Soldier Pleads Guilty to Going AWOL

Published: February 22, 2007
Filed at 1:09 p.m. ET

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A soldier who fled before his second deployment to Iraq pleaded guilty Thursday to desertion under a plea deal that will send him to military prison for less than a year.

”I quit the Army, I quit my unit, and I did not show up when I needed to,” Spc. Mark Wilkerson told a military judge during his sentencing hearing.

Wilkerson, 23, surrendered at Fort Hood in August — about a year and a half after failing to return from an approved two-week leave — saying he was tired of running and wanted to move forward with his life.

He told the judge Thursday that he packed his belongings at Fort Hood and put some in storage, then went home to Colorado Springs, Colo., for part of his leave. He didn’t say where he spent his time while he was absent without leave.

Before surrendering, he sought help from Cindy Sheehan’s protest camp in nearby Crawford, which helps educate soldiers about their rights as war resisters.

As part of his plea bargain, the judge will sentence Wilkerson to no more than 10 months in prison for desertion and missing troop movement, Wilkerson’s lawyer Michael J. Duncan said.

Relatives of Wilkerson testified on his behalf Thursday, and more witnesses were expected later in the afternoon at the sentencing. The prosecution didn’t call any witnesses.

Since his return, Wilkerson has worked in an office at the Central Texas Army post and has been allowed to leave after initially being confined to the post, although he was never in a cell, he said.

Wilkerson said he decided to go AWOL because his conscientious objector status was denied a month before his unit was to return to Iraq in early 2005. Wilkerson, who was 17 when he enlisted, has said his views on the war changed after he served in Iraq for a year beginning with the March 2003 invasion.

Two weeks ago at Fort Lewis, Wash., a judge declared a mistrial in the court-martial of an Army lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq. A new trial is set for next month for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Honolulu, who has said he refused to go because he believes the war is illegal.

Army medic Agustin Aguayo, who turned himself in last fall after fleeing before his second deployment to Iraq, is scheduled for trial next month in Germany.

Charles Gocher, RIP

From http://www.suncitygirls.com/news/:


With deep regret, we must announce that Charles Gocher passed away yesterday in Seattle due to a long battle with cancer at the age of 54. He is survived by the two of us who adopted him as a brother 25 years ago and his many friends around the world. He will be missed more than most could ever know. Our thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement during the past three, very difficult years. Many of you were not aware that Charles was ill and that’s because he wanted it that way. Details of a memorial in his honor will be announced soon.

—Alan and Richard Bishop


“Next Sunday night, Feb 25th, our big party celebrating a fully stocked shop, a finished window installation, hanging Matthew Thurber art extravaganza, and the name on the glass. Two Great Bands, Booze, art and lots of books, comics, zines, records and movies to puke on at 2:00 AM. If you don’t come to this it means we are not friends anymore.”



Something stupid happened to Arthur magazine “Do the Math” columnist/motorcyclist/writer/”Defend Brooklyn” creator Dave Reeves late last year in Burbank and now he’s being tickled by the Burbank D.A. for fines, probation and even a jailing on some bogus-on-their-face criminal charges. Call it weird, call it harassment-by-cop, call it Kafkatime: whatever name you hang on this cruel mess, it is expensive and is requiring legal services at a level far above Dave’s means. He’s in a jam now and he needs — and deserves — our support during this nightmare. Help our brother out. Defend Dave Reeves like he’s defended you — order something off his website:




“The Blaster of Choice” (Arthur 25/Dec 02006)
“Mission Creeps: One of Us Is Not as Dumb as All of Us” (Arthur 24/Sept 02006)
“Trigger Hippies” (Arthur 23/July 02006)
“Close the Borders” (Arthur 22/May 02006)
“Trust the Government” (Arthur 21/March 2006)
“Man Roots Culture” (Arthur 19/Nov 02005)
“Siphon Your Way to Financial Freedom” (Arthur 17/July 2005)

Man Roots Culture: DAVE REEVES on GINSENG

Originally published in Arthur No. 19 (Nov 2005)


Man Roots Culture
By Dave Reeves

Fall is here, and it’s time to think about how you’re going to maintain your erection for the long winter months. Buying Viagra pills might do the trick, but face it, you are going to be broke after giving all your money to the gas man, so take my advice and pick up a dub sack of American ginseng instead.

Buying ginseng is like buying drugs; you’re going to get ripped off unless you know the deal. They won’t have it at the hippie health food store because hippies are afraid of the awesome power within. For the real you have to go to Chinatown. Go in any place that has a neon ginseng root in the window, or a picture of ginseng on the sign.

If you aren’t overwhelmed by the smell of the ginseng when you go in the door then you are not in the right place. The best places will have barrel after barrel of various roots and then thousand dollar roots laid out in little boxes to look like little people—hence the Chinese name that ginseng was bastardized from: Jenshen, or “man root.” These roots are prized as much for their size as for their shape and the super fat ones will supposedly do the same thing for your penis, which is the real reason they call it a “man root”.

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