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tv   Reel America The Years of Protest and Dissent - 1968  CSPAN  September 9, 2021 9:58am-10:15am EDT

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convening very soon and until then thank you. bye, everyone. thank you. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks.
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join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon and shanksville, pennsylvania, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday on c-span. watch online at or listen on the c-span radio app. ♪♪ ♪♪ historians of the future may very well refer to our present era as the years of protest and
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dissent. certainly public demonstrations for and against every conceivable cause nd the sun have become a prominent feature of the american scene. whether this phenomenon is good or bad is not within the scope this have discussion. our purpose today is simply to review the legal restrictions on unbridled speech and protestations of the dissent insofar as they apply to members of the military. there is no denying the fact that a few members of the military establishment have been caught up in the fever of the times, and have participated in public political demonstrations. they have become involved in the publication and distribution of so-called underground newspapers and they have signed and circulated petitions denouncing their commander in chief's policies in vietnam. upon reflection, we realize that it would be most remarkable if this had not occurred, because, after all, our armed forces are simply a cross-section of the american public, with our fair share of the public's prejudices, passions and
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political fred elections. . nevertheless, the american serviceman is not quite as free as his civilian brother to flaunt his disagreement with our country's political leaders. this does not mean that the military man is a second-class citizen, but it does reflect our country's long-standing tradition of subordination of the military to its civilian political leaders. history has recorded tragic consequences in countries where the military, after acquiring a taste for political influence, eventually controlled our replace the civilian government. partly to ensure that this does not happen in the united states, there are a number of laws and regulations concerning the participation of military personnel in political activities or in public dem durations of dissent and protest. in order that no military member of this command through ignorance or misunderstanding should find himself in violation of these laws and regulations, this briefing will outline them for you in rather general terms.
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there aren't many and they are not complicated. they all make sense. their constitutionality has been tested in the courts and perhaps, most important, they are being scrupulously observed by the overwhelming majority of american servicemen. our federal constitution guarantees to all americans the right to freedom of speech, but this is not an absolute license and there are several federal criminal statutes which, quite constitutionally designate certain types of speech as criminal acts. section 1381 of title 18 of the united states code provides that whoever entices or procures or attempts to entice or procure any person in the armed forces to desert therefrom or aids any such person in dee sergt or attempt to go desert shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than three years or both. the same chapters and punishments are applicable to a person convicted of harboring or
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assisting a known deserter. knowingly or willingly advocating, abetting, advising or teaching the overthrow of the destruction of the government of the united states or any state by force or violence is prohibited and is punishable by a fine of not more than $20,000 or imprisonment for more than 20 years or both. this statute is violated by the publication, circulation and or distribution of matter advocating the forceable overthrow of the government. as well as organizing a society for that purpose. and the same punishment is applicable. second 2387 of the same title provides for a $10,000 fine or ten years in imprisonment or both for whoever with intent to interfere with, impair or influence the loyalty, morale or discipline of the military advises, counsels, urges or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty by any member of the military. distribution of offensive
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literature with the same intent is also a violation. the statute has been held to be applicable in peacetime as well as when a state of war exists. additionally, willfully making a false report or statements with the intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or to promote the success of enemies of the united states during wartime is punishable by a fine of $10,000 and or imprisonment for 20 years. same punishments are applicable to causing or attempt to go cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or or refusal of duty in the armed forces when the united states is at war. these wartime provision right side presently applicable by virtue of chapter 18, united states code section 2391. finally, any person who knowingly counsels, aids or abets another to refuse or evade registration or service in the armed forces shall be punished by imprisonment for not more
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than five years or a fine of more than $10,000 or both. the united states supreme court has sustained the validity of these statutes against assertion that they violate the right to free speech guaranteed by the first amendment of the constitution. the court has held that freedom of speech is not an absolute right above and beyond the control of congress. it has said that certain kinds of speech are so undesirable as to warrant criminal sanction, whether a particular statement falls within the scope of the criminal statute would depend upon careful evaluation of the facts and circumstances of the specific case. although federal criminal statutes just cited are applicable to everyone, civilian as well as military, there are other laws in this field that are applicable only to military personnel on active duty. for example, article 117 of the uniform code of military justice makes punishable by confinement and hard labor and forfeiture of
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two-thirds pay per month for up to three months the use of provoking words or gestures which tend to induce breaches of the peace towards another person subject to the code. solicitation of desertion, mutiny, sedition or misbehavior before the enemy in violation of article 82 may result in punishment if the offense solicited was attempted or completed. disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer is made punishable by article 89 of the universal code of military justice and may be punished by a bad conduct discharge and confinement and hard labor for six months. the disrespect macon cyst of acts or language and may refer to the superior as an officer or private individual. similarly, article 91 provides that any warrant officer or enlisted member who treats with contempt or is disrespectful toward a noncommissioned officer while that officer is in the execution of his office may be sentenced by court-martial to a
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bad conduct discharge and confinement and hard labor for 60s months. conviction for rioting may bring confinement for ten years and a dishonorable discharge, while breaching the peace may bring confinement and forfeitures for up to six months. willfully disobeying the lawful command of a superior commissioned officer, article 90, may be punished by a dishonorable discharge and confinement and hard labor for five years. any assault is, of course, punishable under article 128 of the uniform code with maximum sentences varying with the gravity of the offense. it is interesting to note that you may be guilty of the offense of assault without ever touching the person of another. finally, article 134, the general article, provides punishment for communicating threats, uttering disloyal statements and being disorderly in station. there is also one article of the code which is directed interestingly enough specifically to commissioned
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officers. article 88 makes it a crime for any officer to use con temp tuesday words against the president, the vice president, congress, the secretary of defense, secretary of a military department, the secretary of the treasury or the governor of any state or possession in which he is on duty. an officer convicted of this offense by a general court-martial faces dismissal from the service, total forfeitures and confinement and hard labor for three years. the united states courts of military appeals has upheld such a conviction in the case of an army lieutenant who had participated in a demonstration while carrying a placard urging in johnson's fascist aggression in vietnam. although article 88 is directed to commissioned officers, article 134 has a similar provision directed toward enlisted personnel. most military members are generally familiar with the existence of article 92. this is the article that enforces administrative
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regulations. violation of this article is punishable by a dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures and confinement and hard labor for two years. this article is the reason air force regulations have the force and effect of law. this being the case let's look at the administrative regulations governing dissent and protest by members of the air force. according to these directives the distribution of publications through other than official outlets on the base is subject to prior approval by the commander in order that he may determine whether there is a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline or morale of military personnel or whether the distribution of the publication would materially interfere with the accomplishment of the military mission. if he makes such a determination, distribution will be prohibited. commanders have authority to place establishments off limits in accordance with the established procedures. when, for example, the activities taking place there include counseling members to
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refuse to perform duty or to desert or involve acts with significant adverse effect on members' health, morale orwell fair. commanders are not authorized to recognize or bargain with so-called servicemen's unions. personal writing for publication may not be pursued during duty hours or accomplished by the use of government or nonappropriated fund property. while publication of underground newspapers by military personnel off post on their own time and with their own money and equipment is not prohibited, if such publication contains unlawful language, those involved in the printing, publication or distribution may be disciplined for such infractions. any demonstration or activity on the installation which could result in interference with or prevention of orderly accomplishment of the mission of the installation is prohibited. members of the armed forces are prohibited from participating in off-post demonstrations when they are on duty or in a foreign
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country or when their activities constitute a breach of law and order. well, there it is in a nutshell. we in the military are restricted to some degree in making public statements, in taking part in political activities and in publicly dissenting from the policies of our commander in chief, the president. some may feel this is unfair, but far wiser men than we, including the drafters of our constitution, recognize the perils of military involvement in politics. whether we agree with these restrictions is not important. i can assure you that they are legal and i submit to you that the interest of our nation are best served by disciplined military forces completely responsive to the will of our duly elected civilian leadership. as long as we are on active duty we're subject to military law, the law which also has its foundation in the constitution. with this in mind and in view of the restrictions we have been
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discussing, it would be a rash person indeed who would deliberately try to test the system. my advice to military personnel who might be dissatisfied with their lot in life is to see if they can't resolve their problems by using established procedures within the air force. if you have a conflict, present your problem or your grievance to your supervisor, your first sergeant or commander. if you are not satisfied see the inspector general. if you are still not satisfied you're always free to present your grievances to your representatives in the congress. as an american citizen, you may with impunity hold private beliefs that are violently anti-administration in all respects. it's just the public demonstration of your beliefs and political views that is limited by your status as a member of the military. neither time for our facilities here permit a question and answer period. i think, however, that we've covered all of the essential points on this subject. i would surge anyone who feels
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the need for more detailed information to get in such with the base staff judge advocate. by all means, don't blunder into trouble with the law, simply because you neglected to find out everything you need to know on this subject. ♪♪ ♪♪
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♪♪ >> this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks. join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon and shanksville, pennsylvania, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern, saturday on c-span. watch online at or listen on the c-span radio app. >>


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