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Reposting:: UPDATE --- Lt. Watada and Sarah Olson

Watada lawyer says military dropping two charges

The U.S. government has agreed to drop two charges that carried a maximum of two years in prison against Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, his lawyer said Monday.
The U.S. government has agreed to drop two charges that carried a maximum of two years in prison against Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, his lawyer said Monday.
As part of the agreement, two reporters who had been issued subpoenas to appear before the court-martial will not have to testify, the lawyer said.

"By agreeing beforehand to all of the facts the government would ask of the ... reporters, Lt. Watada shielded these journalists from the heavy-handedness of the government," said Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Watada. "While we don't think any charges should have (been) filed at all for simply exercising free speech, we are pleased with the government's willingness to reduce Lt. Watada's potential sentence by two years."

The 28-year-old Honolulu native had been facing two years in prison on charges of missing a troop movement, and four additional years imprisonment on four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for his public statements critical of the Iraq war.

His court-martial is expected to begin Feb. 5.


READ THIS UPDATE --> (EMAIL I Received) http://www.prwatch.org/node/5695

Late tonight the US Army announced it has dropped its subpoena of Sarah Olson in the Ehren Watada court martial.

The news broke in an article in the Honolulu Advertiser.

This is a great victory for journalist Sarah Olson and our Defend the Press coalition. It is a testament to what one determined and courageous reporter can accomplish in the face of government intimidation. These subpoenas were quite simply an effort to harass journalists who are reporting on the growing anti-war sentiment among rank and file soldiers. It strikes a blow for press freedom and for free speech.

In a news release Sarah Olson made a statement which reads in part, "Personally, I am pleased that the Army no longer seeks my participation in their prosecution of Lieutenant Watada. Far more importantly, this should be seen as a victory for the rights of journalists in the U.S. to gather and disseminate news free from government intervention, and for the rights of individuals to express personal, political opinions to journalists without fear of retribution or censure. ... Journalists are subpoenaed with an alarming frequency, and when they do not cooperate they are sometimes imprisoned. Videographer Josh Wolf has languished in federal prison for over 160 days, after refusing to give federal grand jury investigators his unpublished video out takes. It is clear that we must continue to demand that the separation between press and government be strong, and that the press be a platform for all perspectives, regardless of their popularity with the current administration."

"While I am glad to see the subpoena against me in this court-martial dismissed," Olson adds, "I still worry about the US military using this tactic to chill dissenting voices and whistle blowers from coming forward in the future. We need to be vigilant at this critical time in our country's history in order to push back against these tactics."

On Thursday, February 1st, the Defend the Press coalition and Sarah Olson will hold a news conference in Washington, DC, at The National Press Club to celebrate this victory and address the ongoing fight for press freedom.

The Center for Media and Democracy founded the Defend the Press coalition on January 24, 2007. Among its supporters are notable journalists, authors and free speech activists including Phil Donahue, producer and commentator; Sydney Schanberg, author; Linda K. Foley, president, The Newspaper Guild-CWA; Larry Gross, director, School of Communication, Annenberg School, USC; Tony Kushner, playwright; Robert McChesney, founder, Free Press; Geneva Overholser, professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism; Gloria Steinem, publisher, journalist; Jerry Zremski, journalist and president, National Press Club.

homepage: homepage: http://www.joe-anybody.com

Send Your Representive and the President a letter 30.Jan.2007 15:23

Ben Waiting

From the Thank You website is a link to contact the prez bushman and your state reps
Quick and easy to fill out!!

Put pressure on those who can influence the outcome of Lt. Watada's court martial by demanding the military drop all charges and accept Lt. Watada's resignation.
Don't delay ...time is running short

Do it now!