent outlook by formally applying for discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. His application explains the transformation he went through during his year-long deployment to Iraq. The Army’s attempts to now deploy him violate AR 600-8-105 (Military Orders) and the Army's Conscientious Objector regulations.
On Feb. 3, 2010 Fort Stewart, Georgia officials confirmed that the Army would transfer SPC Hall to Iraq for court martial "within a few days." The Army's press release stated, “The jurisdiction transfer ensures a full and fair trial for both SPC Hall and the United States.” Nothing could be farther from the truth, at least for SPC Hall as detailed by yesterday's petition.
The Army continues to implement its stop-loss policy despite President Obama’s promise to end the unfair practice that involuntarily extends the active duty service term of many soldiers. According to the Pentagon 120,000 soldiers have been affected by stop-loss since 2001 and 13,000 are currently serving under stop-loss orders.
As of March 10, 2010 Mark Hall is in Iraq awaiting court martial.