I think you should all know what’s going on. John Hoellwarth of the Marine Corps Times reports the latest twist in Cpl. Joshua Belile’s story. It’s not good:
Jimm Mosher, record producer and co-owner of Hit Music Incorporated of Spencer, N.C., said his studio is on retainer for radio’s internationally syndicated Mike Church Show, which often produces and features satirical songs.
He said Belile was scheduled to record his song there for free until he called and canceled June 29.
James Parker, the show’s senior executive producer, said he tapped Mosher to record Belile “as an independent artist, outside of the Marines, not as a representative of Marines, but as Josh the civilian.”
According to Parker, Belile agreed on the day of his exoneration to record “Hajji Girl” with the Mike Church Show Band after being advised by Marine officials that he was free to perform the song “as long as he didn’t do it as a Marine in uniform.”
But by the end of the week, according to Mosher, the Corps’ position had changed.
“I just got off the phone with Josh and he acted like it was something he couldn’t do because of his command,” Mosher said June 29. “He just said he had talked to his superiors and I was led to believe they told him it was now a no-no.”
Col. David Mollahan, commander of Marine Aircraft Group 26, did not respond to a June 29 e-mail asking whether Belile is permitted to perform or record the song, and under what circumstances.
[Maj. Shawn Haney, spokeswoman for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.] said she couldn’t discuss whether or not Belile had been ordered to reverse his decision to record the song, but said that “anything that has been done has been done administratively” and is therefore not releasable to the public.
When contacted by Marine Corps Times, Belile confirmed that he had canceled the free studio time, but declined to specify whether he had changed his mind or if it had been changed for him.
Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said an order that prevents Belile from performing and recording the song in his off hours “certainly raises a First Amendment question in my mind.”
“They could get him for disobedience, but there is still a question about whether the order is lawful,” Fidell said.
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