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Lady in the Justice Dept. DID THE RIGHT THING!

May 7th, 2009
Ehren Watada
Image via Wikipedia

West Hawaii Today

By GENE JOHNSON
the Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Justice
Department is dropping its
attempt to retry the first
commissioned officer to be
court-martialed for refusing
to go to Iraq.
Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
of Hawaii contended that
the war is illegal and that
he would be a party to war
crimes if he served in Iraq.
His first court-martial
ended in a mistrial in
February 2007.
A federal judge ruled last
fall that the Army could not
try him again on key charges,
including missing troop
movement, because it would
violate his constitutional
right to be free from double
jeopardy.
The Justice Department
initially appealed to the
9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, but later asked the
court to dismiss the matter.
The court did so
Wednesday.
Watada’s attorney, James
Lobsenz, said in a news
release that his client anticipates
he will soon be released
from active duty and “plans
to return to civilian life and
to attend law school.”
But Fort Lewis leadership
is still mulling how to handle
two remaining allegations
of conduct unbecoming an
officer against Watada that
the federal judge had kicked
back to the military trial
court for further consideration.
Options include courtmartial,
nonjudicial punishment
such as docking his pay
or giving him extra work, or
kicking him out of the Army
with either an honorable or
dishonorable discharge.
“What is most troubling to
us here is that the most serious
charge of missing movement
will not be decided
upon by a jury of the lieutenant’s
peers,” said Army
spokesman Joe Piek. “We’re
troubled by that on that on
behalf of the hundreds of
thousands of soldiers who
have deployed.” 

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Write to Help End Noble Lt. Watada Agony

May 2nd, 2009

End the U.S. Army’s prosecution of Lt. Ehren Watada! PDF Print E-mail Image The Justice Department can say no to Army’s legal appeal;

“Dear Solicitor General: Tell the Army to drop the appeal against Lt. Watada”

By the Ad Hoc Campaign to Free Ehren Watada. April 27, 2009 In June 2006, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada refused orders to Iraq on the grounds that the war was illegal and immoral. His court martial in February 2007 ended in an Army-contrived mistrial. In October 2007, the Army attempt to have a second court martial was stopped by a Federal judge who ruled that a second court martial would be double jeopardy. But the Army has not allowed Lt. Watada to leave military service. Instead, they have notified the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit of their plans to appeal the double jeopardy ruling. The Army has also threatened to revive old charges stemming from Lt. Watada’s speech in Seattle to the 2006 convention of Veterans For Peace. Justice Department to decide if Army will appeal double jeopardy ruling

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office in the Department of Justice will soon decide whether the Army can go ahead with its plans to appeal Federal Court rulings in Lt. Watada’s favor. An campaign of public pressure is being called by Lt. Watada’s supporters in the peace movement. The ad hoc campaign is being spearheaded by two Vietnam War resisters, Mike Wong and Gerry Condon, who are active members of Veterans for Peace in San Francisco and Seattle. The Call to Action is being issued in the name of Asian Americans for Peace and Justice, formerly the Watada Support Committee, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Project Safe Haven, a war resister support group. We are sending out this email alert to all our contacts and organizations – including Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, United For Peace and Justice, ANSWER, Code Pink, American Friends Service Committee and others.

We ask you all to phone, write, and email Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Deputy Attorney General Neal Katyal immediately.

1. Ask the Solicitor General: Tell the Army to drop the appeal and any other charges against Lt. Watada, and to release him from the Army with an honorable discharge. If we all act quickly, we can flood the Solicitor General’s office with hundreds of phone calls, letters and emails, which could tip the balance in Ehren Watada’s favor.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 202-514-2201 Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, 202-514-2206 Send letters to: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530.

E-mails to AskDOJ@usdoj.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it will reach the Solicitor General and Attorney General Eric Holder.

A sample letter is included below. Feel free to edit as you wish, or to write your own. It is possible that both the Solicitor General and her Deputy may be open to our plea. Please be respectful and polite in all your communications with these Obama appointees.

2. Please forward this alert to all activists, friends, and organizations you know that would be supportive. If you are involved in an organization, please ask that it forward this alert to its entire membership.

3. We will approach the friendliest of our allies in Congress and ask them to make inquiries to the Justice Department. If you or your organization has contact with any members of Congress, please email Gerry Condon at projectsafehaven@hotmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it so we can coordinate our Congressional outreach.

4. Various groups may also wish to mount demonstrations, press conferences, lobby, or use other means of peaceful political pressure. You may also call for an end to the persecution of all war resisters. Mike Wong, Vice President, SF Bay Area Veterans For Peace; Asian Americans for Social Justice Gerry Condon, Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace; Project Safe Haven Sample letter:

Date

Solicitor General Elena Kagan Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Solicitor General Kagan and Deputy Solicitor General Katyal, I am writing to urge you to direct the U.S. Army to drop its appeal and any other charges in the case of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, and to release him from the Army with an Honorable Discharge.

Lt. Watada was the first Army officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq, because he believes the U.S. war in Iraq is illegal and immoral, and that orders to participate in it are therefore also illegal and immoral. Lt. Watada’s Army court martial in February 2007 ended in a mistrial that was illegally construed by the Army judge, Lt. Col. John Head. When the Army then attempted a second court martial in October 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle halted the proceedings on double jeopardy grounds. Judge Settle had just been appointed to his position by George W. Bush and was a former Army JAG lawyer.

I urge you to uphold U.S. and international law by directing the Army to end its prolonged prosecution of Lt. Ehren Watada. Thank you very much.

 

Sincerely yours,

Mike Wong

 

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