One Veteran's Voice

30 January 2006

Online Appeal for Legal Counsel, as per my constitutional rights

I received this email today.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

SGT Van Reet, I tried contacting you at your AKO and your MSN address with the below message last week.

SGT Van Reet

The 902nd MI at Fort Hood contacted me concerning some photos you have posted on A returning soldier likes to share memories with people, and in no way do we want to stop that. However, on the web site, there are five photos that expose weaknesses of our weapon systems. These photos are (tank, camp war eagle, 75862612, 74920791, and 75674977. I'm sure you can appreciate the need to keep vulnerable areas on our weapon systems from falling into the wrong hands.

Thank you for your cooperation

Security Management Office

U.S. Army, Human Resources Command

St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5200

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

I took the aforementioned photos during my tour in Iraq. I am still a member of the IRR (individual ready reserve), but I'm not on active duty, and not in the Reserves. Do they have any legal right to force me to remove the photos? What are my options here? If I chose to publish the photos in a future book, could they stop it? If a journalist had similar photos, could the government legally stop them? I need some answers, preferably from real lawyers. I have this paranoid fear that they are eventually going to call me up on IRR to silence me, apparently I'm already on the radar-- I thought it might be a while longer. So I'm documenting that fear here, in case it actually happens.

To the MI guys reading this-- the only way these pictures show "weaknesses of our weapon systems" is by documenting what the people who shot RPGs and detonated IEDs at me already knew-- these weapons can cause damage to US weapons systems. I think the insurgents already knew that. These photos are journalistic and documentary in nature, and do not reveal anything about our weapons systems that one can't see on CNN or the Discovery Channel, or in a Soviet or former Iraqi Army field manual.

Lawyers? Any out there that want some extra work?

The top photo was one of those singled out in the email.

While the bottom photo (also on flickr), was not mentioned.

Conclusion: These two photos feature the same tank, the same superficial IED damage, from different perspectives. I have no idea what criteria they are using to deem a photo worthy of OPSEC violations. Either they are simply harassing me, not looking at all the pictures, or maybe a little of both. In any case, I'm not going to do anything until I hear from a few people. By the way, the damage shown in these pictures actually represents a success of the armor of the M1 series tank. We kept rolling, no one got hurt, just a little shaken up.

11 Other Voices:

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

From what I have been told in the past.

No matter if it is publicly known or our enemies know about it, if it is in anyway classified we cannot talk about it, have pictures of it etc.

For instance, when I was in the Army I was Stationed with a four man team on an Island in the Indian Ocean. I still am not allowed to put that on my resume even though CNN, Fox, and other news agencies mention the base .

I would contact my local JAG and ask them for advice. It may be just someone over stepping their bounds, or it may be someone is trying to cover your ass.

Either way I would check on it if I were you.

1/30/2006 02:32:23 PM  
One Salient Oversight said...

Canada is nice place to live... so too Australia.

1/30/2006 03:56:39 PM  
Anonymous said...

I just sent you an email regarding this.

- kg

1/30/2006 06:06:34 PM  
Sara said...

If you find some answers, particularly regarding UCMJ while in the IRR, could ya email me? I've been thinking about that and I'm a bit concerned.

As far as the photos are concerned, your observations are spot on, logically. But as you and I know full well, the army isn't always (in fact, usually isn't) logical. I'd tell him to fuck off, but that's just me.

1/30/2006 10:15:58 PM  
TBone65 said...


Not sure the 902d MI has any jurisdiction over you at this point. More than likely there was some concern because they couldn't decide whether to drink more coffee or pretend to do some work.

Use your best judgment. If the photos they pointed out show a significant weakness that could cause the zipperheads to change their tactics in order to kill your former bros, then it might be smart to remove them (only for the sake of yer bros)...however, the photos you showed us don't show shit except a couple scratches on metal.

I wouldn't be too concerned about anything until someone gives you a phone call and tells you to take them down. IF that happens, get an attorney (hopefully pro bono) and let him do the work.


1/31/2006 02:04:02 AM  
Cpl. D.C. said...

This post has been removed by the author.

1/31/2006 07:54:09 AM  
Cpl. D.C. said...

Hey Sgt., Oliver North sold drugs in the US to finance mercenaries he called freedom fighters. Than he turned arround and sold surface to surface missiles to iran one which landeded on a US ship patrolling the Persian Golf. Yea people forget. Now good m*&^$^ fu(*$&g asshole oli is a symbol of fredoom to the neo-cons making a good buck in the propageanda machine (aka media).
Your pictures?
Hoewever I would take them down. You still in the IRR and all.

Cpl DC

1/31/2006 07:56:18 AM  
Bryan D. Catherman said...

First, I AM NOT A LAWYER; I just have a well-worn Manual for Courts-Martial (which includes Appendix II, the UCMJ) and the training to use it. I am no longer in the military and my comments are not advice in any way, just my opinion posted on this crazy thing experts call the “internet.”

Jurisdiction is a nutty thing. If the MI were to make a recommendation to a soldier’s commander with jurisdiction, that commander could potentially start the UCMJ process. This is of course a hypothetical thought. In addition, timing is important in jurisdiction. Did the offences happen on active duty (if simply taking the photos is a problem, under order from a superior for example, then maybe yes), or did the offences happen at a later date (like posting on the internet against opsec orders)?

Article 3 (Jurisdiction to try certain personnel) states, (Section 803. Article 3, (d)) “A member of a reserve component who is subject to his chapter is not, by virtue of the termination of a period of active duty or inactive-duty training, relieved from amenability to the jurisdiction of this chapter for an offense against is chapter committed during such period of active duty or inactive-duty training.”

Article 2 (Persons Subject to his chapter) states, (Section 802, Article 2, (2)) “A member of a reserve component may not be ordered to active duty under paragraph (1) except with respect to an offense committed while the member was, (A) on active duty, or (B) on inactive-duty training…

Just a thought, instead of pulling the photo while you get this worked out, you should post this letter with them, and then put a couple hundred little black bars with white lettering (“OPSEC”) on every little thing, your eyes, nuts, the tank damage, the unit number, the dirt, the sky, everything. So there is just enough to tell there is a photo behind all those attention grabbing, free-speech oppressing black bars. It would remove any security issue and make your point. But this is just a thought.

1/31/2006 09:39:48 AM  
CD said...

I dig your site Mr. Vet. 8)

1/31/2006 04:59:57 PM  
The Statistics said...

Contact GI Rights hotline asap and let them know what is going on.

I was talking to them when i was busted for blogging and they walked me through.

Smart, free and lots of lawyer connections

If you think there is something shifty still, contact your senator and congress person for some back up.

Those pics are fair game, keep them up

Fuck the IRR! I ain't never going back.

the heretic

2/01/2006 07:14:34 AM  
Anonymous said...

First off, great, great, great, great, did I mention, great, blog. This topical information is truly "stuff" that cannot be appreciated by anyone who's never experienced federal service. Anyhoo, I'm an active duty (for three more months) captain; JAG with the USAF...don't fret, I am very disgruntled. I will check this week when I return to work, and find out...I've got access to a bunch of search material to get this answer. In the meantime, since you are no longer on Title 10 orders, anything you do now cannot be prosecuted under the UCMJ. What's more, it would not be worth the federal government's time or money to bring you back onto AD just to discipline you for the pictures (I'm speaking from experience here). The kicker is once you go off Title 32 and back onto AD (once again under Title 10). The whomever could ball you out at that time---that is IF they have a leg to stand on. Email me at and we can correspond. Then, once we agree on a way-ahead you can post the advice (remember I AM still on AD).
ol' hank

2/20/2006 12:02:10 AM  

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