Adam Kokesh

Adam Kokesh

Infobox Military Person
name= Adam Charles Kokesh
placeofbirth= New Mexico

caption= Adam Kokesh in Fallujah
allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Marine Corps
serviceyears= 1999–2007
rank= Corporal (formerly Sergeant)
unit= 3rd Civil Affairs Group [ Kokesh's profile at] ]
battles= Iraq War
awards= Navy Commendation Medal [ Kokesh's reply letter] ] Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal Iraq Campaign Medal
laterwork= Antiwar activism

Adam Charles Kokesh was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and a veteran of the Iraq War. He is currently an anti-U.S. occupation of Iraq activist and is notable for wearing portions of his military uniform to anti-war protests and the attempts of the Marine Corps to downgrade his honorable discharge in response.

ervice in Iraq

Kokesh enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 during his junior year at the Native American Preparatory School in Rowe, New Mexico as part of the Delayed Entry Program. He was originally assigned to November Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Regiment of the 4th Division. In 2004, he volunteered for deployment to Iraq as part of the 1st Regiment Detachment of the 3rd Civil Affairs Group and served in Fallujah from February to September 2004, where he was engaged in several firefights. Kokesh was promoted to Sergeant shortly after arriving in Iraq, but was demoted to Corporal immediately before being discharged in late 2006 for illegally smuggling a pistol from Iraq back to the United States.

Protest activities

After returning from Iraq, Kokesh resumed his studies and completed his bachelor's degree at Claremont McKenna College. In February 2007, Kokesh became an active participant in the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Kokesh first came to national attention after his photograph appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times at a protest during Alberto Gonzalez's testimony to Congress regarding the dismissal of U.S. attorneys. Kokesh, wearing his Marine Corps Boonie hat, held up a large sign counting the number of times Gonzalez said "I don't remember" or "I don't recall" (Kokesh claimed Gonzalez used such phrases 74 times). ["The AG hearing: A post-mortem," by Paul Kane. "The Washington Post", April 20, 2007. [] ]

Kokesh is currently a graduate student at George Washington University. In October 2007, Kokesh, along with six other students, created controversy by putting up political posters across the university campus. The posters featured a picture of a stereotypical Arab man and the headline "Hate Muslims? So do we!!!", with illustrative captions explaining that the typical Muslim is equipped with a venom-spouting mouth, laser-shooting eyes, and hidden AK-47:s, among other parodical features. The poster was signed "Students for Conserativo-Fascism Awareness", and encouraged students to visit the right-wing website "". [] Kokesh and the six other students publicly admitted to responsibility after the poster was interpreted as Islamophobic. They stated that their intent was to spread awareness through satire, regarding what they considered to be the racist intentions of the above-mentioned website's "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" organized by a conservative student organization and featuring David Horowitz, which was to begin on October 22. [ [ Seven GW students admit to hanging controversial posters] ]

On September 2, 2008, Kokesh spoke at Rep. Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic in St. Paul, MN, where he stated: "While it is our responsibility now to resist tyranny civily, while we still can, there may come when we will say to the powers that be, be it with your blood or ours we have come to water the tree of liberty … who will stand with me?"

Marine Corps hearing

Kokesh and other IVAW members wore elements of their Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniforms for a street theatre action marking the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War in March. Kokesh and several other IVAW members were contacted by the Marine Corps and warned of possible disciplinary action for violating military uniform policies by wearing their uniforms to a political demonstration. [MCO P1020.34FMarine Corps Uniform Regulations, Chapter 11. Published online by the USMC Training And Education Command [] ] Kokesh felt that they were being subjected to selective prosecution because of their war protest activities, and replied with a defiant letter (ending it with " [I] ... ask you to please, kindly, go fuck yourself."). ["Antiwar to the Corps: Marine Reservist-Protesters Face Discipline", by David Montgomery. "Washington Post" May 31, 2007; Page C01. [] ] In May of 2007, a hearing was convened to consider changing Kokesh's military discharge from "honorable" to "other than honorable" on two points: "Disrespect toward a Superior Commissioned Officer", and violating "Wearing of the uniform" regulation. ["Corps accused of 'muzzle' tactics," by Stephen Koff. "Cleveland Plain Dealer", May 31, 2007. [] ] [ [ Kokesh's letter with scan of Notification of Separation Proceedings] ]

Although Kokesh was still part of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) until June 18, 2007,, Kokesh's attorney, Mike Lebowitz, claimed that the Marine Corps is attempting to stifle Kokesh's constitutional right to free speech."Marine Vet Faces Hearing Over Protest," By Heather Hollingsworth. Associated PressThursday, May 31, 2007. [] ] Lebowitz and detailed JAG defense counsel LT Joseph Melaragno argued that the military did not have jurisdiction over Kokesh based on the Marine Corps's use of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, since the UCMJ does not apply to members of the IRR. During cross examination of the government's chief investigator, Lebowitz also elicited testimony that the officer was indeed biased and politically motivated in his investigation when he referred to Kokesh and the Iraq Veterans Against the War as "the opposition." In the end, the tribunal declined to impose the harshest, punitive punishment. If his discharge had been changed to "other than honorable," Kokesh would have lost access to certain veteran's health care services and been forced to pay back over $10,000 in educational benefits he received.

On June 4, 2007, the panel recommended Kokesh be given a general discharge under honorable conditions, a discharge status below honorable. Kokesh appealed the decision, [US panel punishes anti-war marine. BBC News, Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 15:08 GMT [] ] and that appeal was denied [Anti-war Marine loses appeal; final decision on discharge expected within a week. [] ] 7 June.

The VFW supports free speech

The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has defended the right of Kokesh and others who have been given honorable discharges to protest in uniform.VFW urges military to back off of activists. Associated Press. "Los Angeles Times",June 2, 2007 [,1,3484136.story] ]

Arrest at Ft. Benning

Kokesh, along with IVAW members Liam Madden and Nate Lewis, were arrested in June 2007 for crossing onto the property of Ft. Benning near Columbus, Georgia. On June 13th, the government filed a motion to dismiss the trespass charges. [ Associated Press, [ Trespass charges against veteran protesters dropped] June 14, 2007]

McCain Acceptance Speech Protest

On September 4, 2008, Kokesh interrupted Sen. John McCain's speech accepting the GOP nomination for President. Holding a sign reading "McCain Votes Against Vets" on one side and "You can't win an occupation" on the other, [ Indianapolis Star, [ McCain's speech interrupted by protestors] September 4, 2008] Kokesh yelled, "Ask him why he votes against vets!" A member of the audience grabbed the sign and tore it in two. Kokesh was not arrested and was released shortly after being detained by security personnel. [ The American Prospect, [ McCain Heckler Detained, Handcuffed, and Released Outside Excel Center] September 4, 2008]

ee also


External links

* [ Adam Kokesh's profile at]
* [ Adam Kokesh's blog]
* [ youtube footage of Adam Kokesh]

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