Veteran of Four Tours Spoke Out Against War
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Sgt. Micah M. Turner, an Army veteran of three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, faces a potential disciplinary discharge in lieu of prosecution. The former psychological operations specialist was arrested in early January after being absent without leave from his Fort Bragg based unit since September 2012.
"I have a rare opportunity right now to use the internet and I will use it to say thank you!" Turner posted in a hastily-written note to friends and supporters that appeared this weekend on the Facebook page of Occupy Peace House.
"My Military Unit is treating me fairly and with respect. My commander has promised me that I will be separated from the military as fast as possible and it looks like my punishment will be by Article 15 of the UCMJ and not Courts Marshal. [sic]"
After revealing his identity (video at right) in Washington, D.C.'s Freedom Plaza on October 6, Turner spoke out again at Occupy Wall Street in New York. He was turned away when he attempted to turn himself in peacefully at Fort Hamilton, New York, on October 7 when guards said there was no one available to arrest him on a Sunday. He was turned away again the following day on the grounds that it was Columbus Day.
In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Turner explained more about his duties in Afghanistan.
"I made propaganda," he said. "We used surveillance analysis to attempt to influence local nationals through video or audible means for desired end states." The article went on to cite military sources who warned that he could face up to 18 months imprisonment.
Hundreds of supporters have signed a petition to discharge Turner instead of subjecting him to criminal prosecution. Many supporters cited his repeated tours of duty, multiple attempts to turn himself in peacefully, and his conscientious objection to further participation in the war.
Turner went on to work with a number of peace and justice organizations until he quietly slipped home to visit his parents to celebrate the Christmas holiday. According to his mother, police told the Army veteran that they knew where he was and had simply waited to let him finish the holidays.
He was detained in jail for several days at Fort Irwin, California. In a blog post, his mother described difficulty reaching him by phone after he "accidentally walked through a door he was supposed to wait to be opened and got locked down and missed [their] call."
An anonymous source who has been in contact with Sgt. Turner noted that he has been treated fairly since being moved to his North Carolina based unit in recent weeks.
"He is back on post. He is free to move about on base and is not in jail," added the unnamed individual, stressing that Fort Bragg officials were acutely aware of public interest in Turner's case. "Negotiations are currently under way to seek a discharge in lieu of court-martial."
In an interview he recorded with Russia Today before revealing his identity, Turner spoke about how many of his fellow service members in the 9th Military Information Support Division became increasingly disillusioned about the purpose of the war following the death of Osama bin Laden. He was especially concerned about the impact of traumatic stress on troops' heath, noting that suicides had outpaced combat fatalities among the causes of death.
Supporters hope that fair treatment by military officials at Fort Bragg could serve as a positive model of a way to release soldiers who become morally opposed to their participation in combat.
Note: This article has been released by an anonymous friend of Micah freely into the public domain. Please simply credit @Unoccupier. This Blogger address is intended to serve as an extension of Micah's blog at unoccupier.wordpress.com until he is once again free to use the internet.