Adam Kokesh

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Adam Kokesh [1]
Kokesh2013.jpg
Kokesh in 2013
Born Adam Charles Kokesh
(1982-02-01) February 1, 1982 (age 34)
San Francisco, California, US
Residence Arizona
Nationality American
Occupation Libertarian activist
Anti-war activist
Author
Independent journalist
Home town Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
Movement Libertarianism, Anti-war
Website Official website
Military career
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1999–2007
Rank Sergeant
Unit 3rd Civil Affairs Group[2]
Battles/wars Iraq War

Adam Charles Kokesh (born February 1, 1982) is an American political activist.

A decorated veteran of the War in Iraq, Kokesh came to disparage war and advocate nonviolent resistance to power. Identifying as a libertarian, Kokesh has called for a "new American revolution" and has announced plans to run for President in 2020 on the platform of an "orderly dissolution of the federal government."[2][3][4][5] His 2014 book FREEDOM! outlines his beliefs and philosophy.[6]

Early life[edit]

Kokesh was born on February 1, 1982, in San Francisco, California.[7] He is the son of Charles Kokesh, a Santa Fe businessman and former owner of the now defunct Santa Fe Horse Park.[8][9]

Kokesh attended Stevenson School, an elite boarding school in Pebble Beach, for his first year of high school before attending the Native American Preparatory School in San Ysidro, New Mexico,[10] and he received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Claremont McKenna College. Kokesh learned Arabic during his tenure in Iraq.[11]

Activism[edit]

2007[edit]

In February 2007, he became an active participant in the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). On March 19, 2007, to mark the 4th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kokesh and 12 other IVAW members participated in an occupation-like mock patrol of Washington, D.C.[12] Kokesh first came to national attention after he was interviewed on CNN and his photograph appeared in various newspapers, including the front page of the Los Angeles Times at a protest during Alberto Gonzales's testimony to Congress regarding the dismissal of U.S. attorneys. Kokesh, wearing his Marine Corps Boonie hat, held up a sign counting the number of times Gonzalez said "I don't remember" or "I don't recall" (Kokesh claimed Gonzalez used such phrases 74 times).[13]

Kokesh arrest at Senate Hart office building, April 26, 2007

In April 2007, Kokesh and a number of other activists were arrested for protesting the Iraq war in the Senate Hart Office Building. Kokesh had performed a ceremony for lost service members using an American flag.[14]

In June 2007, Kokesh along with IVAW members Liam Madden and Nate Lewis were arrested for crossing onto Fort Benning during an anti-war protest. A spokesperson for the IVAW said the three had accidentally stepped onto the base while talking to a guard. The trespass charges were dismissed.[15]

Kokesh enrolled in graduate studies in political management at George Washington University.[16] In October 2007, Kokesh, along with six other students, created controversy by putting up mock political posters across the university campus to mock what they called the Islamophobic racist "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" being observed at the campus. The event was organized by a conservative student organization, and invited speaker David Horowitz on the George Washington University campus.[17][18]

2008[edit]

On July 12, 2008, Kokesh spoke at the Revolution March, which took place on the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.[19]

On September 2, 2008, Kokesh spoke at Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic in St. Paul, Minnesota.[20]

On September 4, 2008, Kokesh interrupted Senator John McCain's acceptance speech of the GOP nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Holding a sign reading "McCain Votes Against Vets" on one side and "You can't win an occupation" on the other,[21] Kokesh yelled, "Ask him why he votes against vets!" Kokesh was detained by local police and released soon after.[22]

2011[edit]

On May 28 Kokesh and other activists participated in a flash mob-silent dance at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. in protest of a recent ruling against dancing in the monument. Kokesh along with four others including Medea Benjamin of Code Pink were arrested by U.S. Park Police for demonstrating without a permit. Kokesh was told he was under arrest after dancing a jig, He refused officers orders and was subsequently body-slammed onto the marble floor and put in a choke hold, then cuffed. The aggressive nature of the arrests raised concerns about the actions of some of the officers and prompted an internal investigation by the Park Police.[23][24] A much larger protest on June 4 organized by Kokesh and Code Pink involved about 200 protesters and 75 dancers. About 10 minutes after the dancing began, police began clearing the monument.[25] No arrests were made. When asked by a journalist if he had a permit to protest, Kokesh reportedly produced a copy of the Constitution and said, "Actually I got a permit. It's the same one I swore an oath to when I enlisted in the Marine Corps. And it says something about 'freedom of assembly.'"[26]

2012[edit]

On February 20, 2012, after a "Veterans For Ron Paul" rally organized by Kokesh, 500 marchers, including veterans, active-duty service, and their families, marched towards the White House.[27] There they engaged in ceremonial flag-folding in memory of deceased soldiers and periods of silence for soldiers who died in battle and for those who committed suicide after returning.[28]

2013[edit]

In May, Kokesh announced an "Open Carry March on Washington" where thousands of marchers bearing arms would cross from Virginia into Washington, D.C. on Independence Day to protest strict gun laws. He described the event as a nonviolent demonstration to be coordinated with DC law enforcement and that marchers should respond "with Satyagraha"[29] and peacefully turn back if met with force, and should be prepared to "submit to arrest without resisting."[30]

On May 18, Kokesh, along with other protesters, was arrested in Philadelphia by U.S. National Park Service Rangers[31] at the fifth iteration of a marijuana legalization rally known as Smoke Down Prohibition.[32] Kokesh and Philadelphia marijuana advocate N.A. Poe[who?] appeared before a judge[who?] on Monday May 20 and were charged with assaulting a federal officer and resisting arrest. The day before his May 24 release, Kokesh penned a press release calling for a "Final American Revolution" to take place on July 4 in place of the previously planned armed march on Washington D.C. This was to be "A new American revolution" where "the American Revolutionary Army will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property."[4]

On July 4, Kokesh posted a YouTube video of himself loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza in the District of Columbia in open defiance of DC law. In the 23-second video shot early that morning and titled "Open Carry March on DC a Success," as the Capitol looms in the distance, Kokesh loads the shotgun while addressing the camera:

We will not be silent; we will not obey; we will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final American Revolution. See you next Independence Day.

On July 8, he returned to the plaza with a local news crew. Though police indicated they believed he may have used a green screen, Kokesh insisted data from government surveillance cameras in Freedom Plaza would show he was there. "I was here, and I loaded a shotgun on Independence Day, but I didn't kill anybody. I didn't drone any children. I didn't steal any children's future. I didn't sell this country into debt. I didn't do any of the crimes that the man two blocks over at the White House is responsible for," he told the reporter. "I was ready to stand by my word, and I was ready to commit the civil disobedience that I had committed to," he said. "Now that we have a year, now that we're doing something that's much more open-sourced, we're going to be marching again next Independence Day."[33]

On the evening of July 9, a U.S. Park Police SWAT team raided Kokesh's house in Herndon, Virginia, executing a search warrant for the shotgun and raw footage from the July 4 video. With helicopters providing air support, the police officers knocked then kicked in the door and lobbed a flash grenade in the foyer, filling the house with smoke. Police clad in body armor stormed in and handcuffed Kokesh and his housemates, who alleged mistreatment during the raid and the ensuing five-hour search, which allegedly turned up the shotgun and Psilocybin mushrooms. Kokesh was charged with possession of Schedule I or II drugs and possession of a gun with Schedule I or II drugs, both felonies. Kokesh refused to leave his cell to be arraigned and fingerprinted, but was arraigned by a judge in his cell the next day. A statement posted on Kokesh's website read, "We will continue to spread the message of liberty, self-ownership and the non-aggression principle regardless of the government’s relentless attacks on our operation."[34][35][36] In a jailhouse interview on July 18 Kokesh denied any connection to the drugs found in the raid, implying they were planted. He claimed that the Park Police have a vendetta against him, and, when asked if he knew that what he did in the July 4 video was illegal, he responded, "It's called civil disobedience."[37]

In a jailhouse interview with Fox 5 DC, Kokesh announced his plans to run for President of the United States in 2020 on a platform of an orderly dissolution of the U.S. Federal Government.[38]

On July 26, Kokesh posted bail in Virginia and was immediately rearrested by U.S. Park Police for breaking a D.C. law forbidding bearing arms which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail, in connection with his Freedom Plaza video. Magistrate Judge Lori Parker ordered Kokesh to remain in the D.C. jail over the weekend because, she said, he had violated the rules of his release in another case. Specifically, she noted that in June 2013, Kokesh was charged with possession of marijuana after he was arrested on the south side of the White House allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette. On July 29 D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Sullivan, calling Kokesh "a very dangerous man," ordered him to remain in D.C. jail until trial.[39][40]

On November 6, Kokesh was released from jail after waiving his right to a trial and pleading guilty to the July 4 weapons charges and a marijuana possession charge from the June 8 White House protest.[41][42]

On January 17, 2014, Kokesh was sentenced to two years of probation. At his sentencing he apologized for his actions but defended his right to protest. He told the judge he was not a violent person, but just wanted to make a statement. "The only time I was violent was when I was a Marine."[43]

On June 12, Kokesh, after entering an Alford plea in Circuit Court to two felonies related to his possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a gun, was convicted of drug and gun charges. Although he did not contest the charges, he called the raid that led to his arrest “political persecution.”[44] Kokesh received a suspended sentence.[45]

2016[edit]

Kokesh embarked on the "For the Love of FREEDOM!" tour in August of 2016. The tour, featuring over 60 stops and including all of the 48 contiguous states, served as an exploratory tour for his 2020 Presidential run. Free copies of his book, FREEDOM!, were given away to all in attendance at each event.[46]

FREEDOM![edit]

While in jail after his 2013 arrest stemming from his Freedom Plaza civil disobedience, Kokesh began work on his book, FREEDOM![47] Originally published in 2014, FREEDOM! is available for free online in PDF and audiobook formats.[48] Kokesh touches on a vast variety of topics throughout, including patriotism, war, taxation, and how the ideas outlined could be implemented in the future. On his website, he describes the philosophy behind the book:

You, as a free, beautiful, independent human being with inalienable rights, own yourself! You can do what you want with your own body and the product of your labor. All human interactions should be free of force and coercion, and we are free to exercise our rights, limited only by respect for the rights of others. Governments rely on force, and force is a poor substitute for persuasion. When you learned “don’t hit,” “don’t steal,” and “don’t kill,” it wasn’t, “unless you work for the government.” Governments frighten us into thinking we need them, but we are moving past the statist paradigm and rendering them obsolete.[49]

Adam vs. The Man[edit]

Adam vs. The Man was a talk show which was available in a variety of formats, such as AM radio, web-access, podcast and Facebook-linked YouTube channel. Initially airing in 2011 as an evening two-hour broadcast on KIVA AM 1550 talk radio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adam vs. The Man then shifted to a half-hour video news format on Russia Today (see next section) before fully moving to the internet as an hour-long video podcast. On April 7, 2014, AVTM 4.0 was launched from Los Angeles, CA, and could be viewed live daily from noon to 2 PM, Pacific Time.

RT America[edit]

Adam vs. The Man was licensed by Russia Today's US affiliate in April 2011. The move was criticized by Accuracy in Media's columnist Cliff Kincaid who referenced his own column entry from 2008 discussing RT's coverage of the Russia–Georgia War in which he condemned RT for "preferring to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make Russian propaganda points"[50] before stating that "the American Marine Veteran, Adam Kokesh, seems to fit the bill, having emerged as an anti-war activist who ran as a Republican for Congress and supported Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president".[51] Slate writer David Weigel quoted Kokesh describing RT's model, saying: "Truth is the best propaganda. I love it! I really love the concept of that. It's funny: People say we're hiding shit as a network. No, no—we put the fact that this is propaganda right out front. We're putting out the truth that no one else wants to say. I mean, if you want to put it in the worst possible abstract, it's the Russian government, which is a competing protection racket against the other governments of the world, going against the United States and calling them on their bullshit."[52]

After only a few months on RT, Adam vs. The Man was canceled in August by that network to avoid potential legal problems stemming from an FEC complaint filed against Russia Today by the group America’s Survival, Inc. over the matter of Kokesh endorsing Ron Paul for President (thereby allegedly running afoul of the Foreign Agents Registration Act).[53]

Film appearances[edit]

Kokesh appears in the role of "A Soldier" in the 2016 film The Prey, and as Himself in the documentaries The Road to Fallujah (2008), For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty (2009), Owned & Operated (2012), Derrick J's Victimless Crime Spree (2012), ShadowRing (2015), and Gray State: The Rise (2015).

On January 19, 2013, Kokesh appeared as a future version of himself at an anti-war-debt rally scene in the 2014 sci-fi thriller, Alongside Night. Kokesh wrote the speech he delivered, a tribute to the character of Dr. Martin Vreeland (played by Kevin Sorbo), in the background during an action sequence. Most of the speech plays during the movie's end credits and the unedited full speech is on YouTube.[54][55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taking Libertarian Logic to the Spiritual Extreme". YouTube. 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  2. ^ a b "Iraq War Stories: Adam Kokesh". Albuquerque Journal. September 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ Kokesh, Adam (2012-05-10). "Why I choose nonviolence". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Timothy (2013-05-29). "Adam Kokesh Calls Off Armed March On D.C. In Favor Of 50 State March For "Orderly Dissolution Of The Federal Government"". Media Matters. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 
  5. ^ "FREEDOM! 2020 adamkokesh.com". adamkokesh.com. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  6. ^ "- The FREEDOM! Line". The FREEDOM! Line. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  7. ^ "Meet Iraq Veteran Adam Kokesh, the New Mouthpiece of the Anti-War Movement". June 28, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007. 
  8. ^ Sharpe Tom (Feb 4, 2010). "Bank lone bidder for Kokesh's horse park". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Bob Quick (May 23, 2007). "Iraq veteran marches in Germany protest". The Santa Fe New Mexican. p. C.1. 
  10. ^ Matthew Reichbach, Adam Kokesh launches northern New Mexico congressional campaign, American Independent News Network, July 6, 2009. Archived July 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Heather Hollingsworth (May 31, 2007). "Marine Vet Faces Hearing Over Protest". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 
  12. ^ David Montgomery (March 21, 2007). "Anti-war Iraq vets stage mock patrol D.C. residents get taste of occupation". The Journal Gazette. p. 6.A. 
  13. ^ Paul Kane (April 20, 2007). "The AG hearing: A post-mortem". The Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Marine veteran, protester faces discharge, United Press International, June 4, 2007.
  15. ^ "Trespass charges against veteran protesters dropped". AccessNorthGa.com. Associated Press. June 14, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ David Montgomery, "In Clash With Marines, Reservists Gain Ally in VFW", Washington Post, June 2, 2007.
  17. ^ "Anti-Muslim posters cause stir, administrative response". The GW Hatchet. October 8, 2007. 
  18. ^ Roper, Eric (2013-05-13). "Seven GW students admit to hanging controversial posters". Gwhatchet.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  19. ^ Ernest Hancock, Kokesh's speech (Revolution March) 07-12-2008 [Freedoms Phoenix] July 15, 2008.
  20. ^ David Weigel, Anti-War Activist Mounts GOP Campaign for Congress Archived May 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., The Washington Independent, December 18, 2009.
  21. ^ Indianapolis Star, McCain's speech interrupted by protestors September 4, 2008
  22. ^ The American Prospect, McCain Heckler Detained, Handcuffed, and Released Outside Excel Center September 4, 2008
  23. ^ Segraves, Mark (30 May 2011). "Park Police to probe arrests of dancing protesters". WJLA News 7. Retrieved 1 Sep 2013. 
  24. ^ Sarah Kaufman, Dancing in Jefferson Memorial? Our Founding Father would approve, Washington Post, May 2011.
  25. ^ Lori Aratani (June 5, 2011). "Dancers shimmy at the Jefferson Memorial". The Washington Post. 
  26. ^ John Henrehan (June 5, 2011). "Dancing Again At Jefferson Memorial; Adam Kokesh among the protestors". Fox News5. 
  27. ^ Connor A. Sheets (February 21, 2012). "Veterans for Ron Paul 2012 March on the White House". International Business Times. 
  28. ^ Matthew Larotonda, Veterans for Ron Paul Rally at White House, ABC News, February 20, 2012.
  29. ^ Fahrenthold, David A.; Hermann, Peter (May 15, 2013). "Activist Adam Kokesh has history of rabble-rousing and self-promotion". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  30. ^ Wing, Nicholas (May 6, 2013). "Open Carry March In Washington Seeks To Put 'Government On Notice' With Loaded Rifles". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  31. ^ National Park Service Archives
  32. ^ "Adam Kokesh Arrested at Anti-Prohibition Protest in Philly – Reason 24/7". Reason.com. 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  33. ^ "'Open Carry March' Activist Says Shotgun Video Was Real". 4 NBC Washington. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  34. ^ Jouvenal, Justin; Patel, Trishula (July 10, 2013). "Adam Kokesh charged with possessing hallucinogenic mushrooms". Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  35. ^ Riggs, Mike (10 July 2013). "SWAT Team Raids Home of Libertarian Activist Adam Kokesh, Arrests Him on Drug and Gun Charges". Reason. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  36. ^ MacDonald, Gregg (10 July 2013). "Libertarian activist arrested in Herndon". Fairfax Times. Retrieved 30 August 2013. [dead link]
  37. ^ Henrehan, John (18 July 2013). "Activist Adam Kokesh will run for President to abolish U.S. government". My Fox DC. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  38. ^ Gabbee (2013-07-18), Fox News Interviews Adam Kokesh from Jail, retrieved 2016-11-27 
  39. ^ "Activist Adam Kokesh charged with openly carrying shotgun in D.C.". WTOP.com. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2013-09-14. 
  40. ^ Keith L. Alexander (July 29, 2013). "Judge ordered gun activist to remain in jail". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-14. 
  41. ^ Alexander, Keith L. (2013-11-06). "Virginia gun rights advocate Adam Kokesh pleads guilty to gun charges, released from jail". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  42. ^ "Adam Kokesh pleads guilty to weapon, drug charges". WJLA.com. Allbritton Communications Company. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  43. ^ Alexander, Keith L. (2014-01-17). "Judge sentences Virginia gun-rights advocate, Adam Kokesh, to probation". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  44. ^ Jouvenal, Justin (June 12, 2014). "Va. court convicts gun rights activist Adam Kokesh". Washington Post. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  45. ^ Jouvenal, Justin (September 5, 2014). "Adam Kokesh gets no jail time on drug, gun convictions". Washington Post. 
  46. ^ "Calendar - The FREEDOM! Line". The FREEDOM! Line. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  47. ^ Trainor, Dennis; Jr. (2014-07-04). "Adam Kokesh's Independence Day Call To Arms Revisited". The Acronym Journal. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  48. ^ "- The FREEDOM! Line". The FREEDOM! Line. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  49. ^ "- The FREEDOM! Line". The FREEDOM! Line. Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  50. ^ Cliff Kincaid, Russian TV Sounds Like Soviet TV, Accuracy in Media, August 19, 2008.
  51. ^ Cliff Kincaid, KGB TV to Air Show Hosted by Anti-war Marine Vet, Accuracy in Media, April 5, 2011.
  52. ^ David Weigel, Pravda Will Set You Free; Russia's answer to Fox News and MSNBC., Slate, June 27, 2011.
  53. ^ Jack Blood (August 24, 2011). "Adam Kokesh's RT show 'Adam vs the Man" canceled due to FEC complaint". DeadlineLive.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  54. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3174254/
  55. ^ Uncut Adam Kokesh Speech @ Alongside Night Rally Scene | http://jneilschulman.agorist.com/2013/10/three-new-alongside-night-videos/

External links[edit]