On Veterans Day, let’s not forget the 500,000+ military veterans behind bars.
Some suffer from PTSD. Others have struggled with substance abuse or homelessness. Many are simply innocent victims of the nation’s long, foolish and destructive war at home, the drug war.
For Veterans Day on Tuesday, November 11, The Clemency Report celebrate seven veterans who should be freed immediately from their drug war sentences.
These good men are decades into immorally long sentences that range from 30 years to life — all for non-violent drug offenses.
One prisoner, now 80, fought for America in the Bay of Pigs. Another was Vietnam hero. He won three purple hears and a bronze star for valor in Vietnam.
All are admirable men. All served our country when asked. All are being done wrong today by the government who benefited from their bravery.
Today, The Clemency Report nominates these men for the Prisoner of War Medal, an all-forces medal awarded to men held as prisoners of war, including undeclared wars. The POW medal requires honorable behavior during captivity, which each of these men have done with utmost integrity.
The 2014 nominees the POW medal are:
- Luis Anthony Rivera, 58, a former Army paratrooper. He has been behind bars since 1985, a talented artist serving a life without parole sentence for a non-violent cocaine offense.
- Larry Ronald Duke, 67, a decorated Marine (Delta Company, 1st Batallion 7th Marines) served in Vietnam in 1965-66. He has been in federal prison since 1989 serving life without parole for a non-violent marijuana smuggling offense.
- Antonio Eliseo Bascaro, 80, a former Captain in Cuba’s Naval Air Force fought in the CIA’s ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. Antonio has been in federal prison since 1980 for non-violent marijuana smuggling. His release date is June 8, 2019.
- Kenneth B. Kubinski, 67, a rifleman in Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry (Airborne) won three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal in Vietnam. Since 1993, he has been serving life without parole for a non-violent marijuana and cocaine offense.
- John F. Farley Sr., 52, honorably discharged from the Air Force after 10 years due to injuries sustained on the job at Area 51. He is now in the 12th year of a 40-year sentence in Oklahoma for a non-violent methamphetamine offense.
- Michael Palmer, 52, a Jamaican immigrant enrolled in the U.S. Army at age 16, allowed at the time with a parent’s signature. He has been behind bars since 1989 serving life without parole for crack cocaine based on the racist crack-to-power cocaine ratio.
- Robert James Riley Jr., 62, enlisted in the Army at age with two friends who also had low lottery numbers. The gentle hippie is one of several Deadheads serving life without parole for non-violent LSD offenses.