Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

BLAKE LEMOINE: English language press

March 28 - 29 ______________________________________________________From Not In Our Name/Reuters

Army convicts anti-war Iraq veteran Blake LeMoine of refusing ordersAndy Buerger
Reuters
March 28, 2005

DARMSTADT, Germany (Reuters) - A U.S. military court convicted a 23-year-old Army mechanic of willfully disobeying orders for refusing to perform duties after a year-long tour of Iraq, an army spokesman said Monday.

Specialist Blake Lemoine, who returned to Germany in May 2004, said he wanted to quit the army due to religious beliefs.

The special military court sentenced Lemoine to seven months confinement, reduction in rank to private and gave him a bad conduct discharge, said Bruce Anderson, deputy public affairs spokesman for the 3rd Corps support command.

Lemoine, who had condemned the invasion of Iraq, was charged for repeatedly refusing to obey orders from commanders between Jan. 10 and Feb. 15 at a base in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt.

Lemoine, from Moraville, Louisiana, told a recent news conference in Germany sponsored by anti-war groups that even though he volunteered to join the army, he had changed his mind and wanted to leave.

"It was simply a slow realisation that serving in the U.S. military at this day and time contradicts my religion and to continue to do so would make me a hypocrite," he said last week.

Lemoine had also been quoted in German newspapers as saying: "The contract with the U.S. army is a slavery contract." He also spoke out against U.S. army violence against Iraqis, saying: "Iraqi civilians are often treated worse than animals."


Blake LeMoine and his wife, Alayna LeMoine, spoke at a joint press conference organized by the Stop the War Brigade, the Military Counseling Network (MCN) American Voices Abroad (AVA) Military Project, Connection e.V., and the “Kampagne gegen Wehrpflicht, Zwangsdienste und Militär" (Campaign Against the Draft, Forced Labor, and the Military) on March 24, 2005.

From the press conference invitation:

LeMoine has for some time been trying to get a discharge from the U.S. Army, but he has so far been unsuccessful. He has applied for “Conscientious Objector” status, because the U.S. military invasion and occupation of Iraq are against his religious beliefs; this application is still pending. Rather than release LeMoine, on March 4, 2005, the U.S. Army charged him with refusal to obey orders.

Statment of U.S. Army Specialist Blake Lemoine:

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. There are many men and women who would tender their two-weeks notice if they could. The consequence for quitting is several years in jail. The military claims that this is just them holding you to your contract. 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 a volunteer, why do they need to hold a gun in my face to make me work?

Army Times March 28, 2005

March 28, 2005

Mechanic convicted of refusing to perform duty

DARMSTADT, Germany — A military court on Monday found a soldier guilty of refusing to perform his duty as a mechanic.

Judge Col. Denise Lind convicted Spc. Blake Lemoine, a generator repair mechanic, of refusing to obey a lawful order. Sentencing was expected later Monday, and Lemoine could face up to a year in prison.

Lemoine said last week that he wants out of what he called a “slave” contract that keeps active-duty soldiers beholden to the government after they have left the army.

He had been scheduled to be discharged Feb. 13, but under military rules had to extend his service though Oct. 13 in order to bring his wife over from the United States.

Lemoine, 23, from Moraville, La., is with the 5-96th Maintenance Company of the 16th Combat Support Group.

An Army statement said he was charged with refusing to perform his duty in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, “on diverse occasions between Jan. 10 and Feb. 15, 2005, despite being repeatedly ordered to do so by his commanding officer.”

Lemoine sent a letter through his chain of command explaining why he should be allowed to quit the Army.

He gave several reasons for his decision at a news conference last week that was sponsored by several anti-war groups.

Lemoine said he decided he wanted out during a personal crisis, on which he would not elaborate, after returning from a yearlong tour in Iraq. He also argued that his duties as an ordained pagan minister were in conflict with his job in the Army.

 
The Wildhunt Blog  3.28.2005

Religion, Paganism, Pop-Culture, Politics, Community Activism and the areas in between.

  A Military Pagan Rejects The Iraq War



"I don't regret my action."
- Spec. Blake Lemoine


"Spec. Blake Lemoine, 23, of Moraville, La., serving with the 5-96th Maintenance Company of the 16th Combat Support Group, was sentenced to seven months in prison and ordered him discharged with bad conduct. Lemoine said he had asked to leave the Army after returning from a yearlong tour in Iraq. He gave several reasons for his decision at a news conference last week that was sponsored by several anti-war groups. In particular, he argued that his duties as an ordained pagan minister were in conflict with his job in the Army
. Lemoine said he had launched a hunger strike, which he vowed to continue while in prison." - Melissa Eddy, AP

"LeMoine has been on a hunger strike for 41 days in protest against the Army's refusal to discharge him" -
American Views Abroad

______________________________________________

DEMOCRACYNOW  29.03.2005

 

Tthe clip of the original recording of the show is:
http://stream.paranode.com/democracynow/dn2005-0329-1.mp3
The MP3 file is 27mb in size.

The clip on the subject begins 4 minutes and 49 seconds into the show. It
includes a short clip of Lemoine speaking for himself.

 

Soldier Sentenced to Seven Months In Jail For Refusing Orders

A 23-year-old Army mechanic has been sentenced to seven months in
jail for refusing to carry out his duties. Specialist Blake Lemoine
spent a year in Iraq but has since condemned the invasion and
occupation. He once said "Iraqi civilians are often treated worse
than animals." After a year in Iraq, Blake Lemoine returned to
Germany last May. He then started refusing to perform duties citing
religious reasons. "I did volunteer and I do agree with the
principal that a country has the right to wage war if it is a
justified and wise war, I do believe that. I support the United
States' right to go to war," said Lemoine. "However, should someone
decide that they do not wish to help they should be able to quit."

________________________________________________

Deutsche Presseagentur (dpa).

Pagan Iraq veteran's conviction spawns protests

29 March 2005

DARMSTADT - A US military court in Germany sentenced an Iraq combat veteran soldier to seven months in prison for refusing to carry out orders, spawning protests on Tuesday by German peace activists demanding his release on religious grounds.

Army Specialist Blake Lemoine, who returned to Germany in May 2004, told a news conference sponsored by anti-war activists that his duties as an ordained pagan minister were in conflict with his job in the Army. He admitted having voluntarily joined the Army, but said a spiritual awakening had caused him to change his mind.

Judge Colonel Denise Lind convicted Lemoine, a US Army generator repair mechanic, of refusing to obey a lawful order.

 

 

Lemoine said during the tribunal proceedings that he wants out of what he called a "slave" contract that keeps active-duty soldiers beholden to the US government after they have left the army.

He had been scheduled to be discharged 13 February, but under military rules had to extend his service until 13 October in order to bring his wife over from the United States.

Lemoine, 23, from Moraville, Louisiana, is with the 5-96th Maintenance Company of the 16th Combat Support Group. An Army statement said he was charged with refusing to perform his duty in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, "on diverse occasions between 10 January and 15 February 2005, despite being repeatedly ordered to do so by his commanding officer". Lemoine's arguments have drawn the backing of peace activists in Germany who demanded his immediate release.

A spokesman for the Offenbach-based Connection peace group issued a statement on Tuesday accusing the US Army of violating the US Constitution's guarantees of freedom of religious belief.

The peace activists claim Lemoine has gone on a hunger strike to win discharge from the Army.

DPA

________________________________________________________________________

Stars and Stripes 29.03.2005

Striking pagan soldier sentenced to seven months for disobeying orders


By
Jessica Inigo, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Tuesday, March 29, 2005

DARMSTADT, Germany — A 3rd Corps Support Command soldier was sentenced Monday to seven months’ confinement for willfully disobeying orders after being found guilty at a court-martial at Cambrai-Fritsch Casern.

Spc. Blake Anthony Lemoine, 23, with the 596th Maintenance Company on Kelley Barracks, testified that from January through February, he decided he would just sit at a desk near the commander’s office instead of working, a decision he made after grappling with personal and religious issues against the war in Iraq.

“I had difficulty living with myself as a hypocrite,” Lemoine said during the sentencing phase of the hearing.

He explained that while deployed to Iraq from May 2003 to May 2004, he realized he did not like working with U.S. Army troops. He claimed that racism is widespread in the military, with troops encouraged by command to treat civilian Arabs poorly. He also described several accounts of animal cruelty and derogatory name-calling.

A pagan priest, the Louisiana native said, “I realized the sermons I gave were in direct conflict with what the United States military practices.”

By trade, Lemoine is a power generator maintenance and repair technician. However, he was moved over to supply to help out the understaffed section. Lemoine’s work strike began after sending his chain of command a letter announcing all the reasons he should be allowed to quit the Army, including his religious beliefs and rituals. But the Army determined that he did not meet the requirements as a conscientious objector.

In his letter, Lemoine also said that he has a non-monogamous relationship with his wife — he is bisexual, which is against Army policy.

Since he began his strike, Lemoine said he has accepted no military benefits.

“I have received no benefits other than those that, oddly enough, have been forced upon me,” he said. “I have not received any money in my bank account since January.”

After 30 minutes of deliberating, Judge (Col.) Denise Lind sentenced Lemoine to seven months in jail, which was one month longer than the prosecution recommended. She also ordered him reduced to the lowest enlisted rank and given a bad-conduct discharge.

After the trial, Lemoine said he would continue a hunger strike he began earlier this month to protest having to remain in the Army.

Alayna Lemoine said the Army was targeting her husband by not granting him conscientious objector status.

“If we were any other mainstream religion, the Army would not be doing this. They wouldn’t do this to a Jew or Christian,” she said. “It’s a vendetta against pagans. They can’t burn us, so they shut us up.”

_____________________________________________________________

 

Wren’s Nest  posted 29.03.2005

Update: Striking Pagan Soldier Sentenced To Seven Months For Disobeying Orders

Author:
Jessica Inigo   Source: Stars and Stripes

Title:
STRIKING PAGAN SOLDIER SENTENCED TO SEVEN MONTHS FOR DISOBEYING ORDERS

A 3rd Corps Support Command soldier was sentenced Monday to seven months’ confinement for willfully disobeying orders after being found guilty at a court-martial at Cambrai-Fritsch Casern.

Spc. Blake Anthony Lemoine, 23, with the 596th Maintenance Company on Kelley Barracks, testified that from January through February, he decided he would just sit at a desk near the commander’s office instead of working, a decision he made after grappling with personal and religious issues against the war in Iraq.

A pagan priest, the Louisiana native said, “I realized the sermons I gave were in direct conflict with what the United States military practices.”

Lemoine’s work strike began after sending his chain of command a letter announcing all the reasons he should be allowed to quit the Army, including his religious beliefs and rituals. But the Army determined that he did not meet the requirements as a conscientious objector.

 Community Thoughts:   There are 11 comments posted on this article

 

Oh yeah...      Mar 29th. at 8:32:44 pm EST

 by Awena Llwyndyrys (Taylorsville - Utah) - Email

 

... let's force people to kill other people, and die, just because they "signed up".

 

If you don't get to change your mind, isn't that indeed slavery? No way in a million years could you get me to kill someone after I decided I wouldn't do so. Torture me, court martial me, whatever.

 

I think it's stupid to let an organization (the military) own you in the first place. I'd never give away my rights like that. But I still don't think it's right for the military to force you to do anything against your will. That's the definition of slavery - the antithesis of freedom. Yay, we have slaves protecting our freedom! =P But hasn't it always been thus? (And they're not even defending our freedom in Iraq, anyway... possibly not even that of the Iraqis. You ESPECIALLY couldn't get me to kill for Bush & Co.'s greedy whims.)

 

I'm wondering why on earth a religious conviction doesn't get you C.O. status. What stronger reason could there be?

 

 

Wrong place wrong time to disagree        Mar 29th. at 7:55:12 pm EST

 

by bigcat (peoria - Illinois) - Email

 

I disagree with the lady's statement that his punishment was because he was Pagan. Especially since there are other Pagans and Wiccans and others serving in the military. It was because he didn't follow orders and argued with his superiors. Granted, there are more than a few, even in the military that disagree with both the Government and its policies, but if he didn't know the deal going in, he found a very bad way to discover this. The time to disagree was before he signed on the dotted line and listened to the advertisements. i feel sorry for him, but, he was in the wrong. Not because he was Pagan, but because he broke his oath to serve at the wrong time.