“I’m trying to send out to the American people
of this country a message that the responsibility of ending this illegal and immoral war lies with the people of this country
and holding their leader accountable because if they don’t do anything nothing is going to happen.”
Courage to Resist was delighted to join the Lt. Ehren Watada victory press conference organized
by Asian Americans for Peace and Justice this morning in San Francisco Chinatown's Portsmouth Square park. Ehren was the first
military officer to publicly speak out against and refuse to deploy to Iraq back in June 2006. In February 2007, Ehren stood
before a general court martial and faced seven years in the stockade as over a 1,000 supporters rallied nearby at the gates
of Fort Lewis, WA.
To celebrate Ehren's long-awaiting discharge last week, artist Betty Kano encircled the speakers'
podium with a traditional drum-call and poets and members of the community spoke out.
Ehren never spent a day in the
stockade and never backed down from his assertion that the Iraq War was and remains an illegal occupation.
------------- Mark Jensen, United for Peace
of Pierce County, WA. October 3, 2009 Comments:
Some 1,213 days after he publicly declared his refusal to obey orders
to deploy with his unit to Iraq on the grounds that the war there is illegal under national and international law, Ehren Watada
was discharged from the U.S. Army on Friday morning, Oct. 2, 2009, at Fort Lewis, the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) reported Saturday.
Watada made no comment; his lawyer said that he wanted to "reclaim his privacy and anonymity," Scott Fontaine said. -- The
Army, too, invoked privacy, refusing to comment on the type of discharge Watada received. -- It was a curiously muted ending
to a three-and-one-half-year saga that began on Jun. 7, 2006, when Ehren Watada gave a press conference at Associated Ministries
in Tacoma in a room packed with press and supporters. -- But lawyer Ken Kagan said that Watada "doesn't fear retribution from
the Army and made no agreements to stay silent." -- Except for a few news service squibs, the press paid little attention
to the dénouement of the Watada story. -- Local antiwar activists who offered moral support during his long ordeal expressed
satisfaction that the Army has finally allowed Watada to resign, Fontaine reported in a separate News Tribune article. Rafu
Shimpo, a newspaper of the Los Angeles Japanese-American community, published a reporter's reminiscence of the 2007 court-martial.
------------- (quote) "I'm trying to send out to the American people of this country a message that the responsibility
of ending this illegal and immoral war lies with the people of this country and holding their leader accountable because if
they don't do anything nothing is going to happen." ~ Lt. Watada 10.7.07
A federal judge said Tuesday that Lt. Erhen Watada cannot be retried on the most serious charges against
him, because he is protected by the U.S. Constitution's ban on double jeopardy, the Associated Press reported.
Lt. Watada refused to deploy to Iraq in June 2006 on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal, and
his U.S. Army court-martial in February 2007 ended in a mistrial.
Hal Bernton of the *Seattle Times* noted that Lt. Watada still works at Fort Lewis and is stuck in
a "legal limbo" that will apparently continue for some time, since "[t]he judge kicked back to the military trial court for
further consideration two other conduct unbecoming an officer charges against Watada, opening the door to further court proceedings.
Both of those charges involve public interviews Watada gave to reporters, and were conditionally dismissed as part of a pretrial
Settle said the military court should consider whether there are 'constitutional defects' to retrying
Watada on those charges before a civil court does."
On Tuesday, one of Lt. Watada's attorney's, James Lobsenz, said: "We're happy, but it's too early to
know what else might happen. It's highly likely (the Army) will appeal the judge's decision."
The *Honolulu Advertiser* reported that Bob Watada, a former Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission executive
director who is Lt. Watada's father, fears that the Army might appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but
Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney in the February 2007 court-martial, told the paper that "theoretically, hypothetically [the
other two charges] can be brought back, but I think there's going to be lots of problems. I don't think they can bring those
Seitz told the *Honolulu Star-Bulletin*: "They ought to let him resign. They aren't going to win this
and they ought to acknowledge that."
Please come show support for Lt. Ehren Watada at the Federal Courthouse
in Tacoma between 11 am - 3 pm on Friday, Oct. 19.
Union Station Courthouse
1717 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
Sorry for the late notice, but the army and the court system aren't making organizing easy.
Attorneys for both sides will appear before Judge Settle sometime tomorrow, but Ehren's attorney says this may not be a "hearing".
The judge may continue to postpone the court martial, it's unlikely he will rule on "double jeopardy", and he may just set
a future date for everyone to come back.
Please join us between 11 am - 3 pm and bring friends, signs and dress warmly. This will be a peaceful
vigil to show support for Ehren. Below is the press release we have sent out- folks from across the country are helping
re-awaken the support Watada campaign. Vigils are happening in San Francisco and Philadelphia and Los Angeles, too!
Liz Rivera Goldstein
Teen Peace Project, Port Townsend
Supporters Prepare for
Second Lt. Watada Court Martial
Lt. Watada’s belief that the Iraq war is illegal and immoral has resonated with peace activists across the country
and garnered national and international support. With the army once again planning to court martial Lt. Watada, peace activists
are organizing to show support for Lt. Watada and other war resisters. The Family and Friends of Lt. Watadaare planning events for October 19 and October 27.
Nationwide Iraq Moratorium protests scheduled for October 19th coincides with Federal Judge Benjamin Settle’s
review of the responses from the army and Watada defense attorneys regarding an emergency stay of Lt. Watada’s court
martial proceedings in the city of Tacoma, Washington. Activists intend to be present outside the Tacoma Federal
Courthouse to show support for Lt. Watada. Supporters are also planning to turn out at national peace mobilization events
across the country to be held on Oct. 27.
In a down to the wire decision, Federal Judge Benjamin Settle issued a last-minute stay temporarily blocking the second
trial of Lt. Ehren Watada. On or after Friday, October 19th Judge Settle will decide Lt. Watada's constitutional claim
that a second trial would amount to 'double jeopardy'. That decision will determine if a stay of court martial proceedings
will be vacated or continue indefinitely. Lt. Watada seeks dismissal of all charges by the court and an honorable discharge
from the Army. Under normal circumstances, Lt. Watada's term of service would have expired in December 2006. However,
his discharge has been delayed because of the possible court martial proceedings.
Lieutenant Watada has consistently maintained that the Iraq war and occupation is illegal under
both international law and the U.S. Constitution, and according to military law, he could be found guilty of participating
in a crime against the peace and war crimes if he were to participate in the illegal intervention in Iraq.
As Lt. Watada has stated: “I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be a party to an illegal
and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend
America’s laws and it’s people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today.”
Lieutenant Watada was tried by a court martial this February for "missing movement" for failing to deploy and "conduct
unbecoming an officer" for his statements opposing the war. After the prosecution had completed its case, the military
judge, Lt. Col. John Head, intervened, declared a mistrial, and ordered Watada to be retried.
Watada's attorneys are appealing on the grounds that such a retrial will violate one of the most fundamental constitutional
protections of the rule of law: the prohibition of "double jeopardy." The Fifth Amendment states that no person shall
be "subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."
Without a prohibition on double jeopardy, the government could simply halt a trial whenever matters don't go well for
the prosecution, such as what happened in the initial Watada trial. This attempt for a second trial represents one more
Bush-era encroachment of the "all-powerful state" on basic human rights and the rule of law.
The double jeopardy clause of the US Constitution ensures that no American can be tried twice for the
same offense. But at a time when our civil liberties are rapidly eroding, a drama is unfolding in Washington State over whether
that constitutional protection applies to a US soldier.
After his February court-martial ended in a mistrial, Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer
to refuse to serve in Iraq, seemed certain to face a second court-martial on October 9 at Fort Lewis, an Army base near Tacoma.
Three military courts had rejected Watada's claim of double jeopardy, finding no abuse of discretion by the military judge
in declaring a mistrial. But in an unusual civilian intervention in a military legal process, US District Court Judge Benjamin
Settle issued a last-minute stay October 5 in Tacoma, temporarily blocking the trial.
Settle will hear Watada's double jeopardy claim
Nationwide Iraq Moratorium protests are scheduled for that
day, many of which will feature Watada's case and his stand against the war.
Watada has consistently maintained that the Iraq War is illegal under international law and the US
Constitution, and that to participate in it would make him guilty of a war crime. At the video press conference on June 7,
2006, in which he first announced his refusal to go to Iraq, he explained, "It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed
forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law."
Watada was tried in a military court in February for failing to deploy and conduct unbecoming an officer
for his statements opposing the war. After the prosecution had completed its case, the military judge, Lt. Col. John Head,
intervened, declared a mistrial and ordered Watada to be retried. [See our report on that trial here.]
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no person shall be "subject for the same offence
to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." As the Supreme Court explained in a seminal 1978 double jeopardy case, United
States v. Scott, "The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence,
is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual
for an alleged offence."
Like the erosion of the right to habeas corpus, the denial of the protection against double jeopardy
represents one more Bush-era encroachment of the all-powerful state on basic human rights and the rule of law.
While the legal arguments about double jeopardy are quite complicated, Watada's lawyers are convinced
their arguments are strong. They wrote in their emergency motion, "This is a remarkably clear case of an egregious violation
of the double-jeopardy clause." Judge Settle's opinion states, "The Court has not been presented any evidence showing that
Petitioner's double jeopardy claim lacks merit. On the contrary, the record indicates that Petitioner's double jeopardy claim
Watada's term of military service was scheduled to expire on December 4, 2006. He has not been discharged,
however, because of the pending court-martial charges against him. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison.
In an October 4 editorial, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer declared, "However the defense appeals turn out, we think there
is a case for letting Watada leave the Army without further ado."
There's no evidence yet that the Army is listening. But Judge Settle's ruling has energized Watada's
supporters. They have formed a new national steering committee with representatives from regions around the country. Michael
Wong, a military resister during the Vietnam era who took much of the initiative to mobilize the current wave of support,
explained in an interview, "We have three demands. The first is to bar the Army from trying Ehren Watada again. The second
is to drop all charges against him. The third is to let him leave with an honorable discharge."
Wong asks peace groups to incorporate Watada's defense in local and national demonstrations and encourages
individuals to write letters to the editor and articles to educate the public about the case. "They had a chance to try him
once. They blew it. The prosecution's case was so weak that declaring a mistrial may have been the only way that Judge Head
could save the Army from humiliation and defeat," he said. "They should just drop the charges and let him go."
San Francisco organizer and lawyer Bill Simpich has been active in both the Iraq Moratorium and the
Watada defense. He is working to make Watada's stand against the war a central theme of the monthly Iraq Moratorium Day October
19. "The Iraq Moratorium and the Watada Support Campaign are moving tightly with plans to get the word out to stop the war
now so soldiers like Lieutenant Watada aren't forced to choose between supporting the Constitution and going to prison," he
Simpich said the signature event of the Iraq Moratorium Day in the Bay Area will be a dramatic end-of-workday
event outside the downtown office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, co-sponsored by the Iraq Moratorium and the Watada Support
Committee. Community events and leafleting at transportation hubs such as BART and CalTrain will also link the Moratorium
and the Watada case.
In Washington, activists plan demonstrations and a counterrecruiting effort outside a Seattle-area
"The US government and military is waging two illegal wars and is actively planning for a third," said
organizer Gerry Condon, referring to increasing hostilities between the United States and Iran. "It is more important than
ever that we support GIs who follow their own consciences and obey international law."
The Watada case is also drawing international attention. Amnesty International issued a statement October
5 warning that a guilty verdict would make Watada "a prisoner of conscience who should be immediately and unconditionally
Watada's case is different from typical conscientious objector cases because the US military recognizes
as conscientious objectors only those who oppose war in any form. Watada did not apply for conscientious objector status because
he said as a soldier he would be willing to fight in a war--unlike Iraq--that was necessary, legal and just.
Amnesty International argues in its statement that the right to refuse to perform military service
for reasons of conscience, thought or religion is protected under international human rights standards, including the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)--treaties that have been
ratified by the United States.
The Watada case has presented a serious challenge to the military. As Daniel Ellsberg put it, "Lt.
Ehren Watada--who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq, which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional
and aggressive war--is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously...his oath."
Despite strong traditions in the military against publicly criticizing the government, more than twenty
retired US generals have criticized the Commander in Chief about Iraq or spoken out against the war. In 2005, five retired
military panelists discussed the war at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Retired Brig. Gen. John Johns told the San Diego
Union-Tribune, "Four out of five of us retired military panelists there said it was a moral duty for us to speak
out in a democracy against policies which you think are unwise." One of the participants, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, said,
"When you feel the country--to its extreme detriment--is going in the wrong direction, and that your views might have some
impact, you have a duty to speak out."
In a video press conference announcing his refusal to deploy to Iraq, Watada noted, "Although I have
tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part
in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order."
While evidence of the war's illegality was barred in Watada's court-martial, his position is grounded
in military law and doctrine. At a National Press Club luncheon February 17, 2006, just a year before Watada's court-martial,
Gen. Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked, "Should people in the US military disobey orders they
believe are illegal?"
Pace's response: "It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that
is either illegal or immoral."
The Army wants to sentence Ehren Watada to six years in the brig for the crime of trying to fulfill
that absolute responsibility.
By Mike Barber, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. October 5, 2007
A federal judge in Tacoma has delayed the court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada,
a Fort Lewis Army officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq.
In a rare intervention of a civilian court in the military justice system, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin
H. Settle granted the emergency stay (PDF) shortly before close of business Friday. Watada's trial,
slated to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, is now postponed until at least Oct. 26, the judge ruled.
In granting the stay at 4:48 p.m., Settle determined that he has jurisdiction under federal law to grant the
stay and that Watada's claim that a second-trial amounts to double jeopardy is not frivolous and "has merit" for consideration.
"The irreparable harm suffered by being put to a trial a second time in violation of the double jeopardy clause
of the Fifth Amendment stems not just from being subjected to double punishment but also from undergoing a second trial proceeding,"
Settle wrote in quoting case law.
Watada's lawyers, Jim Lobsenz and Ken Kagan of the Seattle
firm Carney Badley Spellman, have argued that the circumstances of a mistrial declared in Watada's court-martial in February
result in double jeopardy -- being tried twice for the same charge.
The mistrial was declared over Watada's objections and after a panel of military officers acting as a jury had
heard evidence but not begun deliberatons.
Watada's appeals have been dismissed by the military trial judge and the U.S. Army Court of Appeals. An appeal
was made Sept. 18 to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the highest court in the military justice system.
Lobsenz and Kagen said they were compelled to ask the federal court on Wednesday to stop the court-martial.
Watada's trial approached, and nothing had been heard from the armed forces appeals court. With Monday a federal holiday to
observe Columbus Day, time was even shorter, they said.
Settle indicated at a hearing on Thursday that he might defer to the military appeals court if it made a decision
by Friday, but at close of business Friday, it hadn't ruled.
Because the case being heard in federal court, the U.S. Attorney's Office now is arguing the government position.
Watada publicly refused to go to Iraq
with the 3rd Stryker Brigade in June 2006, contending that the war there is illegal and exposed members of the military to
war crimes. He has been charged with missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer. He could be sentenced to up to six
years in prison if convicted.
Settle has set up a briefing schedule to examine the merits of the double jeopardy argument and how long he
will continue the stay. The government has until Oct. 12 to file its arguments, and Watada's lawyers must reply by Oct. 17.
United States District Court Western District
of Washington at Tacoma
1 LT. EHREN K. WATADA, Petitioner, v. LT. COL. JOHN HEAD, Military Judge, Army Trial Judiciary, Fourth Judicial
District; LT. GEN. CHARLES JACOBY, Convening Authority, Ft. Lewis, Washington, Respondents.
CASE NO. C07-5549BHS
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PETITIONER'S EMERGENCY MOTION FOR A STAY OF COURT MARTIAL PROCEEDINGS
This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner's Emergency Motion for a Stay of Court Martial Proceedings
(Dkt. 2). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the oral arguments
of counsel, and hereby grants the motion for the following reasons.
This court has jurisdiction
over this habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The writ for habeas corpus "is not now and never has been a static, narrow,
formalistic remedy; its scope has grown to achieve its grand purpose -- the protection of individuals agains erosion of their
right to be free from wrongful restraints upon their liberty." *Peyton v. Rowe*, 391 U.S. 54, 66 (1968). Habeas petitions are available to members of the armed services
who are not seeking a discharge from the military as part of their claims. *Glazier v. Hackel*, 440 F.2d 592 (9th Cir.
1971); *Bratcher v. McNamara*, 448 F.2d 222 (9th Cir. 1971). Petitioner alleges that the restraint on liberty he is being
subjected to is a court martial proceeding that would violate his Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy. Dkt.
1 at 9. The Supreme Court of the United States
has held that being required to appear for trial is sufficient to show custody over an individual for habeas purposes. *Justices
of Boston Municipal Court v. Lydon*, 466 U.S.
294, 300-301 (1984).
As a general rule, where members of the armed forces file habeas petitions seeking relief from
the military's wrongful restraint of liberty, federal civilian courts should not entertain such petitions until all available
remedies within the military court system have been exhausted. *Noyd v. Bond*, 395 U.S. 683, 693 (1969). Petitioner's habeas petition asks this Court to determine
issues that have also been placed before the military trial court, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and the United States Court for the Armed Forces. Dkt. 2 at 2. Both
the military trial court and the Army Court of Criminal Appeals have denied Petitioner's claims. Id. On October 5, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces issued an
order denying Petitioner's claims. Dkt. 7 at 4-6. As of the date of this Order, Petitioner has exhausted his available military
court remedies with respect to his double jeopardy claim that forms the basis of his habeas petition. This Court my therefore
rightfully entertain the instant habeas petition.
II. REQUIREMENT OF STAY
Having decided that Petitioner has
exhausted his military court remedies with repsect to the double jeopardy claim, thereby affording the Court jurisdiction
over the habeas peitition, the Court must now determine whether a stay of the second military court martial proceeding is
justified. The Double Jeopardy Clause "not only protects an individual against being subjected to double punishment but also
is a guarantee against being twice put to trial for the same offense." *Abney v. U.S.*,
43 U.S. 651, 652 (1977). The Supreme Court
held in *Abney* that for a criminal defendant to "enjoy the full protection of the Clause, his double jeopardy challenge to
the indictment must be reviewable before the subsequent exposure occurs." Id.
The rule articulated in *Abney* applies to the instant matter if Petitioner's double jeopardy claim is meritorious
or not frivolous. *United States v.
Claiborne*, 727 F. 2d 842, 850 (9th Cir. 1984). The Court has not been presented any evidence showing that Petitioner's double
jeopardy claim lacks merit. On the contrary, the record indicates that Petitioner's double jeopardy claim is meritorious. "[A]
defendant raising a meritorious *Abney*-type claim -- asserting a valid, constitutional 'right not to be tried' -- would be
irreparably harmed if the trial court continued to proceed to trial prior to the disposition of the appeal." Id. at 850. The Irreparable harm suffered by being put to tria a second time in violation
of the Double Jeopardy Claus of the Fifth Amendment stems not just from being subjected to double punishment but also from
the harm of undergoing a second trial proceeding. *Abney*, 431 U.S.
660 at 661. Having preliminarily decided that Petitioner's double jeopardy claim is not frivolous, a stay of the military
court martial is justified.
The Court concludes, as a preliminary matter, that it has jurisdiction
over the habeas petition and that Petitioner's double jeopardy claim is not frivolous. The pending court martial proceeding
scehduled to begin on October 9, 2007 should be preliminarily stayed. The Court recognizes that these issues are raised on
an emergency motion and that the parties have not yet had the opportunity to provide full briefing. The government should
be afforded the right to respond and Petitioner should be permitted to reply to that response.
The Court further notes
that the issues raised by the petition for habeas corpus bear no relation to the charges or defenses in Petitioner's court
martial proceedings. The habeas petition concerns only the alleged violation of Petitioner's Fifth Amendment right to be free
from double jeopardy. This is an issue concerning Petitioner's individual constitutional right to be free from being subjected
to two trial proceedings concerning the same offense and is completely unrelated to the underlying claims addressed by the
military trial court.
Therefor, it it hereby
ORDERED that Petitioner's Emergency Motion for
a Stay of Court Martial Proceedings (Dkt. 2) is GRANTED in part. Respondents are enjoined from holding the court martial proceeding
referred to by Respondent Jacoby. This stay is preliminary and shall remain in place until October 26, 2007, or until further
order of the Court.
It is further ORDERED that Respondents are to file a repsonse to Petitioner's Emergency Motion
for a Stay of Court Martial Proceedings on or before October 12, 2007; Petitioner is to file a reply to Respondents' response
by October 17, 2007; and the motoin is RENOTED for consideration on October 19, 2007.
5th day of October, 2007.
[Signed] BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District
The follwing article has been updated as of 10/6 see above
Mike Wong, of Veterans for Peace, and many others from around the region and West
Coast are planning to have a presence/protest/rally next week on Tuesday, October 9 at the new court marshal of Lt. Ehren
Watada at Ft. Lewis. Jeff Patterson, of Courage to Resist, who helped to organize much of the work last year has suggested
a good plan for those of us in the Olympia area. Please read his suggestions and other planned action below.
Support Lt. Watada
ALL DAY at I-5 exit 119 From Olympia: car pool at 6:30AM from the usual
location of Harrison and Division.
Seems like we all have been
working to support Lt. Ehren Watada--often in our own ways--for quite some time now. Who could have imagined that 16 months
after Ehren challenged us to use his case to highlight an illegal war, he is still awaiting justice-or more likely, injustice?
The Army officially announced today that the retrial is on for Tuesday-yes, next week! Below is the official media
advisory. According to the Army, any media requests for access to the trial need to be in their hands by tomorrow at
4:30pm. Those crazy smart bastards!
Many of you have probably seen Michael Wong's ( email@example.com) recent call to action in support of Lt. Watada. If not, I quote extensively from his call in
the action alert Courage to Resist sent to our national list last night, "Despite Constitution, Army moving against Lt.
Watada." Mike is a member of the Watada Support Committee and Veterans for Peace is working hard to mount a public
response on such short notice. http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/448/1/
To friends in the Ft. Lewis area, I'd like to propose an adhoc call for people to both gather
at Gate 119 during the day, and to attend the trial if possible. I'd suggest a morning vigil (7-9am) and an afternoon rally
(4-6pm) at Gate 119--just start spreading the word, and who shows up, shows up. Tell people to bring their own signs and banners,
make sure someone brings a bullhorn, and we're ready to go. It's make a good visual for the media coverage, and represents
the fact that we have not "forgotten" about Ehren.
Suggested slogans, messaging might include: * Thank you Lt. Watada for
Refusing Illegal War! * Help End the War--Support GI Resisters! * All Troops Home Now
Because of the
short notice, Courage to Resist will likely not have an organized presence at Ft. Lewis (I will not be able to make personally
either), but I wanted to offer this up in case it may be of help. If persons already have plans underway, super!--just let
me know so that we can help spread the word. If folks run with any of these suggestions, there is no need to "credit"
any of this info to me, Courage to Resist, etc.--just want to see something happen. As Mike Wong notes, "Do whatever the hell
Attached are the original "Refuse Illegal War -
Thank You Lt. Watada" posters if of use to anyone.
Jeff Paterson < firstname.lastname@example.org> Courage to Resist and Veterans for Peace Ch 69
FORT LEWIS, Wash. -The General Court-Martial
case of U.S. vs. 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on October 9.
1st Lt. Watada is charged
with one charge of missing movement, and one charge, with four specifications, of conduct unbecoming an officer.
The maximum punishment is dismissal and confinement for six years.
From Mike Wong Hi
New update. We definitely are moving! Michael McPherson (national exec. director of VFP) has forwarded my mass
email to the VFP list, so the whole organization got it. Carolyn Ho has been forwarding my email as well. I'm getting emails
from folks around the country who got my email forwarded to them, they all will do whatever they can locally. My deepest thanks
to everyone who responded. Some activists are getting my email multiple times from different contacts, so the email is really
getting around. I got calls from Jeremy Brecher of "The Nation" online edition, and Margaret Prescott of KPFK in Los Angeles.
Jeremy will do an article and get it on the "The Nation" website this week. Margaret Prescott will do a radio show on this
tomorrow (Tuesday) morning between 7 to 8 am that will include one of Ehren's lawyers, Col. Ann Wright (She is an inspiring
leader - check out her story at: link to en.wikipedia.org and clicking on "Listen" in the upper right hand corner. The Watada folks in LA are up and running, they
got the KPFK person involved.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a press conference scheduled for Monday,
October 8, at 10 a.m. at Portsmouth Square In San Francisco's Chinatown. At least three of us will be driving up to Ft. Lewis
for the court martial. We are also trying to put together a second event for Oct. 9, the day of the court martial.
James Yee has offered his support. I have his book, and his is an incredible story. Check out his story at: link to en.wikipedia.org .
In the Ft. Lewis area, Cindy Domingo of the Watada campaign in Seattle, and Gerry Condon, an
old friend from Veterans for Peace and Viet Nam war resister/deserter, have agreed to take the lead in organizing events around
the new court martial. Gerry sent out the following Alert for the Ft. Lewis area:
Mobilize for Watada Court Martial, Tues. Oct. 9 Date: Oct 3, 2007 3:09 AM
Friends of Ehren Watada,
Many of you know my friend, Mike Wong, of the Watada Support Committee in San Francisco.
Yesterday he sent out an urgent action alert Apparently, the Army plans to go ahead with Ehren Watada's court martial next
Tuesday, Oct. 9, despite the fact that his appeal of the Army's ruling on double jeopardy has not yet been decided. OR, it
is also possible that the Army will postpone his court martial, possibly at the last minute. The Watada Campaign in the Puget
Sound area seems pretty demobilized. Cindy Dominguez and Nadine Shiroma, two of the Seattle coordinators, say they have not
been able to talk to Ehren recently and that his lawyers have not returned their calls.
Cindy Dominguez said that
Ehren told her earlier to go ahead and do whatever needed to be done, and not to look to him to be involved in guiding support
actions. He is reportedly being watched very closely.
Mike Wong suggested that I take the lead in getting the word
out to begin mobilizing folks in the Puget Sound area. Cindy Dominguez said this was fine with her - that she was not in a
position to do so. She asked that we keep her informed. She insisted that all actions should be nonviolent and legal, and
that there be no civil disobedience.
This is an urgent call for help. We need some collective leadership and a division
of labor. In particular, I encourage those of you who have been involved with past Watada mobilizations to step up to the
plate. You know who you are.
I am busy responding to another war resister emergency in British Columbia. Robin Long,
who is AWOL from the U.S. Army, was arrested by police in Nelson, BC yesterday. His request for refugee status had been turned
down and he had received an order to depart from Canada. He is now being held at the Vancouver International Airport and a
hearing has been scheduled in Vancouver tomorrow morning at 11 am. Canadian authorities seem determined to deport him quickly.
The War Resister Support Campaign in Canada has launched an emergency effort to halt his deportation. Demonstrations will
take place on Wednesday morning in downtown Vancouver and Toronto. People in the U.S. are also being asked to contact the
For more information on both of these emergency responses, please check out Courage
To Resist's current action alert, www.couragetoresist.org
Until we hear otherwise, we must operate on the assumption that the Army will court martial Ehren Watada,
beginning on Tuesday, October 9. Based on our experience of his first court martial, we should expect it to go on for two
or three days.
Our challenge, to quote Mike Wong, is to "just do whatever the hell you can do with whomever is willing
to do it with you." We must let the Army and the world know that we have not forgotten Ehren Watada. We must demonstrate
that we will defend all soldiers who stand up and say no to illegal, immoral wars.
What needs to be done? We must
mobilize folks to show up at Fort Lewis next Tuesday. We should have a presence outside the gates on Tuesday morning. We should
attend the court martial. We should probably have a rally at Fort Lewis on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.
of Courage To Resist, who was very involved with the mobilization for the February court martial, sends the following advice,
complete with maps:
As for Ft. Lewis, just pick a time for a morning vigil (7-9am) and an afternoon rally (4-6pm)
at Gate 119 on Oct. 9th and start spreading the word. People will pick up on that quickly. Tell people to bring their own
signs and banners, make sure someone brings a bullhorn, and you are all set. If people want to attend the trial, be at
Gate 120 by 7:30am (assuming a 9:00am start). Here are the maps with info we did for the Feb. events:
Aside from showing up at Fort Lewis, what else can we do? What about
folks who can't make it to Fort Lewis but want to show their support? There could be morning pickets at Federal Buildings.
We could start writing letters to the editors of local papers. Perhaps some of you will have more creative ideas. People should
feel free to act on their own or with their own groups.
On Friday, a pretrial hearing was held at FortLewis in the U.S. Army's second attempt
to court-martial Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq
in June 2006. Lt. Watada continues to argue that the Iraq war is illegal
under U.S. and international law. During
the first court martial in February, after over a thousand anti-war protesters gathered at the gates of FortLewis, military judge Lt. Col. John Head
orchestrated a mistrial in order save the prosecutions weak showing prior to defense arguments. Now, this same judge plans
on presiding over a new trial. Last week Judge Head ruled in support of himself, twice. First, Head claimed that he could
be impartial claiming beyond credibility that he does not have an "intractable attitude or preconceived notions". Second,
he ruled that a new trial again wouldn't violate Lt. Watada’s constitutional right not to be prosecuted twice for the
same crime, known as double jeopardy.
The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a partial stay in the court martial that remains in effect.
While pretrial proceedings have been allowed to go forward, no court-martial can take place until the partial stay is lifted.
If the current partial stay is lifted in time for the scheduled July 23 court martial, it is likely that the Federal Court
of Appeals would step in to review the issue of double jeopardy.
During the pre-trial hearing, it came to light that Judge Head's supervisor sent the judge an e-mail in February
indicating she believed the mistrial did not create double-jeopardy issues and that a second court-martial could move forward.
Lt. Watada’s new attorneys, Kenneth Kagan and James Lobsenz Kagan said the e-mail suggested there was pressure on Judge
Head to rule a certain way.
Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, who was Lt. Watada's defense lawyer until March, said
yesterday he wasn't surprised by the outcome of the pretrial hearing. "I would expect they (the
appeals court) would take the issues far more seriously than Judge Head is capable of doing. I would never expect
Judge Head to reverse himself but would certainly expect the Appellate Court to do that," Seitz said. "He was not the most
competent judge I've met in my life."
Lt. Watada’s father Robert Watada remarked to the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper, "My own assessment
is that it (the military court proceeding) was very much like a Salem
witch trial. We fully expected this." If the court martial is allowed to proceed, Robert Watada noted that it would probably
be in October.
State anti-war organizers again subpoenaed by Army
Subpoenaed activist Phan Nguyen
Although few expect the Army to be able to retry Lt. Watada July 23-28 as they plan, the Army has again subpoenaed
regional anti-war organizers to take the stand against Lt. Watada. Late last week, Seattle Veterans for Peace organizers Gerri
Haynes and Tom Brookhart were re-subpoenaed to “verify remarks Lt. Watada made to the VFP National Convention last August.”
Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace activist Phan Nguyen was re-subpoenaed by the prosecution to explain how Lt. Watada’s
initial June 7, 2006 press conference in Tacoma, Washington
Subpoenas delivered to activists last week read: "Enclosed is a copy of the travel order and subpoena for your
production as a government witness in the court martial U.S.
v. Watada. The trial is scheduled to take place from 23-28 July 2007. As the travel order states, the government will reimburse
you for your mileage for all trips made to and from your place of residence to FortLewis, plus $40.00 a day attendance fees."
Last February, Oakland, California
based journalist Sarah Olson made national news by voicing her objection to being subpoenaed, along with Honolulu Star Bulletin
writer Greg Kakesako, by the prosecution. Sarah Olson declared, “A member of the press should never be placed in the
position of aiding a government prosecution of political speech. This goes against the grain of even the most basic understanding
of the First Amendment’s free press guarantees and the expectation of a democracy that relies on a free flow of information
and perspectives without fear of censor or retribution.” The military has not delivered subpoenas to either journalist.
On July 5, Watada supporters rallied and held a die-in at the San
that was widely covered by the San Francisco Bay Area press.
Important content of this article provided by Mark Jensen of United
for Peace of Pierce County, Washington.
The Army refiled charges yesterday against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the Kalani High School graduate whose refusal to deploy
to Iraq and a war he deemed illegal gained international attention and served as a rallying point for the antiwar effort.
The charges, filed in Fort Lewis, Wash., come after a military judge declared a mistrial earlier this month in Watada's
Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, said he was "surprised" the Army refiled the exact same charges and said he would try to
have the charges thrown out as a violation of the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy.
Throughout the proceedings leading up to the mistrial, Army prosecutors made so many mistakes that "the military appellate
courts would not let a conviction stand."
"I think the Army has made so many bad mistakes in this case that the chances of them having a successful outcome are very
slim," said Seitz, speaking from his Honolulu office yesterday.
"This case is such a mess, it doesn't make any sense for us to go forward. As far as I'm concerned they (Army prosecutors)
are really behaving irrationally and recklessly, and I love it."
Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek said double jeopardy did not apply in this case because the first trial was never completed.
"We're back to square one," Fort Lewis spokeswoman Leslie Kaye said.
The March 19 court date set by the judge following the mistrial will be reset, Seitz said.
Watada is charged with one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. The latter charge
accuses him in four instances of making public statements criticizing the war or President Bush.
Watada claims the war is illegal and he would be party to war crimes if he followed orders to deploy.
Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate, faces two years in prison on a charge of missing a troop movement, and two
years imprisonment on two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for his public statements.
In addition to prison time, Watada also faces the possibility of a dishonorable discharge.
Watada refused to go to Iraq last June with his Fort Lewis Stryker brigade after conducting research and deciding the war
He said he would have been willing to serve in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Watada, 28, is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment orders to Iraq.
Lt. Col. John Head's decision to call off the court-martial in its third day came as Watada stood ready to take the stand
in his own defense.
The 28-year-old artillery officer hoped to convince a panel of seven fellow Army officers that he had good reasons for
missing the flight that took his unit to war and for then speaking out against the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.
Army prosecutors reluctantly requested the mistrial after Head threw out the basis for the Army's case.
From Thank You Lt Watada's Website I bring you this:
Army's Iraq war objector
Gene Johnson, Associated Press Writer, Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
Feb 23, 2007
SEATTLE -- The Army refiled charges Friday
against a lieutenant who refused to serve in Iraq, about two weeks after his first court-martial was declared a mistrial.
First Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, who refused to
deploy with his unit last June, faces the same allegations he initially faced - missing movement and conduct unbecoming an
officer - and could be sentenced to a dishonorable discharge and six years in prison if convicted. The Army has not set a
date for a second court-martial.
"We're back to square one," Fort Lewis spokeswoman
Leslie Kaye said.
Watada's first trial began early this month
but ended abruptly when the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, said he did not believe the soldier fully understood a pretrial agreement
he signed admitting elements of the charges. As part of that agreement, the Army dropped two of the charges against him, lowering
his potential sentence to four years.
Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, said he would
seek to have the charges dismissed as a violation of the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy.
"When it's not going well for you, you can't
just call a mistrial and start over again," Seitz said. "No matter how much lip service they give to wanting to protect my
client's rights, that just doesn't exist in the military courts."
Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek said double
jeopardy did not apply in this case because the first trial was never completed.
Watada faces one charge of missing movement
and another of conduct unbecoming of an officer. The latter charge accuses him in four instances of making public statements
criticizing the war or President Bush.
Watada freely admitted missing the deployment
and making the statements in the pretrial agreement. Before the mistrial was declared, he had planned to take the witness
stand to argue that his motives were to avoid committing war crimes by participating in an illegal war.
Write to General Dubik at FortLewis.
Use your own words and include this message:
Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik,
I urge you to drop all charges against Lt. Watada and to respect
the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy by not attempting to court martial him again. I also urge you to allow Lt.
Watada to resign; he has now completed his initial service agreement with the Army.
Commanding General Fort
Lewis and I Corps Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik Bldg 2025 Stop 1 Fort Lewis, WA 98433
Fax: Fort Lewis Public Affairs Office (253) 967-0612 Phone: General
Dubik's Aide 253-967-0022 and E-Mail Army Public Affairs: Mr. Paul Boyce, Office
of the Chief Army Public Affairs, Paul.Boyce@hqda.army.mil
Educate your community by writing to the editor of your local newspaper -
You can choose one or more
of these talking points to help increase public understanding of Lt. Watada's mistrial and why he should be allowed to resign.
Click here for more information.
1. An officer
does not swear to blindly obey the orders of the commander in chief.
officer does not take the same oath as an enlisted person.
person swears to obey the orders of the president and officers above them.
An officer swears
to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign or domestic" and "bear true faith and allegiance to the same," i.e., the Constitution.
2. Lt. Watada
followed military protocol and went to his chain of command before going public with his statement. Lt. Watada followed
protocol and advice from the affairs officer at FortLewis before making his public statement on June 7, 2006.
are taught to be critical thinkers. Whether their conclusions are right or wrong, it is their duty and right to question orders.
Swain, of US Military Academy, West Point, was called by the prosecution as an expert in
officership and traditions and customs of officers. Swain testified that he teaches officers to be critical thinkers,
and they should think for themselves.
outlined the professional conduct for an officer who disagrees with a commanding officer. According to the testimony
of his commanding officers, Lt. Watada followed proper procedures.
4. Lt. Watada's
actions have not affected the morale of his company. Lt. Col. Williams James and Lt. Antonia of FortLewis both testified that Lt. Watada's
actions caused discussion and controversy. Lt. Antonia said that Lt. Watada's actions did not negatively impact the
soldiers in his unit.
5. The army
court martial was not a fair and impartial trial.
In a letter
dated October 20, 2006 to U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii,
Lt. General Dubik stated that the military justice system "affords Soldiers extensive rights to ensure fair and impartial
investigations and trials, just as in the civil system. If this case goes to trial, 1Lt Watada will have an opportunity
to present all relevant evidence."
the pre-trial hearing and the court martial were intended to prevent Lt. Watada and others from testifying regarding the legality
of the Iraq War. This prevented Lt. Watada from presenting any defense witnesses.
6. The mistrial
places Lt. Watada in double jeopardy if a new trial is recommended by General Dubik. The judge's abuse of judicial discretion
and the mistrial that resulted have created a situation of double jeopardy should the government attempt to re-try Lt. Watada.
It's time for the army to accept Lt. Watada's resignation. Lt. Watada has conducted himself with honor and courage. It's time
for the U.S. Army to do the same.
Lt. Watada's court martial came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday,
February 7th, when the military judge nullifed the Stipulation of Facts accepted by the prosecution and the defense a week
before the trial commenced. Over the objection of Lt. Watada's defense attorney, the judge granted the prosecution's motion
for a mistrial.
The army has announced
March 19, 2007
as the new trial date.
However, according to Eric Seitz, Lt. Watada's attorney, "The mistrial is very
likely to have the consequence of ending this case because double jeopardy may prevent the government from proceeding with
was certainly for good reason. His court room is not usually the focus of national and international media. He has probably
never had a defense lawyer challenge his dubious actions and correct him on matters of court martial procedures.
defendant usually doesn’t have a thousands supporters rallying at the fort gates, and tens of thousands more writing
letters and holding vigils. And the prosecution’s subpoenas are not usually condemned by the nations largest journalistic
advocacy organizations. In fact, it was the “stipulation of facts” agreement written by the prosecution in order
to side-step the controversy subpoenas of journalists that played an important role in Judge Head’s mistrial.
The judge repeatedly tried to shake Lt. Watada's insistence that he reasonably believed that he was following an
illegal order, all the while insisting that he wasn't trying to mislead him in any way. Lt. Watada again respectfully but
firmly punctuated his remarks with his state of mind.
Unsuccessful in his apparent effort to derail the defense,
the judge then claimed that "I'm not seeing we have a meeting of the minds here," Head said. "And if there is not a meeting
of the minds, there's not a contract."
Any fair-minded review of this case will reveal that the defense was doing far better than anyone had expected; that
Lt. Watada had protected his rights at every turn; and that the judge was scared of letting this case go to any factfinder
who had any chance of being fully informed of Lt. Watada's belief that the war in Iraq is illegal.
About 32 minutes into this
video is where there is a key issue about Soliders and war resisting
"When Democracy comes alive"
When solider refuse to fight
And resisting and dserting is done
He talks about all this and more
About 11 minutes into the clip Mr
"hits the nail on the head again"
THIS IS A MUST HEAR (SEE) VIDEO by HOWARD ZINN
* Power in People *
“The rule of law does not do away with the unequal distribution
of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such calculated
and indirect ways as to leave the victim bewildered.”
Howard Zinn was born in Brooklyn, New York, into a working-class
family and, though he had few formal educational opportunities, he developed a strong social consciousness while working as
a shipfitter and avidly reading the novels of Charles Dickens. Flying bombing missions in World War II shaped his opposition
to war. After military service he earned a doctorate in history at Columbia University and taught at Spelman College in Georgia
where he was active in the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 he moved to Boston University and became a prominent, outspoken
critic of the Vietnam War.
Best known for his A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (1980, revised
1995), a history of America through the perspective of “those outside of the political and economic establishment,”
Zinn remains an active advocate for the underclass, a proponent of world peace and an articulate critic of corporate power
and greed supported by governmental collusion.
“We need new ways of thinking,” says Zinn. “We need
to rethink our position in the world. We need to stop sending weapons to countries that oppress other people. We need to decide
that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always
indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.”
can not be secure by limiting our liberties, as some of our political leaders are demanding, but only by expanding them…We
should take our example not from the military and political leaders shouting ‘retaliate’ and ‘war’
but from the doctors and nurses and … firemen and policemen who have been saving lives in the midst of mayhem, whose
first thoughts are not violence, but healing, and not vengeance, but compassion.”