Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner.

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Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000.

I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house.

I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.

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Marine Holds His Ground

 Joseph Diliberti

This is sort of a “dog bites man” story; but Joseph Diliberti, the Marine in question, is holding off a very large and dangerous dog indeed. A County government as bankrupt as it is corrupt, that wants to seize a man’s home of thirty years for what they claim are unpaid property taxes, is a particularly nasty dog. Its demands are bullshit.

Mutt, Field reporter on recon.

Here’s why…..

I guess I have to start at the beginning, which for Joseph was the hard streets of Brooklyn, NY; the sound of which glides thru every word he speaks.

As was the norm back then, Joseph enlisted as the war against Viet Nam raged. In the Marine Corps, he found a world as tough as Brooklyn’s streets, and he fit right in… until what he saw in Viet Nam repelled him. He vowed at that point to neither war against people, nor be a participant in a society that would glorify such things.

Thirty-odd years ago Joseph found a remote canyon, far from the city. It was a wet, spring fed bit of oasis amidst the desert chaparral. He built a large tree-house where eventually his daughter was born. Over the years, he studied his small corner of the planet, and started building roomy houses out of clay, which he then fired, creating ceramic, fireproof, and indestructible houses which, frankly, astound. He became a “bush vet” and Rastafarian.

Then, about ten years ago, houses started going up around him. To put things into perspective, you have to understand the nature of San Diego county politics. This is a seething Petri dish of tea baggers,, fundamentalist crackpots, merc and militia wannabes, and the kind of political hacks who use these elements to get elected. It has to be seen to be believed.

To them, a guy like Joseph Diliberti, an actual veteran speaking simple truth to the elaborate lies of Empire, is someone to be feared and hated. And to the County who serves these people, another easy victim, someone that is easily pushed around – Big mistake.

Fast forward a few years, the area becomes more populated and we have massive wildfires, for many reasons, not the least of which is the balding of fire resistant native species & the proliferation of invasive weeds, which turn the countryside into a vast firebomb. After the ’03 fires that swept thru the back country, ash fell from the sky like snow for days. Then the usual hysterical response came, which we’ve seen in say, the “Patriot Act”- a really stupid idea, rushed thru the system, so politicians will feel “safe.”

In THIS case, the stupid idea was giving a secretive company, with only a PO Box, a no bid contract to “clear” dangerous weeds, and submit a no oversight bill.

This clearing was to be done based on anonymous “complaints.” The outfit, Fire Prevention Services, determined what was to be cut, where, and how much to charge. They were fired for cause soon after trashing Joseph’s green piece of canyon bottom, AFTER the surrounding area, full of weeds, burned.

The County paid FPS $25,000 with no documentation of what was cut, how much, and where. The San Diego Rural Fire Protection District, under whom this no bid, no oversight contract was awarded, has let out at various times that the work was performed by 1 truck and two people; or 4 people; and for 1, 2, or 3 days – depending on what day it is.

An LA Times story states that “records” shown to the reporter declared 800 cubic yards were removed. That’s about 140 dump truck loads. No dump trucks were ever seen in the area at the time, much less 140. Joseph can’t see these “records” – indeed NO record, but for the bill.

Ever since this assault on Joseph has taken place, the County Tax Assessor has refused to accept Joseph’s actual tax bill, but demanded the entire amount, now with 150% interest – his actual tax payments are in escrow. He will be happy to pay his tax bill tomorrow. But the extortion – No!

Meanwhile, the Vig – well, this is extortion & racketeering so let’s use the right terms – has inflated the original bill to over $65,000! That is nothing short of Mob interest rates, and the County now wishes to steal Joseph’s land to make good the payment THEY made to a corrupt, oft-sued, pack of swindlers. AND along the way, will naturally grab a few bucks for themselves.

What would YOU do?

Well, WE are doing THIS. These are the sort of people who can’t operate in the light of day. YOU are that light! While San Diego County goes under – the county is known world-wide as “Enron by the Sea” – don’t let them make up for THEIR criminal incompetence by seizing Joseph’s home and selling it at auction to be bought by who, the unknown neighbor who sic’d this corrupt company on him in the first place?

The fact these crooks and crackpots are doing it to a Marine combat vet is just frosting on the cake

Richard Halsey, of the Chaparral Institute, is NCOIC this operation. He knows every detail. I’m the squad cherry….

Mutt, VVAW-SD, reporting.

***********************Veterans Today Editorial Comment******************************

We asked Mutt to report on this story for us from on site San Diego Country, CA. However in doing the research on this story of a Vietnam Veteran (yes we saw his DD-214) turned Artist, we vetted Joe’s background after Vietnam.

In my opinion, Joe is not your stereotyped Crazed Vietnam Vet hiding in the woods that mainstream media like to do stories on shortly after Vietnam to well show how screwed up we were in the head IN THEIR MINDS those who refused to serve or had other things to do like politics.

Nope, Joe chose to live in what I know to be like the High Dessert of Southern California where lots of ranchers, cattlemen, and even yep right-wing militia men live. However, Joe’s chosen calling was Artist. He is recognized internationally as just that – an artist in Clay.

In my opinion, Joe Diliberti is just as much a successful Vietnam Veteran as any of us who remained on active duty for a career despite opposing the war we fought and served in.

Joseph Diliberti, a distinguished USMC Vietnam veteran, knows how a warrior deals with the horror of war by becoming a renowned Artist. However, his story is especially poignant because San Diego County is planning to take Joseph’s home away from him after July 1, 2010. The county is doing so to obtain payment on an unjust lien placed on Joseph’s property because of a bungled “weed abatement” order. Joseph was never notified about the order nor was he home when the clearance work was done.

Mutt touched on just some of Joe’s work that well amazes and is candy for the eyes. However when I took a closer look at just what Joe was capable of by the artistic creations he could make not only was I inspired to come to this Marine’s aid, I no shit want to go back to California visit Joe and see his work first hand. I’m no art expert, but I know beauty when I see it. Joe has taken his war time horrors and turned them into something beautiful and that folks is a lesson most young Vets now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can take to heart, especially those dealing with PTSD. Take your demons and focus on turning them into something creative and beautiful be it poetry, writing, eduction, politics, music, painting, pottery, well the list goes on.

Ironically, yes their can even be artistry, creation, beauty and humanity in politics, we just haven’t found any yet. It may be up to the next generation of Vets to put it there.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network


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16 Responses to "Marine Holds His Ground"

  1. B.A. Gilmore  May 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I lived in San Diego a year. Never have I been in a place more phony, greedy, lazy, unthinking (and proud of it) than San Diego. When I was there the homeless were trying to get the navy hospital to use as a shelter. Naturally, that didn’t happen. It was worth more if they could sell it. It doesn’t surprise me they’re trying to steal his home. They have such a “holier than thou” attitude. There was always someone with a gimmick, a con. It’s disgraceful. I do have to mention, in all fairness, that’s it’s usually the transplants that come to San Diego that are like that. I have met native San Diegoans that are not like that at all. What happened to him is what happens all the time the – for lack of better words- yuppies move in. They never try to fit in. They try to take over. I hope this can be stopped. Why is it you can give so much of yourself for other people’s freedom and yet they can’t even be bothered to treat you with the honor that you deserve.

  2. Fran Lawrence  May 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    This is wrong. If we don’t stand up for him, who will stand for us?

  3. Dan  May 12, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I found this on another site:

    “Diliberti purchased 3.7 acres in East County in 1978. Since 1979 it has been his permanent home.”

  4. ROBERT VNVET 11thcav  May 12, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Tom, I agree brother… I still have some fight left in me… The VA hasn’t gotten to me yet after 9 plus years of fighting with those boneheads…I still can drive a tank if that would help… It sounds like he owns the land if he’s paying property tax, I could be wrong… First time this month, lol…

  5. Oldleatherneck  May 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Please give more details about this travisty. The story is a little sketchy and disconnected. What kind of a scam is the county pulling and what is their ultimate goal. They don’t like him because he’s a vet, strange, an artist, what? Give us a handle to grab onto so we can get behind our brother.

  6. rocco  May 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    V/Nam vet here dont move stand your rights, you found your place,now people moveing outof the city want to make you move, tell them go to hell you have people on your side brother

  7. Dan  May 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Oops…there’s a typo in the last post, but I think everyone should still understand the question. I am trying to figure out if the county actually destroyed land that belonged to him or not. Thanks.

  8. Dan  May 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Does Joe own the land or is has he just been squatting for the past 30 years? If he owns the land outright, this is a tragedy. If not, it’s something entirely different.

    • Chaparralian  May 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Dan, yes, Joseph owns his property. He recently also paid off his mortgage, so he is in better shape than most of us!

  9. ROBERT VNVET 11thcav  May 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I really hope those PUKE’s in San Diago have a good time spending the money they get from selling this mans property.. Someone has to pay for their big houses on the beach and the big fancy cars they drive down there… Hell if they can’t earn it than why not just steal it… The problem is who do you turn to, a Lawyer??? Ploitics in the country is the worst thing going than anyother form of terrorists…

    • Tom Dillman  May 12, 2010 at 12:11 am

      Hey Robert, the Marines are probably going to need a couple Cav grunts like you and me to go bail them out and save Diliberti’s buttinsky. 🙂

      Tom Texas Vet — 8th Cav / First Cav

  10. Archie Haase  May 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

    On another note I was reading a blog from an ex military type who talks to aliens from outer space. If my story is right they caught one and kept it until President Carter told the Air Force to let it go.

    According to this guy the government trains ex serviceman in the art of dealing with aliens. That is all for GI’s except former US Marines. He claims we are unteachable.



    Bro, I’ve only been in the Army and Air Force, plus worked very close with the Navy (well in the Navy since I was civilian commander over Sailor – no Marines).

    However during tours of duty in Nam, Okinawa, and yes during the Gulf War I came in contact with Marines too close for comfort.

    Marines, and please don’t take it offensive, are like well officers.

    Marines have an aura about them like officers I mean when I walk into a room and open my frigging mouth if you’ve been in the serive you know I’ve been a ZERO.

    Marines tend to be like than when they walk into a room and open their mouth be it on active duty, retirement, or just coming back to the world ANYONE who has been in the service knows this is a MARINE.

    Guess what I’m trying to tell you is that Marines I’ve come in contact with after leaving the service have a down deep belief that there is not such thing as a former Marine or Ex-Marine, once a Marine always a Marine.

    Ok, that doesn’t mean I don’t agree Marines are strange creatures to the rest of us in uniform, but hell they are MARINES that’s what they do be the few and the PROUD for LIFE.

    I know of hardly no other service except maybe the Army or Navy where a senior NCO or officer doesn’t feel they are still part of the brotherhood til the end of their days. No offense to the sisterhood meant or intended.

    Bobby Hanafin
    The Mustang Major

    • Archie Haase  May 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      We are a strange breed. We are different, not better. Hope you understand what I am trying to say.

      I remember on a Joint Nuclear Exercise in 1966 at Barbers Point Navel Air Station Hawaii a very young Lance Corporal with a night stick walked through the barracks at 0600 in the morning banging trash cans to get Army and Air Forces guys some who of whom were three to four ranks higher out of the rack to start the day. They all obediently got out of bed and onto the floor at his command.

      Another story told to me by a former Generals aid that another young Lance Corporal who’s job is was to pick up all the former commandants in a Virginia parking lot to take them all to another former commandants funeral. He was threatened not to forget anyone.

      After they all got on the bus this low ranking Lance Corporal writing pad in had boomed out, “I want you to say loudly, *Here*, when I call your name”. They all did obediently coming and going. General David M Shoup told this story to his aid my former commander in Vietnam.

  11. Archie Haase  May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I have to say over the years I met so many Ex Marines all strange including myself. I think the Marine Corps attracks this kind of person. I think congress should declare us all, and I mean all (excluding me of course) former US Marines untouchable and a treasure.

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