The Free Associator

The Philadelphia Syndicate is a collection of writers, businesses, artists, musicians, and activists based in Philadelphia, with connections to associates around the world via the internet. This publication is produced by members of the Syndicate's private online discussion forum for the purpose of giving exposure to the organization's thinkers to the public.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Close that door! I feel a draft coming on!


this is amazing. in ruling on this case, in which a
guardsman was fighting being deployed after his 8
years were up (which is in the fine print, to be
sure), the judge stated that 'there is no credible
evidence of certain hardship for Mr. Santiago, while
there is credible evidence of hardship for the

incedible. so sending a man BACK to war is not
considered a hardship on him or his family, but it is
on the government if he didnt go. that sounds like a
tacit admission that things are bad to me. now we live
in times when the most powerful military in
the world is claiming "hardship" in order to get
soldiers reenlisted. wonderful.

Former Oregon National Guardsman Emiliano Santiago
learned earlier this year that the government might
seek to extend his service in the Guard past his
contract, which was due to expire in June. Now the
government says it wants to deploy him to Afghanistan
involuntarily. Santiago is suing in Federal Court,
arguing that the government is violating its contract
with him and imposing a great hardship on himself and
his family.

Santiago was represented by Steven Goldberg. Goldberg
pointed to specific terms in Santiago's contract which
only require him to serve beyond his term if he is in
fact called to active duty. Goldberg's main point was
that Santiago was not in fact called to active duty
but was put on alert. The contract stated that an
extension can only be enforced if the guardsman is
called to active duty within his term. He also argued
that while President Clinton in 1999 declared a state
of emergency in Afghanistan and Santiago would be
required to participate in a state of emergency,
President Bush in 2002 declared that there was no
longer a state of emergency in Afghanistan.

Government lawyers argued that the contract stated
that it did not include all clauses and therefore
additional requirements can be added without notice.
They further stated that whether Afghanistan was in a
state of emergency or not was a political question and
not a legal one. They claimed that documentation from
the newspapers showing the high risk to enlistees was
not credible as evidence of possible hardship. They
also claimed that it would be a "hardship" for the
government because each unit is composed of
individuals with different completion dates. Therefore
it would be necessary to create distinct orders for
each enlistee.

Initially, the judge seemed sympathetic to Santiago's
case. He interrupted the government lawyer asking him,
"So you are stating that the government can extend the
enlistee's term of service indefinitely?' This
appeared favorable to Santiago in light of the fact
that there was no evidence proving that Santiago had
been given certain documentation of deployment until
October, which was four months after the end of his
eight year commitment.

Unfortunately for Santiago, the judge made the ruling
that 'there is no credible evidence of certain
hardship for Mr. Santiago, while there is credible
evidence of hardship for the military.'

Steven Goldberg, Santiago's attorney, said he will now
seek an emergency appeal of Santiago's forcible
reactivation. The government has ordered Santiago to
report for duty and be shipped off to Afghanistan the
first week of January.

Some thirty people rallied for Santiago outside the
courthouse at 3rd and Salmon while the proceedings
were underway. One of the authors was able to get into
the courtroom before the hearing began, and found it
only three quarters full, with some 50 observers in
attendance. By the end of the hearing there were
approximately 60 courtroom observers and no less than
3 seats available on the author's bench alone.
However, supporters in the group outside the
courthouse who tried to enter the building after the
proceeding started were turned away at the front doors
of the building by federal marshalls who claimed to be
acting under orders of the judge. They claimed there
was "no room" for further members of the public to
attend. Supporters plan to send a letter to the judge
in the case seeking clarification on this apparently
arbitrary denial of public participation in a public
legal proceeding.



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12:34 AM  

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