Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Hip-hop protest rap lands US soldier in military jail

THE GUARDIAN , WASHINGTON

An Iraq War veteran has been arrested and charged with threatening to kill his officers after recording a violent rap protest song and sending it to the Pentagon.

Marc Hall, a infantry soldier, wrote the song in protest at the US Army’s unpopular policy of involuntarily extending soldiers’ service and forcing them to return to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hall completed a 14-month spell in Iraq last year, expecting to be discharged next month, but was told he would have to go back to Iraq under the policy known as stop-loss.

The song includes lines saying the Army “fucked me over,” and a warning that he would shoot his officers and “watch all the bodies hit the floor.”

The Army has charged Hall with threatening to “go on a rampage” and has ordered him to be held in a military prison in Georgia to await trial.

But Hall’s civilian lawyer, James Klimaski, said Hall was using the hip-hop genre, which often includes violent lyrics, to legitimately voice disgruntlement among troops at stop-loss.

The policy has forced 185,000 personnel to stay in the military beyond their contracts.

“These lyrics don’t mean anything. Gangsta rap songs are always talking about killing people. If you listen to what the song’s about, not the specific lines, it’s against stop-loss. And it’s the anger of troops who go over and come back and go over again and come back in an unending war,” Klimaski said.

Hall, who sings under the name Marc Watercus, directs his anger at officers. The song suggests he will round up the officers and put them against a wall.

Hall has issued a statement from prison, saying he had explained that the song “was a free expression of how people feel ... it was just hip-hop.”

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