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Honolulu Army Officer Refuses To Report For Duty In Iraq
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harry
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: The Weasel Reply with quote

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/05/br/br8912405376.html

Challenges aired as Watada court-martial begins

By MELANTHIA MITCHELL
Associated Press Writer

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The court-martial for an Army officer who refused to go to Iraq got off to a slow start today as his lawyer challenged the legal proceedings against the soldier.
Proceedings this morning for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu, at this Army base south of Tacoma were taken up by attorney's motions, with the military judge, Lt. Col. John Head, refusing to allow almost all defense witnesses to take the stand. Head had previously ruled that Watada's Honolulu attorney, Eric Seitz, would not have the chance to debate the legality of the Iraq war in court.

Seitz had wished to call on several international and constitutional law experts, but Head agreed with the military that they would be irrelevant in the case.

Watada is charged with one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for statements he made during news conferences and at a veterans' convention last year.

Under a pretrial agreement reached last month, the Army dropped two of the four counts of misconduct in exchange for Watada admitting to making statements to freelance journalist Sarah Olson and Greg Kakesako of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, as well as speeches given last June and August.

If convicted on the remaining charges, Watada could receive four years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. He has requested that his case be heard by a military panel of officers, the equivalent of a jury. It had not yet been selected Monday.

At one point, Seitz suggested Head could be committing judicial misconduct if he denied Seitz an opportunity to ask panel members biographical questions to determine any bias.

"If you are going to tie my hands and you are gong to script these proceedings then in my view we're all wasting our time," Seitz said.

Head said Seitz would be allowed time to question panel members individually.

Last June, Watada refused to go to Iraq with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis. He then publicly discussed his reasons for not deploying, including his belief that the war was both illegal and immoral.

Outside the base, a small group that included actor Sean Penn demonstrated peacefully in support of Watada. A few others demonstrated against him, including one man who carried a sign calling Watada a "weasel" for disobeying an order.

Watada, who joined the Army in March 2003, has called the U.S. occupation of Iraq "not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law."

"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," Watada said in a video statement released at a June 7 news conference.

Charges later filed against the soldier did little to quell his actions. In August, he spoke at a Veterans for Peace rally in Seattle, in which he again criticized the war.

"Though the American soldier wants to do right, the illegitimacy of the occupation itself, the policies of this administration, and the rules of engagement of desperate field commanders will ultimately force them to be party to war crime," Watada said.

Seitz contends Watada's comments are protected speech, but Army prosecutors have argued that Watada's behavior was dangerous to the mission and morale of soldiers in Iraq.

Comment: You know you have attracted the finest people when Sean Penn attends. Did Sean Penn ever don a military uniform, other than in some Hollywood script?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject: Dramatics Extravaganza Reply with quote

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070206/NEWS01/702060345/1001

Court-martial judge forbids law experts Watada court-martial photo gallery

Advertiser Staff and News Services

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The judge trying the first U.S. officer court-martialed for refusing to ship out for Iraq barred several experts in international and constitutional law from testifying about the legality of the war.

First Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu, is charged with missing movement for refusing to ship out with his unit. He also faces charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for accusing the Army of war crimes and denouncing the administration for conducting an "illegal war" founded on "lies."

As his court-martial began, military judge Lt. Col. John Head refused to allow almost all defense witnesses to take the stand. Head previously ruled that Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, could not debate the legality of the Iraq war in court.

If convicted, Watada could receive four years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. He has requested that his case be heard by a military panel of officers, the equivalent of a jury.

The defense and prosecution questioned a pool of 10 officers. Seven were ultimately chosen to sit on the jury.

Today, prosecutors are expected to call at least three witnesses as they try to prove that Watada's speech amounted to misconduct.

Many of the facts are not in dispute. Watada admitted yesterday that he ignored an order to board the June flight that carried his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, to Iraq for a yearlong deployment.

"My intent was to refuse the order, sir," Watada told Head.

He also admitted criticizing the Bush administration's handling of the war, which he has called "morally wrong" and "a horrible breach of American law."

Seitz said he would call Watada and a character witness, an Army captain who has known Watada for about two years. The captain has been brought back from service in Iraq to testify, the lawyer said.

Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq and face court-martial. Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman, an enlisted man, served 13 months in prison and was dishonorably discharged after refusing to go to Iraq in 2005.

Outside the base, a small group that included actor Sean Penn demonstrated in support of Watada. A few others demonstrated against him, including one man who carried a sign calling Watada a "weasel."

Army prosecutors have argued that Watada's behavior was dangerous to the mission and morale of soldiers in Iraq.

"He betrayed his fellow soldiers who are now serving in Iraq," Capt. Dan Kuecker said at one hearing.

Seitz said yesterday that rulings that went against his client in pre-trial motions, including the exclusion of many defense witnesses, rendered the proceedings "almost comical" and at one point called the case "an atrocity."

Seitz had hoped to debate the legality of the war and planned to call constitutional law scholars, a CIA analyst and a former undersecretary of the United Nations, among other witnesses.

"There's really nothing for us to say in this courtroom," he said.

Head told Seitz to "leave the dramatics at the courtroom door."

Representatives from more than 30 media outlets covered the trial — including television stations from Japan and Germany.

Comment: Obviously, Seitz' law experts are the usual peddlers from Manoa Hill that follow events, spewing their versions of the law. And yes, they support the racist Akaka Bill. Affectionately, one could refer to their peddling as "Instant Experts." Whatever support you need, they are available in order to paste their credentials to your case.

By now, most erudite individuals appreciate these experts' lack of value and substance. I believe the US Civil Rights Commission expressed it best: "The worse legal documents that they had ever reviewed."

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: CodePink Hawaii Reply with quote

To All:

http://starbulletin.com/2007/02/06/news/story02.html

Isle demonstrators back GI's refusal

By Mary Adamski
madamski@starbulletin.com

About 40 people displayed their support for Army Lt. Ehren Watada yesterday outside the Prince Kuhio Federal Building.

And their signs mirrored the sentiments of demonstrators outside Fort Shafter Army headquarters and near Fort Lewis, Wash., where his court-martial began yesterday.

There was a hometown feel to the Honolulu "Mahalo Peace Vigil," where some sign-holders said they know the Kalani High School graduate who faces prison for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit.

"Ehren did an Eagle Scout community project at our Kaimuki neighborhood park in the early '90s," said Albert Rich, now a Big Island resident. "I was impressed with him then, and I'm even more impressed with him now."

Rich held one corner of a banner proclaiming, "Thank you Lt. Watada." A few pau hana commuters honked horns in support, and an occasional dissenting shout was heard from passing vehicles.

"I think he's galvanized a lot of people," said Joan Rich, of Honolulu, holding the other banner corner. "He's very brave." She said she and her ex-husband were drawn to demonstrate because of their earlier encounters, when Watada helped develop a view lookout at Mauumae Park on 16th Avenue.

"I'm here to voice my deep concern about the war in Iraq ... about how we got into it, the way it's been conducted and the assumptions the war makes," said the Rev. Wally Fukunaga, a United Church of Christ minister and board member of the Japanese American Citizens League, a sponsor of the demonstration.

The Bush administration puts forth the idea of "military might as a moral authority of some sort," said Fukunaga, whose sign read, "Refuse Illegal War."

University of Hawaii ethnic-studies professor Jon Okamura said that although the judge rejected defense witnesses yesterday who would argue about the legality and constitutionality of the war, the issue will not go away if Watada is convicted.

"I think he knew he was likely to be convicted," Okamura said. "His stand has a much larger significance than whether or not he goes to jail. Look at the long-term effect -- that's what turned the tide in the Vietnam War. Opposition began with students, radicals, but eventually you got the middle class -- mothers -- involved, which didn't seem possible in 1965."

Charlie Luce of Veterans for Peace pointed out that American opposition to the Vietnam war escalated until "Congress finally refused to fund the war."

Mary Ellen Haley of Seattle said she and her husband, David, "backed Ehren even before he was charged." Watada and their son were roommates at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. "We've been marching against war since we were in college in the '60s," said David Haley.

"I think history will be very kind to Lt. Watada," said Karin Gill, of CodePink Hawaii: Women for Peace, which co-sponsored the demonstration. It will be repeated daily during the Watada trial.

Comment: The Japanese American Citizens League sponsored the rally. Well, Watada is a Japanese-American, so I suppose the Japanese-Americans are showing their true colors to the entire nations. I feel sorry for reputation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Watada tarnishes their image.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Watada a Disgrace Reply with quote

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/06/br/br5941273860.html

Army calls Watada a 'disgrace' as court-martial resumes

By MELANTHIA MITCHELL
Associated Press Writer

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada abandoned his soldiers and brought disgrace upon himself and the service when he refused to go to Iraq, Army prosecutors told his court-martial today.

Watada's defense attorney, however, argued that he was acting in his own good conscience, based on his own beliefs and understanding of the war.

The court-martial for the 28-year-old Honolulu native resumed this morning at this base south of Tacoma with opening statements in a case that has drawn national attention.

Watada is charged with missing movement for refusing to ship out with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He also faces charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for accusing the Army of war crimes and denouncing the administration for conducting an illegal war founded on lies.

Military law experts say Watada is the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq.

"To my knowledge, he is," said Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice in Washington, D.C.

If convicted, he could receive four years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

Prosecutors contend that despite a sworn duty to lead his fellow soldiers, Watada refused to deploy June 22 and conducted himself in a manner unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

"He brought disgrace to himself ... and the Army," Capt. Scott Van Sweringen told the court.

Van Sweringen said that by Jan. 1, 2006, Watada had concluded that the Iraq war was illegal, but "rather than quietly accept the consequences of his decision" he publicly declared his intent not to deploy to Iraq.

On June 7, Watada released a video statement at a news conference in Tacoma.

"The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of Iraqis is not only a terrible and moral injustice, but it's a contradiction to the Army's own law of land warfare," Watada said in the video. "My participation would make me a party to war crimes."

On June 22, Watada "sat comfortably in his office" while his soldiers departed for Iraq — "Absent a leader they had trained with. Absent a leader they had trusted," Van Sweringen told a seven-member panel of officers hearing the case.

The panel will hear from three government witnesses, including Watada's battalion commander who has said the soldier told him he intended to conduct a "private protest and didn't intend to make it a public matter," Van Sweringen said.

Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, countered that the young officer had no choice but to go public after the Army refused all his attempts for a solution other than going to Iraq.

Watada has already admitted he didn't get on the plane and that he made the statements in question, Seitz said in opening.

"The question is ... why? What was his intent? How did he comport himself when he made those statements and took action?" Seitz said.

The defense plans to offer just two witnesses. Military judge Lt. Col. John Head yesterday barred several experts in international and constitutional law from testifying about the legality of the war.

Instead Seitz will call on Watada himself, as well as an Army captain who has known Watada for roughly two years.

Watada will have a chance to explain that, after concluding the war to be illegal, he attempted to find an alternative to going to Iraq, including asking that he be transferred to a unit going to Afghanistan and, ultimately, requesting a resignation.

In a Jan. 25, 2006, letter to his commander, Watada wrote that although he felt no less loyal to the U.S. Army, he could not in good conscience carry out the duties that would be expected of him in Iraq, Seitz said.

All requests were denied.

Watada, Seitz contends, never attacked the president or his commanders, and didn't criticize fellow soldiers. "He simply made a statement ... in which he explained how he felt" about the war.

"At most, he engaged in an act or form of civil disobedience," Seitz said. "No way does that add up to conduct unbecoming an officer."

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Betrayal Reply with quote

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/06/br/br5941273860.html

Commander calls Watada's actions a betrayal

By MELANTHIA MITCHELL
Associated Press Writer

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The actions of an Army lieutenant who refused to ship out to Iraq were a betrayal and inconsistent with the behavior of a good officer, one of his commanders told a court-martial today.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Mistrial! Reply with quote

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/07/br/br5016837924.html

Mistrial declared in Watada court-martial

By MELANTHIA MITCHELL
Associated Press Writer

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The judge overseeing the court-martial of an Army lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq declared a mistrial today, saying the soldier did not fully understand a document he signed admitting to elements of the charges.

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head announced the decision after 1st Lt. Ehren Watada said he never intended to admit he had a duty to go to Iraq with his fellow soldiers — one element of the crime of missing troop movement. Head set a March 12 date for a new trial and dismissed the jurors.

Last month, Watada, 28, of Honolulu, signed a 12-page stipulation of fact in which he acknowledged he did not go to Iraq with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, last June. He also acknowledged making public statements criticizing the Iraq war, which he believes to be illegal.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped two charges of conduct unbecoming an officer charges against him, and agreed to proceed to trial on the remaining charges: missing movement — for his refusal to deploy last June — and two other allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer for comments made about the case.

To prove a charge of missing movement, the prosecutors need to show that Watada did not report when he had a duty to do so. The disagreement that prompted the mistrial was about whether Watada admitted missing troop movement and having a duty to report, or only missing troop movement.

"I see there is an inconsistency in the stipulation of fact," the judge said today. "I don't know how I can accept (it) as we stand here now."

Because much of the Army's evidence was laid out in the document, rejecting it would hurt its case, Head acknowledged. He granted the prosecutors' request for a mistrial, which Watada's lawyer opposed.

Comment: College educated and 1stLt Watada contends apparently, that he did not understand that he had the duty to follow an order handed down by his superiors. A conclusion in thinking like this, if upheld, could open up a Pandora's Box of military shortcomings for future cowards.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:47 am    Post subject: Legality of Iraq War Reply with quote

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070208/OPINION02/702080305/1104

WATADA CASE

SOME SHOW A DISTORTED VIEW OF THIS WORLD

Recent letters to the editor in support of Ehren Watada all seem to repeat the same allegations that the Iraq war is both illegal and immoral.

Military action against Iraq's regime was authorized via Public Law 107-243, which was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 296-133 on Oct. 10, 2002, and in the U.S. Senate the following day by a vote of 77-23.

As for its immorality, it is irrational for people who constantly raise the loss of Iraqi lives as evidence of the war's immorality to advocate leaving in power, in perpetuity, at U.S. taxpayer expense a brutal Stalinist dictatorship that by its very nature violently consumed the lives of Iraqi citizens all on its own and which constituted an open-ended security threat to the region and the U.S.

Errors in strategy, tactics or execution are clearly fair game for criticism, but allegations of illegality and immorality reveal a dangerously distorted view of the world.

Thomas M. McCamley
Honolulu

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:50 am    Post subject: Support Troops Reply with quote

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/02/08/editorial/letters.html

Are all other troops war criminals?

To believe that Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is correct and should be acquitted of the charges against him, one must necessarily believe that all those on active duty who did not disobey their orders when tasked to deploy to a combat theater are war criminals.

This is what gives the lie to those who claim to "support our troops, but not the war."


Thomas E. Stuart
Vietnam veteran
Kapaau, Hawaii

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Double-Jeopardy Reply with quote

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/02/09/news/story02.html

Watada trial judge erred, risking case, one expert says

But experts disagree about double jeopardy in court-martial

By Leila Fujimori
lfujimori@starbulletin.com

A local attorney with decades of experience in military justice says the judge in Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's court-martial overstepped his bounds, possibly jeopardizing the government's case against the war objector.

Attorney Earle Partington says military judge Lt. Col. John Head lacked authority to set a new date, March 19, for trial after declaring a mistrial Wednesday, and it could take at least year before the case can go back to trial.

"I'm surprised he thought he could do that," said Partington, who has represented numerous military service members since the 1960s and served in the military in Vietnam. He said the government might have "to start over from scratch."

Partington, who recently represented a Kaneohe Marine in a court-martial, said the judge in that case noted that he could not just reset a trial after declaring a mistrial.

Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate, is being court-martialed for refusing to deploy to Iraq and for conduct unbecoming an officer. Last year, the Fort Lewis, Wash.-based officer announced his refusal to deploy based on his belief that the war in Iraq was illegal.

Head declared a mistrial after questioning Watada over an agreement he signed before the trial started, stipulating certain facts of the case. The judge said he did not believe Watada fully understood the stipulation of fact. Watada said he never intended to admit he had a duty to go to Iraq with his soldiers, part of the crime of missing troop movement.

While Partington thinks the judge erred, another local attorney with decades of experience in military justice disagrees.

Jay Fidell, a U.S. Coast Guard law specialist, former military judge and investigating officer and a retired lieutenant commander, said it was the judge's call and likely is OK.

"It seems to me the government is motivated to try to conclude this matter," he said. "It's been a high-profile matter, and I think the government is interested in putting it to rest and in achieving a precedent that will not undo good order and discipline."

Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, said Wednesday his client cannot be tried again, saying it would have the effect of double jeopardy, or being tried twice for the same charges.

Should the Army go forward with a new trial, Seitz said, he would seek dismissal of the charges with prejudice so they could not be refiled, and would appeal if denied.

Fidell and Partington, who both acknowledged they lacked firsthand knowledge of the details of the proceedings, also disagreed on the issue of double jeopardy.

"I have serious reservations about whether this is a case of double jeopardy," Fidell said.

To have a case of double jeopardy, there must be a case of jeopardy, he said, noting that jeopardy classically "attaches" when trial is over and the accused is acquitted, Fidell said.

"My sense of it is it did not attach here," he said. "It was just not late enough in the proceeding."

But Partington said, "Jeopardy attaches in the military when evidence is offered on the issue of guilt.

"The government presented their case, so jeopardy must certainly attach," he said. The prosecution had rested before the mistrial was declared, but the defense had not yet presented any witnesses.

If the case goes back to trial, Watada would first be allowed to appeal in the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, pushing the court-martial back further, Partington said. If rejected, he would have the option to take the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.

Fidell said that if the judge rightly concluded there were issues about the validity of the stipulation Watada signed, then the mistrial was properly granted.

The real question is whether Watada will be charged on the same charges, Fidell said. The Army originally had dropped some charges for conduct unbecoming an officer, which would have exposed him to a more severe punishment, Fidell noted.

"Now he faces all of them again," he said. "The government may be reluctant to enter into a deal. Now he may be facing greater punishment."

Comment: First, double-jeopardy does not apply unless the person was tried and acquitted of the charges in a military court martial. However, the mistrial does allow an attorney to go through the motions of challenging the double-jeopardy issue ... under the reasoning that there is no law against being stupid. And, an attorney, like Seitz, thrives on such opportunities in order to drag out the proceedings in the hopes of exhausting the prosecution.

Second, with the mistrial declared, all agreements for the first trial are now void. Specifically, the previous charges dropped, by agreement, revitalize and enforceable. In this sense, the article correctly predicts LT Watada may face stiffer penalties.

Third, the fact remains that the Army cannot adjudicate this case and jeopardize good order and discipline. To back down now or default, as Seitz suggests, would create devastate discipline amongst the rank and file. If Watada can just decide not to go to Iraq, then all enlisted members should be at liberty to abandon their posts and commitments whenever they choose. Succinctly, we would no longer have an Army. Without discipline, you have nothing. Well, you would have a lot of angry people, armed with the most lethal weapons ever created ... and allowed to do as they please.

How would you prosecute their atrocities? A subpoena without extreme physical force would be laughed at ... and the server executed!

The Army is in serious hot water ... and so are the liberal politicians critizing them.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:02 pm    Post subject: Front Page: Overthow Congress! Reply with quote

To All:

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?e2d801f1-0819-48e2-ad2e-679eb0bcfecc

Watada's Revolt-ing Mistrial

Special from FrontPageMagazine.com
By Andrew Walden, 2/8/2007 8:41:01 AM

From the fever swamps of the anti-American-war Left a new cause celebre has emerged: Lt Ehren Watada, a soldier from Hawaii who last year refused orders to deploy to Iraq. Yesterday, the judge declared a mistrial in his court martial proceedings at Ft. Lewis, Washington, claiming Watada did not fully understand a document he signed admitting he had a duty to deploy to Iraq.

But Watada is no fuzzy-minded pacifist conscientious objector. Quite the opposite: If he had any followers, Lt. Watada would be an American caudillo. Watada is on trial effectively for calling for a military coup d’etat to overthrow Congress and the president.

Watada was charged with "missing movement" after refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit, the United States Army, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team in June, 2006. Perhaps dissatisfied with the low-key charges, Watada earned more serious charges after giving a speech on August 12, 2006, at the convention of Veterans for Peace, a group which grew out of the 1970s Vietnam era "Winter Soldier Project" run by John Forbes Kerry and Jane Fonda.

In his carefully worded talk, Watada challenges the legitimacy of civilian elected officials calling them "narrowly and questionably elected." Watada claims that Congress and the president did not have the legal power to authorize the use of force in Iraq saying: "neither Congress nor this administration has the authority to violate the prohibition against pre-emptive war." Watada implicitly questions the supremacy of the Constitution saying, "As strong as the Constitution is, it is not foolproof. It does not fully take into account the frailty of human nature."

Borrowing the language of caudillos everywhere, Watada claims to be fighting "corruption." Watada claims to possess wisdom beyond that of the Founding Fathers arguing: "The founders of the Constitution could not have imagined how money would infect our political system." Watada claims to be acting after civilian leaders have failed saying: "We have all seen this war tear apart our country over the past three years. It seems as though nothing we've done, from vigils to protests to letters to Congress, have had any effect in persuading the powers that be. Tonight I will speak to you on my ideas for a change of strategy."

What is Watada’s "change of strategy"? Watada implicitly calls for the United States Armed Forces to impose its will on the elected civilian leadership of the nation saying, "If soldiers realized this war is contrary to what the Constitution extols – if they stood up and threw their weapons down – no president could ever initiate a war of choice again."

Watada closes by calling on soldiers to stop "allowing" the U.S. government this liberty. "Those who called for war prior to the invasion compared diplomacy with Saddam to the compromises made with Hitler. I say, we compromise now by allowing a government that uses war as the first option instead of the last to act with impunity."

Watada’s attorney, Honolulu based radical lawyer Eric Seitz claims, "these (new) charges (faced by Watada) send out a message to people in the military, that if you criticize the war and if you criticize the decisions that were made to bring the United States into this war, that you, too, could be charged with disloyalty, contemptuous remarks and disrespect for higher officers."

Wrong.

Watada’s speech calling for something approximating a military uprising is not simple criticism. Fortunately this is not a banana republic, and Watada has no support within the military. Watada’s impotent call for a virtual coup d’etat more than earned him charges of "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman" and "contempt for officials."

The latter charge, which has since been dropped, did not refer to the ordinary name-calling typical of the Bush-haters. In fact, President Bush’s name occurs nowhere in Watada’s speech. Watada does not call for the ouster of the president but a transformation (you could perhaps term it "overthrow") of the government.

Watada’s lawyer Seitz also claims, "We did not really anticipate that they would charge him with additional offenses based upon the comments and the remarks that he's made. And that opens up a whole new chapter in this proceeding."

Watada’s speech reads as if it had been written by a lawyer. Delivered just five days before Watada’s "Article 32" hearing, it is carefully crafted, written in the most elliptical possible manner to still be understood.

It is likely the intent of the Watada speech at the Veterans for Peace convention was to "open a new chapter." Rather than have his defendant go down to certain defeat facing simple charges of "missing movement," Seitz could now attempt to open up a military trial of the civilian leadership of the U.S. government. As Watada supporter Paul Rockwell explains, "The U.S. Army is putting the wrong person on trial."

One of the international law "experts" called at Watada’s "Article 32" hearing was University of Illinois Law Professor Frances Boyle. Boyle toured Hawaii in December 2004 speaking to thousands of people at meetings organized by Hawaii secessionist leader Bumpy Kanahele. In his speech, repeated on four Hawaiian islands, Boyle urged Native Hawaiians to emulate the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The speaking tour was co-sponsored by the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Boyle has also worked as an attorney for both the PLO and the Chechen rebel "government."

Watada’s speech created legal cause for the new charges which were formally filed on September 15, 2006. The new charges in turn created the excuse to invite the so-called experts to testify about the war’s so-called illegality. Watada’s speech at the convention reads very much like Boyle’s tortured arguments for Hawaiian secession. The court-martial judge has refused to hear arguments questioning the civilian leaderships’ decision to go to war and questioning the "legality" of the war, correctly noting that these considerations are beyond the pervue of a military court.

Also testifying in Watada's defense at the Article 32 hearing was Dennis Halliday a former United Nations official who last served the UN as United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in 1997 in Iraq—in the midst of the Oil for Food payouts. He quit the UN after one year in Baghdad and began working as a full time campaigner against the UN sanctions on Iraq. Another so-called expert is the far-Left Col. Ann Wright, an ex-officer who quit the State Department in March 2003 in protest of the Iraq war. She is now a full time activist who gives interviews to the Maoist Revolution newspaper and coordinated Cindy Sheehan’s media circus in Crawford, Texas.

Watada looks outside the military for support. His father Bob Watada is a figure in the Hawaii Democratic Party who made a name for himself recently as Hawaii Campaign Spending Commissioner, a position he used to root out almost 100 corrupt Democrat politicians and state contractors. In doing so, he made way for younger up-and-coming Kucinich Democrats to take even greater power within the Party at the expense of more mainstream liberal Democrats. The Watada case has been cause for substantial debate within Japanese American groups, preparing the stage for the anti-Americans’ complete takeover of the Hawaii Democratic Party after the eventual passing of Senator Daniel Inouye whose U.S. Senate seniority often helps bring military projects to Hawaii.

In 2004 Dennis Kucinich received about 1/3 of the Hawaii delegates to the Democratic National Convention. William Alia and Earthjustice lawyer David Henkin, the second place primary candidates for the 2006 Democratic Hawaiian gubernatorial and Lt. Governor nominations are deeply involved in lawsuits challenging the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar in the waters off Hawaii and the presence of a Stryker brigade on Oahu with training facilities on the Big Island.

In Honolulu, support for Watada was until recently organized largely by the Maoist front group "Not In Our Name," which is controlled by the Honolulu branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Watada support rallies are now controlled by Code Pink, a group co-founded by San Francisco activist Medea Benjamin, a former resident of Castro’s Cuba.

A key figure around the Veterans for Peace and also around Cindy Sheehan’s earlier media circus is Dahr Jamail. Terror cheerleader Jamail joined forces with Sheehan after cheering Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Sadr City, Iraq, while reporting from their HQ on the battle in which Spc. Casey Sheehan was killed by Sadr’s forces. Jamail calls Watada a "hero" and posted Watada’s speech on leftist website "Truthout." Jamail recently visited Honolulu to speak with Watada supporters.

Watada also gets support from Muslim Chaplain James Yee, who was ousted from his position at Guantanamo after being accused of spying for the al-Qaeda detainees.

Yee and Jamail are not Watada’s only Islamist supporters. Al-Jazeera writing on June 11, 2006 happily quotes Watada as he implicitly condemns every U.S. soldier in the field of combat: "The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people is not only a terrible moral injustice but a contradiction of the army's own law of land warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes."

Of course the real "wholesale slaughter" is the one carried out daily by al-Jazeera’s terrorist bombers, the comrades of Jamail’s allies in Sadr City, and Yee’s detainees at Guantanamo. Watada and his supporters are facilitating the genuine war crimes they carry out daily against coalition forces and the Iraqi people.

This is reprinted from Frontpagemagazine.com. Andrew Walden is the editor and publisher of Hawaii Free Press, a Big Island-based newspaper.

Comment: Truly, this article strikes a sensitive cord, reaching the seriousness of a classification equating to a "clear and present danger." Watada could spend the rest of his life in prison!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject: Watada Supporters Comments Reply with quote

To all:

A sampling of comments about LT Watada:

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070210/OPINION02/702100303/1104

February 10, 2007
Letters to the Editor

IRAQ WAR

STARTLING ADMISSIONS IN CRITICISM OF WATADA

Col. Thomas D. Farrell makes some startling admissions in his criticism of Lt. Ehren Watada's stand against the war in Iraq.

He says "Many of us who served in Iraq were under no illusion about the administration's corruption of intelligence to make the case for war."

Does this not prove Lt. Watada's case when even superior officers refused to do anything in the light of their knowledge?

I do not believe the Constitution was designed to permit the wanton, unjustified destruction of another country, its people and putting our own youth in harm's way.

It is to Lt. Watada's credit that even though he broke the chain of command, his sacrifice highlights not only the illegality of the war, but its insanity.

Col. Farrell goes on: "Quite a few of us also believed the war was a bad idea, made worse by poor execution. We served anyway." What did such people do? Does participation in the military require abandoning one's conscience? Were there resignations, whistleblowers?

The deaths and wounded mount every day and we have dug a pit that we can't get out because of such beliefs.

Alfred Bloom
Kailua


FARRELL COLUMN OFFERS SUCCINCT EXPLANATION

Every person who has been following Lt. Ehren Watada's protest of the Iraq war and his refusal to serve there, needs to read the Feb. 6 Island Voices commentary by retired Col. Thomas D. Farrell.

In his article, Col. Farrell succinctly explains why Lt. Watada's decision to not serve in Iraq was not an option for an officer of the U.S. Army.

Had Lt. Watada had Col. Farrell as his commanding officer, he would not have come to the conclusion that now places him in the predicament he is in and the four years he will probably be spending at the Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary.

Roy S. Tanouye
Waipahu


WHY DOES LT. WATADA FACE SO MUCH SCRUTINY?

While reading about 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, I thought about the thousands of people who burned their draft cards and the American flag during the Vietnam War.

Not one of them went to prison or received any kind of punishment. A lot of them claimed religious or constitutional rights, so why does Lt. Watada come under such scrutiny?

The military of today seems to be getting ridiculous.

Roy T. Yamamoto
Mililani


LT. WATADA ONE OF THE HEROES OF GENERATION

The judge in the first court-martial 1st Lt. Ehren Watada decided that the legality of the Iraq war was irrelevant to the case.

Under any reasonable standard, this war is one of aggression, originally based on lies and therefore illegal under international law.

It was the Nuremberg trials, led by the United States at the end of World War II, that established the principle that no one is blameless for war crimes simply because the defendant was "only following orders."

If this war is illegal, pursuing the war is a crime in itself. By taking his stand against illegal actions of this administration, Lt. Watada is one of the heroes of his generation.

Hank Kocol
Honolulu


IS IT OK FOR SOLDIERS TO 'JUST FOLLOW ORDERS'?

Lt. Ehren Watada's military career is over, which is as it should be. The only question remaining to be answered is whether, in the 60 years since the Nuremberg trials, it has become acceptable — or perhaps even mandatory — for an American soldier to justify the commission of unconscionable acts by saying, "I was just following orders."

How sad for this once-great land of the free and home of the brave if the answer should turn out to be, "Yes."

Keoni Dibelka
Hilo, Hawai'i

Comment: Having discovered one senior military officer who sympathizes with LT Watada, the non-military mob effervesces with rhetoric. These naive writers somehow equate the conflict in Iraq to the atrocities adjudicated at Nuremberg. Perhaps, these historically-challenged authors should ponder whether they have subscribed their allegiance with the plaintiffs or the defendants at Nuremberg. Maybe they should allocate some time identifying the issues at Nuremberg. It might awaken them as to their misguided references.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject: Watada Disrespectful Reply with quote

To All:

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070213/OPINION02/702130306/1104

WATADA DISRESPECTED OTHER SOLDIERS, NATION

I am appalled to see that a mistrial was declared in 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's case.

I was a high school classmate of his, and I am also a very proud Army wife. Words cannot describe how upset I was to hear that he not only disobeyed a direct order, but now he is trying to get away with it!

Everyone who joined the military after 9/11 knew they were going to war. Lt. Watada is no exception.

He disrespected my husband, the Army and this country. He also disrespected many of my fallen friends who went to war, did what they swore to do and never returned home. They did it so that people who oppose the war have the freedom to do so.

Lt. Watada, if you were afraid to go, then just say that you were afraid, don't try to use "the war is illegal" as a defense.

You signed on the dotted line, as did my husband and all other soldiers.

You have a duty as an officer, as a soldier, to defend your country.

Pua Book
Fort Sam Houston, Texas

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To all:

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070224/NEWS08/702240341/1001/NEWS

It's 'back to square one' for Watada StoryChat: Comment on this story

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

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 court-martial trial.

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 was illegal.

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.

Comment: Our readers should note that this Japanese-American coward has not been beaten up in a parking lot like a White American Veteran of two tours in Iraq:

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070224/NEWS01/702240334/1001/NEWS

Prosecutors believe that the brutal beating of a young couple Monday afternoon in a busy Waikele Center parking lot likely was a result of road rage.

Gerald D. Paakaula, 45, is accused of punching the husband in the throat and punching the wife and slamming her to the ground after the couple's car hit Paakaula's car.

A preliminary hearing yesterday for Paakaula, who is charged with second-degree assault, was postponed until March 16 to give him time to hire an attorney. Paakaula was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail.

His son, a teenager, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault. His case was referred to Family Court.

The incident occurred in front of the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop at the Waikele Center late Monday afternoon.

According to a police affidavit filed in court, Andrew and Dawn Dussell's Dodge Durango collided with Paakaula's Chevrolet while attempting to pull into a parking stall next to it.

Paakaula's son, "extremely angry that his vehicle had been struck," stepped out of the Chevy and began yelling obscenities toward Andrew Dussell, who was the driver, calling him a "f------ haole" while kicking the driver side door, the document said.

Dawn Dussell then exited the car, confronted the teen and attempted to push him away from the Dodge and her husband. The teen then began assaulting the woman, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Paakaula got involved and punched Dawn Dussell, "picked her up off her feet and slammed her onto the asphalt." She remained motionless on the ground and appeared to be unconscious, the affidavit said.

When Andrew Dussell got out of the Dodge, he was punched in the throat by Paakaula, the affidavit said. Dussell fell to the ground gasping for air and then received kicks to his head and face from the teen, leading to his convulsing, the document said.

The Dussells' 3-year-old child was in the backseat of the Dodge and witnessed the incident.

Jim Fulton, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said the case doesn't involve a hate crime.

"From our perspective, this was more motivated by rage from the incident rather than specifically targeted toward the individuals' race," he said.

Fulton said, "Any racial or ethnic comment came after the fact of the actual incident."

Under Hawai'i law, a hate crime is defined as any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selects a victim based on race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

If a second-degree assault was prosecuted as a hate crime, the felony maximum penalty of five years could be increased to 10 years, but it must be proven that the perpetrator intentionally selected the victim based on the listed categories.

Andrew Dussell, 26, is in the Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq. Dawn Dussell, 23, is a nursing student at Hawai'i Pacific University. The couple live in Downtown Honolulu.

Doctors said both victims sustained concussions as a result of the beatings. Andrew Dussell also sustained fractures to the lower part of an eye socket and the maxillary sinus portion of his face. Dawn Dussell sustained fractures to her interior maxillary bone, nose and wrist.

Paakaula and his wife declined comment yesterday.

Jonathan Okamura, an ethnic studies professor at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, said the alleged remarks indicate that the beating may have occurred, or escalated, as a result of racial considerations.

"That kind of reference, to me, indicates that this would be considered a hate crime; maybe not by the definition in Hawai'i but in other states," he said. "Why did he focus on the fact that (the man) was haole? That wasn't the issue. The issue was the damage to his car, not the race or ethnicity of the person who hit it."

The impact of a hate crime goes beyond the victims, Okamura said. Hate crimes, he said, "intimidate other people who belong to the same group" as a victim. "It instills fear in this larger category of people."

He added: "I imagine haoles throughout Hawai'i, if they heard about the incident, are very concerned about the possibility of that happening to them."

But Jonathan Osorio, chairman of the UH Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, said that based on what he was told, he does not believe a hate crime was committed.

"It doesn't matter if their ethnicities are different. It doesn't matter that we're dealing with Hawaiians and haoles here," Osorio said.

He said he is troubled by suggestions that the incident may have been a hate crime.

"It worries me when people start calling something like this a hate crime because it starts to ramp up the public temperature over race in Hawai'i, and I don't think we need that," he said.

He said the incident occurred because of a fender bender. "Leave the rest of us out of it," Osorio said.

Friends of the Dussells are setting up a fund to assist the family.

Welcome to Hawaii, White America!

With Aloha,


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To All:

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/27/br/br5267149803.html

Watada's case against war up for debate at UH today

Advertiser Staff

First Lt. Ehren Watada's case against the war in Iraq will be debated today from 12:40 to 1:25 p.m. at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, will debate Professor Michael Lewis, a visiting law professor from Northern Ohio University, in a debate entitled "Lt. Watada's Case and the Legality of the War in Iraq."

The debate is free and open to the public and will take place at the law school's Moot Court Room.

On Friday, the Army moved to bring Watada to trial again on charges of missing movement and on conduct unbecoming an officer. The Army has not set a date for a second court-martial.

This event is the first of a series of debates sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society.

Comment: Some background on these sponsors:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Society

Federalist Society supports: "... the duty of the judicial branch is "to say what the law is, not what the law should be."

http://www.acslaw.org/about/mission

The American Constitutional Society: "... promotes a progressive vision of the Constitution."

It would appear that the debate will cover the differing views of the US Constitution ... what is says and what it should say.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To all:

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Feb/28/br/br1974382605.html

Watada's second court-martial set for July

By MELANTHIA MITCHELL
Associated Press

SEATTLE A second court-martial is scheduled to begin July 16 for an Army lieutenant who refused to go to Iraq with his Fort Lewis-based Stryker brigade and spoke out against the Bush administration.
The first military trial for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Honolulu ended in mistrial after three days when the judge said he didn't believe Watada fully understood a pretrial agreement he'd signed and that would have cut his sentence to four years.

On Friday, the Army refiled charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer the same charges Watada, 28, had initially faced. If convicted, Watada could be sentenced to six years in prison and be dishonorably discharged.

Pretrial motions have been set for May 20-21, with the court-martial scheduled to begin the week of July 16, according to the office of Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney based in Honolulu.

Seitz has said he will seek to have the charges dismissed as a violation of the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy. Today, he said he would likely file motions by April.

He said he and Watada still hope to reach some sort of an agreement with the military, but as of yet have had no communication with the Army, other than an e-mail listing the court dates.

"Our understanding is that they want to continue with this and we're happy to oblige," Seitz said.

Prosecutors would not comment on the case, Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek said today. However, last week he said that double jeopardy was not a factor in the case because Watada's first trial "had not reached a position of finality."

"As far as I'm aware we are moving forward with the charges," Piek said today.

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head originally scheduled a new trial for March 19 after Watada's first court-martial abruptly ended Feb. 7. Seitz had said he likely wouldn't be able to make that date because of conflicting court schedules.

The conduct unbecoming an officer charge against Watada accuses him in four instances of making public statements criticizing the Iraq war or President Bush.

Watada has acknowledged making the statements and to missing a June deployment with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which is currently in Baghdad. Just 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.

Watada is currently assigned to an administrative position at Fort Lewis.

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