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The US Army Is Persecuting & Harassing My Husband

The Army Is Religiously Persecuting and Harassing My Husband


Interview with Heather Gorman, Wife of Army Specialist Christopher Gorman
4/5/06
Published by Coalition For Free Thought In Media

Audio Interview Archived at San Francisco Indy Bay Indy Media Center
Interview conducted by Jay Shaft: Editor-In-Chief/Executive Investigative Editor

As I go to print with this Army Specialist Christopher Gorman is being charged with Dereliction of Duty, and facing an immediate Article 15 and UCMJ proceedings. Chris has said that if they proceed with the charges he will ask for an immediate court martial. He is going to demand a court martial so that all the facts and incidents of harassment and illegal denial of access to legal counsel can be entered in the public record.

Just what is his crime against the military? What has he possibly done to get a charge of Dereliction of Duty? He was just upholding his Constitutionally established religious and legal rights, and refusing to perform duty on the Sabbath Day. Quite simply, he refused to come in for duty because he worships God and observes his religious beliefs on Sunday. It now seems that the Army will use the Article 15 as a basis of denial for his C.O. application.

After over three months of following his religious beliefs and deeply held principles he was told he could no longer observe and celebrate the Sabbath. He is suddenly facing even greater harassment and the denial of his constitutionally guaranteed rights of religious freedoms by Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

As of Sunday Chris had been issued a counseling statement and faced verbal abuse from several NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and officers. He was told that he was not allowed to defend his decision not to report for duty based on his religious practices and already established observance of worship.

It is ironic that this is something which millions of Americans are freely allowed to do every Sunday. It is not something we think could happen here in America. We would all surely be outraged if told we, as a people or an individual, could no longer practice the religion or beliefs of our own choosing.

The reason Chris is even in this situation is that he has filed for discharge under Conscientious Objector status based on deeply held personal and religious beliefs that he holds against serving in any type of war or military action.

Instead of being granted a hearing and a discharge Chris is now serving a second tour in a combat zone (stationed at Camp Kalsu) in Iraq. He has been denied access to legal counsel and to some of his paperwork since he left for Iraq from Ft. Hood, Texas in November of 2005. His wife reports that his C.O. packet was recently sent to Iraq mysteriously missing the one piece of paper he needed to finish his processing and consideration to be discharged. As of right now his C.O. packet is at the Pentagon being reviewed.

You can find a timeline of the events leading up to this and the background behind Chris Gorman’s reasons for declaring himself a Religious C.O. at http://www.soldiersrights.com/index.html

Here is the latest update on the site posted yesterday by Heather Gorman.

04/02/2006- NOTE: Chris was given another counseling statement today. Chris continued to do what he had been doing for the past few months. However, since NCO Ford went on leave, the Army felt it necessary to punish Chris for his beliefs and putting those beliefs ahead of "the mission" by recommending an Article 15. He is being charged with dereliction of duty and they have changed his schedule, AGAIN. That's twice in less than a day. These are evil people and should NOT be in charge of any human being!!!

For those of you who do not know what a Conscientious Objector is, please go and take a look at the Department of Defense Directive on C.O. Status and the different kinds of C.O. status’ and designations.
http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf2/d13006p.pdf

The Army regulations relating to C.O. status are available at www.usapa.army.mil.

The main Army discharge regulation, AR-635-200, can be viewed in PDF format at
http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r635_200.pdf

Fact Sheet: What is an Article 15?
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/article15.htm

A full copy of the Uniform Code of Military justice can be found here:
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm

MANUAL FOR COURTS-MARTIAL UNITED STATES (2005 EDITION)

http://www.objector.org/helpingout/HOdownloads/mcm2005.pdf

This is the type of C.O. status that Chris Gorman has filed under. He is supposed to have every legal right to claim and use it as grounds for discharge.

3.1.1. Class 1-O Conscientious Objector. A member who, by reason of conscientious objection, sincerely objects to participation of any kind in war in any form.

3.2. Religious Training and Belief: Belief in an external power or being or deeply held moral or ethical belief, to which all else is subordinate or upon which all else is ultimately dependent, and which has the power or force to affect moral-well-being. The external power or being need not be of an orthodox deity, but may be a sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of another, or, in the case of deeply held moral or ethical beliefs, a belief held with the strength and devotion of traditional religious conviction. The term "religious training and belief" may include solely moral or ethical beliefs even though the applicant himself may not characterize these beliefs as "'religious" in the traditional sense, or may expressly characterize them as not religious. The term "religious training and belief" does not include a belief which rests solely upon considerations of policy, pragmatism, expediency, or political views.

The military has an increasing number of soldiers who are looking into or actually filing for status as a C.O. According to several high level NCOs within the 4th ID there have been as many as 75-100 soldiers who tried to either find out what their rights were in regards to filing an application for C.O., or else attempted to file the initial paper work for consideration.

Specialist Mike Harmon was a medic with the 1-67th, 2nd BCT, 4th ID on deployment to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. He served right after the initial invasion and was in touch with some soldiers that were still stationed with the 4th ID. He reports and can verify that there were at least three soldiers he knew of who had their attempts to file as a C.O. hindered or denied.

They were told that because they had already served in combat on the previous deployment, they could not file for consideration as a Conscientious Objector even if it was based completely on religious ideologies or beliefs. This seems to be what a lot of soldiers were told when they asked about the application. I have heard it directly from four other soldiers in the 4th ID.

Since that time I have been trying to find any soldier that had actually been deployed to Iraq after filing their packet to be given a discharge. I was told many things that horrified me, but it was all done off record because of the fear most soldiers have of military reprisals and punishment.

I was at the point where I had given up on finding any soldier that would speak out publicly or really lay it on the line, even in an off record interview. By its very nature the filing of a C.O. application sets a soldier up to be an outcast in his unit. Many soldiers have reported death threats after even bringing it up in a general discussion.

It appears that there were a lot of incidents where the 4th ID intimidated or threatened the soldiers trying to apply. I have been informed that some commanders and NCOs told the soldier’s unit that they had tired to get out of the deployment and be discharged. One soldier told me a Chaplain told him that he could not “p…y out of combat by finding Jesus” and killing in the military was not murder but God’s will and work.

Chris Gorman reports incidents of a similar nature when he had to deal with a chaplain involved with his case. He reports that one Chaplain has used profanity and verbal abuse on several occasions when he tried to get his paperwork processed and be counseled. The Chaplain in each unit is part of the investigation to determine if there is justification and legal cause for a soldier’s packet to be approved.

I have been investigating and documenting Christopher Gorman’s situation for over three weeks. In that time he has reported increasingly hostile acts of retaliation and punishment. When I interviewed Heather Gorman on 3/31/06 she told me Chris had been ordered to stand duty or face an Article 15 and UCMJ proceedings.

Chris has reported a death threat, continued harassment and verbal abuse by Chaplains, officers, and the entire chain of command in regards to his case being specifically in relation to his religious beliefs and his way of exercising. He reports being continually punished I.E. having to serve extra duty and longer hours, and a whole host of hostile and threatening situations meant to make him withdraw his packet and stop his filing as a C.O.

Chris has reported a very serious situation involving a solider in his company who is on a large amount of medication and who is acting in an irrational and dangerous manner. He has reported that the soldier’s ability to perform his duty has been significantly affected and hampered by the medications and the ongoing stress and conditions in Iraq.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California is starting an inquiry into the soldiers who are being shipped over to Iraq who have been proscribed medically life sustaining or mind altering chemicals. Chris Gorman is an eyewitness to this and verifies what many soldiers have reported off record or under the condition of anonymity.

Please listen to the full length interview with Heather Gorman to get a better understanding of what is going on with many soldiers right now. Chris Gorman is only one soldier of many who are reporting harassment and serious problems with the military chain of command. It should be noted that the majority of the soldiers being harassed or otherwise threatened are not seeking discharge under C.O. status.

Audio Interview Archived at San Francisco Indy Bay Indy Media Center
Interview conducted by Jay Shaft: Editor-In-Chief/Executive Investigative Editor

Often a simple incident of writing an angry letter home or saying too much on the phone results in serious harassment or threats towards a soldier and their family members. I know it sounds hard to believe for some people, but I will be publishing a number of other interviews revealing harassment and many other problems that seem to be tearing the military apart from the inside.

Chris Gorman has shown tremendous courage when it comes to standing up for his beliefs and not giving in to fear, intimidation and harassment. He needs some support and kind words right now, as he is in a place where he has been isolated and given as much hardship and stress as possible. He feels like he is all alone over in Iraq and needs you to let him know that he really is not alone.

Please write to Chris Gorman at cmgorman24 @ yahoo.com.

To request an interview with Heather Gorman, please contact her at info @ soldiersrights.com . She welcomes all questions, comments, letters, and general feedback about the situation.

Any soldier who is having problems such as harassment or who needs more information on their military and civilian rights should contact the GI Rights Hotline. All calls are confidential and protected under legal privilege and as legal counseling.
The GI Rights Hotline
(800) 394-9544
(215) 563-4620 Fax (510) 465-2459
http://girights.objector.org/


*************

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER:
Jay Shaft is a freelance investigative writer and the Editor-In- Chief and Managing Investigative Editor of the independent news group Coalition For Free Thought In Media.
http://groups.google.com/group/Coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia

He has conducted many interviews with soldiers who have served in Iraq, in which service members exposed the issues of the military's failure to provide proper equipment and training to US troops, and he has been on the forefront of investigating the price that soldiers are paying as a result.

He is currently involved in interviewing soldiers who have returned from war with PTSD or traumatic injuries. An ongoing expose and series of troops/vet interviews and articles highlighting the failure of the VA system to adequately take care of the soldiers and vets is in current publication at this time. There is an ongoing series of letters from soldiers serving in Iraq that is being published as well.

Contact Jay at coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia@yahoo.com or cftmeditor@gmail.com

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