portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

imperialism & war

Audio: Lt. Ehren Watada Speaking In Seattle, January 27, 2007

Today, just 9 days before facing a military court martial for refusing deployment to Iraq, Lt Ehren Watada spoke to an overflowing house at the Langston Hughes center in Seattle Washington. He is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment, and has garnered enormous respect and support from the people of this country.

His keynote speech came at the end of a Seattle rally and march attracting at least 1000 people, protesting the war and Occupation of Iraq, as well as his upcoming court martial, scheduled for February 5, 2007 at Fort Lewis Washington. On that day there will be a gathering in support of his act of conscience, at the overpass to Interstate 5, exit 119, beginning sometime around noon.

Watada began by expressing his respect and admiration for all the GI's who have opposed the Occupation. He then requested that all " those listening keep in your thoughts and your prayers my step mother who just had a stroke at the Washington D.C. rallies," referring to the demonstration held in D.C. on this same day which gathered 150,000 - 200,000 people.

From here, he goes right to the heart of the matter: "in opposition to my position, the argument will be made that soldiers don't have the right to pick and choose their wars. I would respond that it is not only our right, but our constitutional duty. Many seem to forget that service members swear loyalty, not to one man or an institution, but to this country and its people. We don't swear to fight in wars or just do our job, nor blindly obey orders, but to protect the promise, principles and laws of this country at all costs."

"My intent is never to disparage the military or dishonor the sacrifices of troops ineither the past or present. Instead, I want to show you my fellow Americans, that while we focus on the minute issue of whether Lt. Watada is legally right or wrong, this country is falling apart around us. 66% of the 300,000,000 people in this country believe the war to be wrong, yet what are they dong to sacrifice something of themselves to stop it? Our own government has concluded that the mere presence of American troops in Iraq is making America less safe to terrorism. 80 - 90 % of Iraqis want us to withdraw within six months."

Lt. Watada continues, "we aren't there to protect America, we aren't there to protect Iraqis..........we are all being used for the pride and profit of a few in our society, and we are all paying for it it blood and treasure."

Following these remarks, Watada describes how his court martial will go, how he cannot in any sense of the word be given a fair trial. This is followed by a litany of the crimes and errors of the current Administration over the last six years, culminating in their imperialistic fumbling of the Occupation of Iraq.

"There are so many injustices committed by this administration....the Iraq war itself, founded by defrauding the American people has had the most devastating and obvious effects." He goes on to list a mountain of misery visited upon this country not only by the Bush Administration, but also by the people of this country. These deaths and living miseries began not just with the recent invasion and occupation, but with Desert Storm, the use of thousands upon thousand tons of Depleted Uranium munitions and then the long years of sanctions, which tortured the people, but left those ruling the country without harm.

"This is what I learned in just a year and a half alone. The pieces are there. Finding them and putting the puzzle together takes just a little effort. Our country is being led in the wrong direction, an illegal and immoral direction. But to know that our country was sent to war and devastated another civilization over falsehoods is something I will never stand for."

"There are some things that we just cannot do. Without principles, without sacrificing for what we believe, what is the point? Send me to prison, torture me, or kill me, I will never enable or condone the waging of war on another country over lies." At this point the audience broke into repeated loud cheers, chanting and stomping the ground, "they're our brother, they're our sisters, we support war resisters."

Watada then continued, "We as a free society live under the rule of peace, law and justice. We should never stand for this. It is our duty as children of God, it is our duty as human beings. No longer can we sit on the fence, no longer can we remain ignorant. If we ignore this responsibility, then we are equally culpable in these crimes, regardless if we are directly responsible."

Spoken quietly, deliberately, and eloquently, his words entered every heart and mind, exiting as loud applause and cheers of agreement and solidarity throughout this remarkable presentation. Watada spoke for 20 minutes, and in much greater detail than I have chronicled here in this brief report. He finishes, "my fellow Americans, I thank you for coming here today....you have taken the first step. We need to include all our brother and sister Americans in this fight against injustice and oppression by our country against its people and those around the world."

"I ask of you to keep hope and always have courage. In the end, we will win."

Lt. Ehren Watada, RealPlayer

Lt. Ehren Watada, MP3

Please don't forget that Lt. Watada needs our support on February 5, 2007 at his court martial. Supporters will be gathering off I-5 at exit 119 from around 11:00 until about 6:00 in the evening. Ongoing and updated information concerning details of this important event can be found at Courage to Resist

Other websites:

Iraq Veterans Against the War

Iraq Veterans Against the War Deployed

homepage: homepage: http://www.PhilosopherSeed.org/audio


GET ON THE BUS! 04.Feb.2007 09:38

The bus to Ft Lewis

leaves at 8 am from Gateway Transit Center tomorrow. To get seating contact

KellyCampbell
Portland Area Peace Director
American Friends Service Committee
2249 E. Burnside
Portland, OR 97214
503-230-9427
 kcampbell@afsc.org

If there is overflow there are also private vehicles caravanning which will possibly have seats open.

The Midnight Hour 05.Feb.2007 02:13

Joe Anybody (reposting)

Just finished up with making my sign and getting my stuff ready for the trip in the morning
I checked my email and am passing along this reminder/update that was in my box

Looks like a lot of people are aware and supportive!

*********************************
Lt. Watada's supporters are converging on Fort Lewis from across the country to stand with him during his court martial trial, which begins Monday morning, February 5th. Many are representatives of the organizations that coordinated rallies, forums and meetings with congressional members and hosted Bob and Rosa Watada and Carolyn Ho as they traveled across the country to support their son. On February 5th buses and carpools wiil also bring Lt. Watada supporters from Portland and across the State of Washington.

Today, as volunteers assembled support signs, artists built giant puppets for a street theater pageant, and local residents prepared a potluck dinner on Sunday to welcome out-of-town Watada supporters. Vigils, rallies, music, poetry, and street theater are all part of the events planned in support of Lt. Watada.

Join us at Fort Lewis!! The schedule of events follows. If you can't be there, organize a candlelight vigil or educational event in your town to show support for Lt. Watada and opposition to the Iraq war and occupation during the court martial. Let us know about your community's events at  action@ltwatada.org.

National Actions
Amherst,MA*Austin,TX*Bainbridge,WA*Bellingham,WA*Bremerton,WA*Coupeville,WA*Fort Lewis,WA*Gardner,MA*HartfordCT*Honolulu,HI*Kirkland,WA*Maui,HI*Olympia,WA* Orono,MA*Philadelphia,PA*Portland,OR*San Francisco,CA*Seattle,WA*Tacoma,WA* Chicago, IL*Melbourne, Florida*Valparaiso, IN*Across the street from the White House in Washington, DC


International Actions
London, England* Athens, Greece* Dublin and Galway, Ireland* Tel Aviv, Israel,Venice, Italy* Luxembourg* Mexico City, Mexico* Istanbul, Turkey* Uruguay

5-9pm Welcome Event for Lt. Ehren Watada Supporters
First Congregational Church (Pilgram Hall-Downstairs) 209 S J St. Tacoma, WA
Supporters from across the country are coming together to celebrate our resistance to illegal, immoral war and Lt. Ehren Watada's courageous stand on the night before his court martial. We encourage local community members to greet and welcome folks arriving from out of town. The evening's event will include a potluck dinner food, music, speakers and spoken word.

Sponsored by: The Micah Project of First United Methodist Church, United for Peace of Pierce County, Friends and Family of Lt. Watada, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, Courage to Resist, Youth Against War and Racism, and Teen Peace Project.

Full list of speakers and event schedule

Monday, February 5, 2007
11:30-6pm Lt. Ehren Watada Court Martial and Support Rally
9:30am - Lt. Watada's Military Court Martial begins
11:30am - Student Rally with Iraq Veterans Against the War
12:30pm - Vigil outside the Gates of Fort Lewis with IVAW
1:30pm - Political Street Theater and Giant Puppets Art Performance, spoken word, and DJ's
3pm - Watada Campaign Rally
4-6pm Vigil outside the Gates of Fort Lewis

For more information about Feb 5 go to www.thankyoult.org
Full Schedule of Fort Lewis event and speakers list
Transportation to Fort Lewis - Buses, Carpools, Directions and Parking
Attending Lt. Watada's Court Martial
Travel and Housing Information

Questions?  action@ltwatada.org

Tell us about your action, event or student walkout email  action@ltwatada.org

Role Model
Role Model