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Friday, September 25, 2009

Ehren Watada FREE From the Military!!

Army to allow Iraq war objector to resign


HONOLULU -- The Army is allowing the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq to resign from the service, his attorney said late Friday.

First Lt. Ehren Watada will be granted a discharge Oct. 2, "under other than honorable conditions," attorney Kenneth Kagan said.

Watada told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin he was happy the matter has finally been closed.

Read further>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Read "Another Miscarriage of Justice in the Case of First Lt. Ehren Watada" (link to my own notes from inside the courtroom of his court martial in February 2007 HERE)

As those who have followed Ehren's case would know, the army tried to retry Ehren but FAILED due to Ehren's Constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

Edit to add (9-26) Gregg Kaseoka of the Honolulu Star has also written an article which can be found HERE. However, I feel I need to add to a portion of the information he wrote in order for people to understand. It concerns this paragraph:

"The Army had been contemplating prosecuting Watada for his anti-war sentiments, citing statements against the war and Bush that were not part of the original court-martial. Watada could have been court-martialed for conduct unbecoming an officer for making those statements.

However, Piek said yesterday, the last two remaining specifications under Article 133, conduct unbecoming an officer, have been dismissed".

The first time Ehren was court martialed, these two charges were originally brought against him (explanation below) They concerned an interview he gave to Sarah Olson (HERE) and the speech he gave at a Veterans for Peace rally which Dahr Jamail, (co-winner with Mohammed Omer last year of the Martha Gellhorn Prize), had transcribed (HERE). The army subpoenaed both Sarah Olson and Dahr Jamail. In an article which can be read in it's entirity HERE, Sarah Olson states:

"Every journalist wants to stand by their reporting," Olson told me. "I am no exception. I am proud of the work I did on the Lt. Watada story." But Olson says the Army's request cuts to the heart of the First Amendment. "The Army is attempting to use me - a journalist -- to build its case against personal political speech. That's something I don't think any journalist can do." And she's not the only one who believes this. The Society of Professional Journalists, the Editorial Staff at the LA Times and PEN American Center have issued statements in support of her position.......

When I asked Olson her greatest concern regarding this subpoena, aside from the possibility of a six month jail term, she recounted her dismay in even getting the story out. "For most people," Olson contended, "if you don't see it in the nightly news on television, how do you know it's happening? You don't." Olson also spoke quite fervently about the invasion of journalist's rights, saying, "If you can't report on controversial subjects for fear of being dragged into court - that threatens our Democracy."

In order to save them from having to testify and to lift their subpoenas or face jail time (first court martial), Ehren stipulated to having made those statements. The army then set those two charges aside "without prejudice" which in legal terms means a "dismissal "without prejudice" allows a new suit to be brought on the same cause of action". So even though he was not charged with these two charges the first time, the military could have do so later. So Ehren did this out of courage to save these two journalists from being drug into court or face jail times themselves. At the time he did this, he knew that these charges could be brought later even if he won in his first trial. This is not the act of a coward as many have called him, this was an act of HONOR and COURAGE.

You did it Ehren, hold your head HIGH. THANK YOU FIRST LT. EHREN WATADA!

June 2006..............................

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