Sunday, June 10, 2007

Liam Madden


The photo above demonstrates one of the two (trumped up) charges against Liam Madden currently. Like two other Iraq Veterans Against the War, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, Liam Madden is being targeted by the US military in an attempt to silence dissent. One of the charges is that Madden wore his "uniform" or parts of it in demonstrations. Study the photo above, we'll get back to it.

On Thursday, in broad daylight, Liam Madden spoke on the steps of the Massachusetts State House with supporters and reporters gathered. Madden might be thought to be news with what he's facing and he's certainly photogenic ("Like a young Tom Cruise," said one attending the press conference). Surprisingly the press was elsewhere. His conference resulted in no coverage, for instance, on Democracy Now! or, for that matter, Boston IMC. Dave Goodman filed a brief report that aired on Thursday's The KPFA Evening News and Free Speech Radio News.

Four participating in the writing of this feature did attend and can report (much to the military's pleasure, we're sure), Madden wore no fatigues or portions of fatigues, let alone a uniform. He wore a black Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirt and a pair of jeans.

He began the press conference with a prepared statement, then did a question and answer session and then spoke with individuals. In his opening statements he spoke of how the US military's efforts to punish him, Adam Kokesh and Cloy Richards was "vindictive waste of tax payer dollars to silence free speech and to assault the First Amendment rights of our veterans."

Madden served in Iraq and was discharged from active duty status at the start of this year with an honorable discharge and the rank of Sgt. As he re-entered civilian life, he became active and outspoken against the illegal war and was informed last month that his discharge status was now in question and that he "was being recommended for an other than honorable discharge from the IRR [Inactive Ready Reserves]."

He explained that this resulted from two charges, "wearing a partial uniform at a protest" and making "disloyal statements" while in uniform.

The "uniform" can be seen in the photo above. For those unaware, those returning from Vietnam wore much more in protests and were never prosecuted. If, however, you wore your uniform (your actual uniform) while you were serving you could be (and some were) punished.

The US military is attempting to change the rules and your dumb ass pundit class wants to play like fatigues are "uniforms" while your independent media is actually AWOL on this story.

That's how much the illegal war matters to (and registers with) independent media currently, they are perfectly happy to throw Richards, Kokesh and Madden to the wolves of mainstream media. We are not aware of a sit down interview with Cloy Richards in the past. (We have heard him reading from his writings on Flashpoints Radio) but his mother, Tina Richards, is certainly not shy nor are Kokesh and Madden. If that's confusing to anyone, you don't hold a public press conference, as both Kokesh and Madden have done, if you dry up around cameras.

But strangely enough, there is just no time for them -- even Dave Goodman's report was reduced to the headlines section of Free Speech Radio News as opposed to being a true report aired during the bulk of the show. Now it is true that independent media, like the bulk of the mainstream, is largely located in NYC and thinks if it didn't happen in NYC it just didn't happen.

The Progressive is located outside of NYC which may be why Matthew Rothschild could write about Kokesh while no one at The Nation could -- but certainly whether the entertainment industry is backing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is more earth shattering news than what happens to any of these three people. It's not? Well The Nation thinks so.

In his press conference, Madden discussed the nonsense of the "uniform" by noting he wore "a camouflage top, unbuttoned with jeans and t-shirt." Most in the media repeat still that Madden was in "uniform." (Check the photo at the top.) He also pointed out that Vietnam veterans did the same during that illegal war and did so without being punished or threatened with punishment. Why? Ourselves, we'll assume because independent media was a lot stronger back then.

The second charge, as he noted, was for making "disloyal" statements. Disloyal statements? It all sounds so very McCarthy-ish that we'd grab our bobby socks were it not for the fact that J. Edgar Hoover had asked to be buried with them. (We refused to honor the request, so he had Mark Felt break into our homes and steal them.) How was he "disloyal"? He called War Crimes "War Crimes." He spoke to truth and that's "disloyalty."

In a really bad movie, Dennis Hopper's character once said, "The nineties are going to make the sixties look like the fifties." Bully Boy has certainly tried to make this decade be the fifties. And where is brave independent media on this?

Madden ended his remarks by noting, "I stand by what I said." If independent media stands by what they've said throughout the illegal war, don't they need to be covering Madden, Richards and Kokesh? (Though Madden's press conference couldn't be cover on the KPFA news breaks the next day, as Ruth points out, Paris Hilton's drama could be. We doubt listeners were informed or educated by that nonsense and we question the critical abilities of anyone who thinks Hilton is more of a news story than Madden.)

They all deserve serious attention and by refusing to offer that, independent media has allowed mainstream media to set the terms of the discussion. If you want to show your support for the three you can demand better coverage from independent media, you can provide your own coverage in your own circles and sign the petition to support of Madden.
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