Iraq Vet War Critics Detained at Fort Bragg

Fayetteville Observer
Wednesday December 19, 2007

Two Army veterans of the war in Iraq were detained for several hours Dec. 17 on Fort Bragg, N.C., after handing out baked goods and anti-war literature at one of the post’s shopping centers.

The veterans, Jason Hurd, 28, and Steve Casey, 23, both of Asheville, belong to Iraq Veterans Against the War, a national group that opposes the United States’ military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hurd is president of the group’s Asheville chapter; Casey is the vice president.

Hurd and Casey said they arrived on Fort Bragg shortly before noon Monday. They set up a folding table outside the Reilly Road Mini-Mall and started handing out paper bags of brownies and cookies.

The latest monthly newsletter from Iraq Veterans Against the War was attached to the bags.

Hurd said he and Casey were there about an hour when an employee from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service came outside and told them they could not stay without a permit. The exchange runs the shopping centers on post.

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Hurd said he and Casey asked where they could get a permit and were packing up to go get one when Fort Bragg military police arrived. Hurd said a nearby soldier told police that he was offended by the literature. Hurd said the police then took him and Casey to the Provost Marshal’s Office.

He said they left their car and a box of the gift bags at the mini-mall and stayed at the Provost Marshall’s Office about four hours before they were released.

Tom McCollum, a Fort Bragg spokesman, said that two veterans had been escorted off Fort Bragg on Monday. He said neither had been charged.

When the military police took the men back to the mini-mall and their car, Hurd said, they found that someone had written words of encouragement in black magic marker on the box of gift bags:

“Many friends in my platoon died brutally to protect the First Amendment. We have the right to peacefully protest.”

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