Coffee house busted

by

Fifth Estate # 93, November 27-December 10, 1969

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Muldraugh, Kentucky is a small town that lies just outside the gates of Fort Knox. Like most small army towns, it is tightly controlled by the Army. Thus, all has been quiet and conservative.

But when a group of GIs and civilian friends decided that Muldraugh’s old meat market would make a fine GI coffee house, all hell broke loose. And nobody’s keeping secrets.

The GIs from the beginning stated that the coffee house “is dedicated to building a movement of GIs who no longer will accept being messed over in the army, and being used to mess over other people around the world.”

And the response, which is a nice way of saying repression, of the Army and Muldraugh politicians has not been subtle either. The most recent response was the jailing of 9 people-3 GIs and 6 civilians—all of whom were involved in the coffee house.

Five of them were arrested Oct. 30 for maintaining a “common public nuisance” and “failure to comply with sanitary regulations.” Their bond was set at $1,000 for the nuisance charge and $500 for the sanitary violation. The next day 4 others were cited for contempt because they refused to answer questions about the coffee house put to them by the Meade County (Ky.) grand jury.

They will continue facing contempt charges and jail until they purge themselves of contempt by answering the questions.

But the arrests are only the latest form of harassment. Since early October, the owner of the building, in cahoots with Army officials and Meade county authorities, has tried to evict them. The GIs had to post a $10,000 cash bond to appeal the eviction order. In addition, on Oct. 9, two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the building where 4 adults and a baby were asleep. Neither bomb exploded.

But the repression comes as no surprise to the organizers for they are not new comers to the world of blind justice. They are the same group that has published FTA, one of the first GI underground papers.

Locally, a support group has been formed to aid the struggle at Ft. Knox. A meeting is planned for Fri., Dec. 5, 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, Cass at Forest. All are welcome.

Related

See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.

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