Anti-War Activists Sue Metro Airport

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Fifth Estate # 78, May 1-14, 1969

In response to the arrest of two antiwar GIs and the steady harassment of military organizers, the Detroit Resistance and the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam have launched a law suit against the Board of County Road Commissioners.

The suit, which was announced by Attorney Marc Kadish of the National Lawyers Guild and Victory Fidelman of the Resistance at an April 8 press conference, will attack the regulation which governs the distribution of literature at Metropolitan Airport.

The law suit grows out of attempts to organize GIs at the Airport through the distribution of The Bond and Task Force, two anti-war papers.

On several occasions Airport officials under the direction of the Board of County Road Commissioners have attempted to stop the distribution of these papers using a regulation which was passed only a week before the first incidents of harassment.

The regulation makes it a misdemeanor to distribute literature at the Airport without a permit, which must be renewed every five days. It also requires the payment of a $100 bond, which the Airport may use to pay for “cleaning up” after a literature distribution.

The passage of this regulation represents only part of a general pattern of repression against those who are attempting to organize resistance within the military. On January 4 two GIs, Norman Gelnaw and Raymond Greer, were arrested by Military Police for “unauthorized distribution of literature.”

According to Miss Fidelman, the two were subsequently “spirited away.” Gelnaw, a sailor, has been stationed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Greer has been sent “to some obscure post down South where he will be out of touch with other resisting GIs.”

This repression is clearly a response to the growing effectiveness of military antiwar organizing. Recently the Army was forced to admit that anti-war activity constitutes a “serious threat to Army discipline” and an “emotional affront to the Army.”

Related

See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.

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