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Marines persecute Vietnam-era War Resister

In bizzarre irony, a Vietnam war resister was arrested and has been imprisoned since August. Jerry Texiero, age sixty-five, is in ailing health and has lost thirty pound since his imprisonment. Meanwhile, AWOL Air National Guard member George W. Bush continues to terrorize the world as a free man.

News has surfaced that Texiero will be released with a discharge, rather than putting him on trial. We need to speak out in defense of this man and any others who bravely dare to speak out against bogus wars.
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Marines persecute Vietnam-era war resister

Published Jan 12, 2006 1:04 AM

Jerry Texiero
Texiero wins discharge

According to media reports on Jan. 11, Maj. Gen. Bob Dickerson, commander at Camp Lejeune, N.C., has ordered a discharge for Jerry Texiero in lieu of a trial. Texiero is being moved from the brig to Camp Lejeune’s Separation Barracks for processing out of the Marine Corps. He is expected to be released soon and to return to Florida.

By Dustin Langley

Forty years ago, Jerry Texiero refused to serve in an illegal war based on lies. In 1965, facing deployment to Vietnam, the 24-year-old Marine left Camp Pendleton and disappeared.

Last August, in what some see as an attempt to send a message to members of the armed forces serving in another illegal war, the Marine Corps arrested Texiero, now 65 years old, and charged him with desertion. The Marines are holding Texiero at the detention facility at Camp Lejuene, N.C. Since he has been in custody he has lost over 30 pounds and is now having significant health problems.

Texiero, 65, was arrested in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and brought on Dec. 14 to Camp Lejeune. His lawyers, Tod Ensign, legal director of Citizen Soldier ( and Louis P. Font, argue their client is being held unlawfully.

At a Jan. 4 news conference, his lawyers said that Texiero should be released because he is 10 years older than the 55-year-old maximum age for an enlisted, active-duty Marine.

“We say it’s against statutory authority for them to hold Jerry,? said Font. “They should release him immediately. He’s in an environment for the young and vigorous when actually he’s old and infirm.?

The attorneys have filed a letter with Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson, the commander of Marine Corps Installations East seeking Texiero’s immediate release and discharge from the Marines.

If he is convicted of desertion in a court martial, he faces three years in a military jail.

Font and Ensign say that under international law Texiero had the right and obligation to leave because the Vietnam War was an illegal conflict.

“Jerry Texiero had every right and duty to leave the military at that time,? Font said. “He had a duty not to go because he was forced to participate in acts of war that are determined to be war crimes. That means he was authorized to leave.?

A message to today’s troops?

Ensign says that Texiero is being used as an example. “My own view is it’s really sending a message to the troops in Iraq,? Ensign said. “If you do not do what you are ordered to do or go where you are ordered to go, you will face unending pursuit and you’ll be followed to your grave.?

Ensign wrote to Camp Lejeune’s commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Robert Dick erson, asking: “Why are scarce Marine resources being squandered on the prosecution of a senior citizen whose only ‘crime’ is refusing to fight a war that today is universally discredited? Or is the Corps warning Marines in Iraq that they will pursue deserters to the grave??

In addition to charging Texiero with desertion, the Marines have launched a smear campaign in the media against him, leaking information from his personnel file and charging him with larceny.

According to Ensign, “Lt. Col. Annita Best, Camp LeJuene’s spokeswoman, illegally released confidential data taken from Cpl. Jerry Texiero’s personnel file to at least two news reporters on Jan. 4, 2006. The federal Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits such disclosure without Texiero’s consent.

“Colonel Best read an excerpt that appears to have been taken from Texiero’s file to reporters from the Associated Press and the Raleigh News-Observer. Accord ing to their news accounts, she referred to a section of the file that discussed an alleged larceny of $5,490 from a Marine Corps Post Exchange in California on July 14, 1965. The one-paragraph passage contains no corroborating evidence tying Texiero to the missing funds and recommends that the FBI be asked to search for evidence.?

Tod Ensign and Louis Font have called for “an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee into official mis conduct by the Camp LeJeune chain of command?.

During the current war in Iraq, more than 600 soldiers have deserted to avoid participating in the criminal assault against the Iraqi people. During the Vietnam War, tens of thousands deserted, some fleeing to Canada, in opposition to the war. Inside the military, the GI movement, spearheaded by deserters and resisters in the army, played a contributing role in ending the Vietnam War. Their resistance - deserting, “fragging? (attacking) officers, forming GI unions - played havoc with military discipline and led Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr. to write in 1971, “By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse.?

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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