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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 7) - "Justice prevailed today as Lt. Watada's court martial was declared a mistrial," said Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
"The court improperly denied Lt. Watada's right to a defense by blocking him from explaining why he believes the war in Iraq is illegal," Kucinich said. "Procedural decisions by the court have effectively denied Lt. Watada the right to engage in a protected activity -- freedom of speech.
By David Swanson
Is the Army incompetent or fed-up with Bush? If you said both, you win the grand prize. And Lt. Ehren Watada may just have won his freedom. Barbara Cummings just phoned me from outside the court to say they'd ended in a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for March 19th at 4 p.m. The mistrial is the result, she was told, of the Army closing its case yesterday and then trying to introduce something new today. There's a prevalent rumor, she said, that the Army will not go through with the new trial. But a rumor is only a rumor, and it's possible the Army fully intends to press its case and try to do a better job of it.
This fits with reports of how well the trial has been going for Watada, but the question remains: did the Army cause a mistrial on purpose? The reports are that the prosecutors requested a mistrial. So, the question is really: why?
In any event, Watada has already set an example for others, and it seems reasonable to hope that this result will help boost the number of men and women who find the nerve to follow his example.
The AP and Reuters stories below give a slightly different account of the mistrial from Barbara's. The News Tribune article below sheds some light. It appears Watada's case has been strengthened and the Army's key evidence thrown out. That would appear to give some plausibility to the rumor that the Army will drop the case.
Barbara Cummings just called from outside the Watada court martial to say that a woman who was inside came out and said a mistrial is possible. Apparently the Army rested its case yesterday and then continued its case this morning, which - I guess - is not allowed. Barbara also reported on some speculation that the Army might be so fed up with Bush that it's intentionally aiming for a mistrial.
By Mary Francis
I am at Ft. Lewis at the Lt. Watada trial. I was in the courtroom today and WE KICKED ASS!!! Here's a little update. Feel free to share.
The prosecutors are 2 young (35?) guys up against Lt. Watata's atty, Eric Seitz who has 40 years of experience in military law defending war resisters and COs ... Seitz is OUTSTANDING!!!!!
The prosecution called 3 witnesses and then after cross and recross,
By Bill Simpich and Scott Galindez, t r u t h o u t
Ft. Lewis, Washington - On the second day of the court-martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada, it seemed at times that the prosecution witnesses were really defense witnesses.
The day began with opening statements. The prosecution laid out the following charges:
Charge I: Violation of the UCMJ, Article 87
By Bill Rau for www.consumersforpeace.org
Washington, D.C., February 5, 2007
The arrests started just five minutes after people entered Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) office in the Senate Office Building. The first of a planned three-month series of occupations of U.S. legislators’ offices was designed to demand specific action to quickly end the U.S. war in and occupation of Iraq.
IRAQ VETERAN DENNIS KYNE: "AIN'T GOING' BACK AGAIN"
IRAQ WAR VETERAN DARRELL ANDERSON: "DIE FOR YOUR WAR -- TELL ME"
LT. EHREN WATADA RALLY, VET AND FOLKSINGER FROM PORTLAND
By Barbara Cummings
They lined the freeway ramps and covered the bridge in front of Ft. Lewis as well as all the surrounding sidewalks. The organizers did a fabulous job. Everything went off exactly as planned. Buses arrived and were greeted as they off loaded their passengers. There was food and plenty of portas.
I have never seen anywhere else the opposing group in the same space. I feared someone would fall off the bridge as they kept trying to hoist their signs higher and further out than ours.
We also noted some of the signs they had were carried by children and were just gross. One had what appeared to be a fat Black man in a cell waiting for Ehern with a jar of Vaseline. I talked to the kid and he told me all about his CHURCH and his family. I really wanted to find out what church advocated sticking something in someone's anus and approved of physical harm. He refused to tell me where his church was. I also asked him if his mom would be proud of that sign and he said, yep, you probably already guesed, SHE MADE IT!
Good day in court. The defense was brilliant and if the judge has not already made up his mind, should pull off a miracle. We should have a big crowd again as Ehren is due to testify today.
By Norman Solomon, www.truthout.org
The people running the Iraq War are eager to make an example of Ehren Watada. They've convened a kangaroo court-martial. But the man on trial is setting a profound example of conscience - helping to undermine the war that the Pentagon's top officials are so eager to protect.
"The judge in the case against the first US officer court-martialed for refusing to ship out for Iraq barred several experts in international and constitutional law from testifying Monday about the legality of the war," the Associated Press reported.
I was arrested yesterday, Monday February 5th, along with 10 others in the first of many action of a sustained campaign to end the Iraq War called "The Occupation Project"
Senator McCain was targeted yesterday because he is a staunch supporter of the ongoing occupation of Iraq. The message brought to McCain's Capitol Hill office by Voices For Creative Non-Violence, CodePINK, Veterans For Peace and toher groups was "Stop Funding the War!" Two time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly was among those arrested. The were also coordinated actions at McCain's offices in his homestate of Arizona, as well as other demonstrations nationwide including sit-ins at Barrak Obama's and Dick Durbin's offices in Chicago which resulted in 8 additional arrests.
By Paul Rockwell, AlterNet
This piece originally appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian
It is a sad day in American jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed -- not for lying, but for telling the truth; not for breaking a covenant with the military, but for upholding the rule of law in wartime.
The court-martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada is set for today in Fort Lewis, Wash. The 28-year-old soldier from Hawaii is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. He is charged with "missing movement" and "conduct unbecoming an officer" including the "use of contemptuous words for the President."
By Mike Ferner
From Alaska to Washington, D.C. yesterday, peace activists escalated their tactics and occupied Congressional offices, demanding elected officials vote against George Bush’s request of $93,000,000,000 to extend the war.
The Occupation Project, organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV), kicked off at noon, Eastern Time when four people were arrested holding a funeral service in the Chicago office of Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and four more people were arrested in the Chicago office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), reading names of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers.
Lawyer: War Objector Will Take Stand
By MELANTHIA MITCHELL, Associated Press
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — An Army lieutenant who said he refused to deploy to Iraq because he believes the war is illegal will take the stand in his own defense, his lawyer said.
1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu, is charged with refusing to ship out with his unit and conduct unbecoming an officer for accusing the Army of war crimes and denouncing the administration for conducting an "illegal war" founded on "lies."
By Mike Archbold, McClatchy Newspapers
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Sean Penn hunched alone over his coffee Monday in a Starbucks shop, a stone's throw from the DuPont overpass where supporters of Lt. Ehren Watada held their signs aloft and a much smaller number of foes counter-protested.
The actor had been out there with the Iraq war protesters in the chilly fog, which dampened the air but not their spirits.
Indiana Resident Arrested at Senate Office Building
Hoosier Priest held in connection with political protest
Father Jerome (Jerry) Zawada, of Cedar Lake, IN, was arrested today in a non-violent civil disobedience action at the office of Senator John McCain in Washington D.C.. Father Zawada, 70, a Franciscan Priest was one of ten activists arrested on orders from the Arizona Senator's office today.
Barbara Cummings just called and told me that 3,000 supporters of Ehren Watada are lining the sides of a freeway outside his court martial. I could hear the trucks blowing their horns in support. Barbara said there were about 20 pro-death protesters there displaying nooses and other attractive props.
Declaring Victory Press Conference - Feb 1, 2006 @ National Press Club
Link to full grouping of videos from Sarah Olson's Defend The Press
3 minute overview of event at National Press Club
3 minute video of Watada story and what happened to Sarah Olson
Today, Feb. 5th, is the kickoff day for THE OCCUPATION PROJECT, a new effort initiated by UFPJ member organization, Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The plan is to unfold a campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience aimed at ending the U.S. war in and occupation of Iraq. The campaign begins with occupations at the offices of Representatives and Senators who refuse to pledge to vote against additional war funding.
By Tomas Alex Tizon, Los Angeles Times
Lieutenant tried to resign, requested duty in Afghanistan.
Olympia, Washington - The soldier stands in his living room eyeing all the cool soldier stuff he never got to use in a real war. Such as the helmet with not a single ding and the sleek body armor with not a scuff. The gear piles high on the carpet.
First Lt. Ehren Watada is giving it all back and, out of courtesy, packing it up. The Army had treated him with utmost respect until the moment it decided to court-martial him. It was nothing personal. The Army does what it has to do.
By Lori Perdue
I had the distinct pleasure last night of being witness to a victory far more significant than the Indianapolis Colts winning the Superbowl. That’s really saying something, folks, because I am from Indiana. If I had missed that game I very likely would have not been allowed to return to my quiet home between hay fields.
Busboys and Poets set the stage for this experience with the game on a big screen TV in the Langston Room. We arrived late, with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter and the Colts were up, but barely, after a shaky start.
As Americans, we share common values – values of honesty, compassion, and, whenever possible, non-violence. We also recognize the moral responsibility we have to raise our voices in support of those values when they are under assault.
There is no morality without the willingness to act.
That’s why we are here today.
By Douglas Martin
The New York Times
Dale E. Noyd, who as a decorated Air Force captain and fighter pilot attracted worldwide attention in the 1960s as a conscientious objector who objected to only one war, the one in Vietnam, died Jan. 11 in Seattle. He was 73.
The cause was complications of emphysema, his son, Erik, said.
Mr. Noyd seemed the model serviceman. He was the only member of the 1955 Reserve Officers Training Corps class at Washington State University to be offered a regular, not a reserve, commission. He received a medal for successfully landing a damaged nuclear-armed F-100 fighter at an English airfield. He taught at the Air Force Academy.
Editor's Note: The court-martial of Army First Lt. Ehren K. Watada is set to start Monday, February 5th, at Fort Lewis. Truthout will be there bringing you reports on the proceedings throughout the week. - smg
By Dean Paton
The Christian Science Monitor
Friday 02 February 2007
The first trial of a commissioned officer who refused to deploy to Iraq starts Monday.
Bellevue, Wash. - Carolyn Ho was at her apartment that overlooks Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of Oahu, on another enviable evening of silk-shirt temperatures, when the phone rang. It was New Year's Day 2006. Her son, Ehren, was calling from Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Wash., where he was stationed as an artillery officer in the US Army.
She assumed he was calling to wish her a happy New Year. He had something else on his mind. He told her he was opposed to the war in Iraq and was going to refuse to deploy there. "I was surprised and pretty much went ballistic over it," recalls Ms. Ho. "I tried to talk him out of it."
Watada is First Officer to State Opposition to Iraq War
Boston, Massachusetts – AB Arredondo (aka Carlos Arredondo), father of the late Lcpl. Alexander Arredondo, USMC and younger son Brian, is headed to Washington State to be present at Lt. Ehran Watada’s court martial proceedings.
The court-martial of Army 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada is set for Monday 02/05/2007 near Seattle. The 28-year-old soldier is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. He is charged with "missing movement" and "conduct unbecoming of an officer," including "use of contemptuous words for the president." Watada faces four years in a US military prison if found guilty of charges.
*CUT OFF ALL WAR FUNDS DAY *
New York City - Boston - Detroit - Philadelphia -Los Angeles - Raleigh - Atlanta - Across the U.S.
BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW - Demand that Congress Cut Off ALL War Funding
*S*oon, Congress will vote on Bush's request for more than $100 billion in additional funding for the criminal occupation of Iraq. Congress has the power to stop the war by cutting off war funding. *They cannot hide behind "non-binding resolutions" and hearings--they must stop the war.* They cannot hide behind the claim that they are "supporting the troops" -- voting to fund the war is voting to continue the war, which means more soldiers and Iraqi people will die...
Mon Feb 5, all day, outside Ft Lewis, at I-5 exit 119, see website for details and updates. Tentative schedule of the day: 9 am Court Martial begins, 11:30 am Student Rally with Iraq Veterans Against the War, 1 pm Political Art Performance, 3 pm Rally and Vigil. Court martial. Lieutenant Watada is the courageous army officer who is REFUSING TO FIGHT IN THE ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL IRAQ WAR.