FT. JACKSON, S. C. — In spite of the victory of the Ft. Jackson Eight last spring, when the Army was forced to drop all charges against eight leaders of GIs United Against the War in Vietnam, officials at Ft. Jackson are still trying to silence the voice of dissent on base.
Recently Pvt. E-1 Charles Carson was placed under arrest for “distributing petitions without proper authority.” The petition referred to was one circulated by the GI Press Service of the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
That petition appeared in the New York Times on November 9, with the signatures of 1,365 active-duty GIs, calling for an immediate end to the war and support for the November 15 anti-war action in Washington. The right to petition for redress of grievances is one guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Carson, 18, was a worker for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Montgomery, Alabama before he joined the Army in May of this year. He was outspoken in his opposition to the war and racism both before and after he became a soldier.
Carson described his treatment in the stockade to his attorney. For almost a week, he said, he had been in the “box,” a reconverted refrigerator measuring 5 ft. by 8 ft. He said he had a spot light on – him 24 hours a day. He indicated that he was lucky, however, as he was given a bed while most soldiers who are put in the “box” don’t get anything to sleep on at all.
Noted attorney Howard Moore of Atlanta is acting as Carson’s counsel, in association with the GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee. No date for a court martial has been set yet.
See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.