|I just received the following email from my dear friends and fellow core support team members of Ehren Watada . |
ALL are invited to come join us next Monday evening.
| Dear Robin- |
The second court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a Fort Lewis U.S. Army officer who refused to go to Iraq with his unit a year ago, has been rescheduled to Oct. 9. He faces the same judge that declared the first court martial a mistrial. Trying him again is double jeopardy and the ongoing appeal process should be completed before this second trial proceeds.
Join us in a candlelight vigil on Monday, October 8th at 5:30 pm on the corner of South Alameda Street and East First Street in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo.
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress
Monday, October 8th 5:30 pm
South Alameda Street & East First Street
We are all so used to calling Ehren "First Lieutenant" but we just found out two weeks ago that Ehren has been promoted to Captain. Yes you read that correctly, the promotion was given to him because of time served and his impecable record. Because all of us thought the court marshal would surely be postponed due to his appeals case, no arrangements were made for us all to go up there this time. The judge has REFUSED up til now to postpone the trial, he also refused double jeopardy, stating that the military has "different rules" and he also refused to recuse himself as the judge this time also.
If I might ask anyone reading here, please go to Ehren's website and sign the petition in support of him. Ehren Watada has NOT received justice, and that is just all there is to it. Case closed.
If you cannot join us that night or you are in a different city, please consider holding your own vigil and maintaining a state of deep prayer, that Ehren does NOT go to prison for his brave stance in refusing illegal war.
Ehren Watada is a TRUE American hero who would NOT serve this insanity.
By Courage to Resist. October 2, 2007
The Army appears ready to retry First Lt. Ehren Watada a week from now—Tuesday, October 9—at Fort Lewis, Washington. As scheduled, the retrial will be heard by the same military judge that orchestrated the February mistrial in order to give the prosecution a “do-over” after they rested their case against the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Supporters of Lt. Watada and GI resisters are being urged to take action to highlight double jeopardy outrage!
Michael Wong, a member of the Watada Support Committee and Veterans for Peace, is working hard to mount a public response.
Mike Wong states:
Friends and allies around the country are being encouraged to hold teach-ins, demonstrations, press conferences (if you have lawyers who can address the double jeopardy issue, please have them speak), write letters to the editors, anything you can do, on the weekend prior to October 9 and/or on the day of.
Members of Veterans for Peace and other supporters in the Pacific Northwest are planning to again converge at the gates of Fort Lewis on October 9—even if in smaller numbers than the thousand person rally for Lt. Watada and GI resisters during the first trial in February. Supporters are again planning on attending the court martial on Fort Lewis by arriving early at the main gate.
Army Col. Ann Wright, one of Lt. Watada’s attorneys, and supporters appeared this morning on KPFK Radio Los Angeles to talk about the case and upcoming actions.
Ehren's parents, Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi, and Carolyn Ho will be again be attending the court martial, along with supporters traveling from at least as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob Watada believes that “The Army wants Ehren sent to prison, no matter what. No matter the constitution or double jeopardy.” It’s hard to argue with him.
Mike Wong explains:
"There can be no question that the military judge acted precipitously and abused his discretion," explained Lt. Watada attorney James Lobsenz.
Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, who was Lt. Watada's defense lawyer during the mistrial, said in July, "I would expect they (the appeals court) would take the issues [of double jeopardy] 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."
However, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington, Virginia deferred in its decision to Judge Head, and the next of level of appeals—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces—appears content to simply sit back and watch what happens without taking action.
Army again subpoenas anti-war activists
The Army again subpoenaed regional anti-war organizers to take the stand against Lt. Watada. Back in July, 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.”
The remarks in question included:
Understandably, Lt. Watada is currently not making public statements in order to avoid additional charges being "piled on" by the Army.
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 was organized.
These subpoenas 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 Fort Lewis, 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.” In an interesting twist to the trial replay, the military has opted not deliver subpoenas to either journalist.
“Do whatever the hell you can”
Mike Wong sums up the situation, “Plans are being thrown together at the last minute, and as of now I can't tell you exactly what will happen or what plans different peace groups might develop. Basically we are all flying by the seat of our pants and I would say to everyone everywhere, just do whatever the hell you can do with whomever is willing to do it with you.”
For more information: www.thankyoult.org