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Support Watada--Oct 9th

Mike Wong, of Veterans for Peace, and many others from around the region and West Coast are planning to have a presence/protest/rally next week on Tuesday, October 9 at the new court marshal of Lt. Ehren Watada at Ft. Lewis. Jeff Patterson, of Courage to Resist, who helped to organize much of the work last year has suggested a good plan for those of us in the Olympia area. Please read his suggestions and other planned action below.
Support Lt. Watada
Support Lt. Watada
Vigil: 7-9 am at I-5, exit 119,
From Olympia: car pool at 6:30AM from the usual location of Harrison and Division.


Dear Friends,

Seems like we all have been working to support Lt. Ehren Watada--often in
our own ways--for quite some time now. Who could have imagined that 16
months after Ehren challenged us to use his case to highlight an illegal
war, he is still awaiting justice-or more likely, injustice?

The Army officially announced today that the retrial is on for Tuesday-yes,
next week! Below is the official media advisory. According to the Army, any
media requests for access to the trial need to be in their hands by tomorrow
at 4:30pm. Those crazy smart bastards!

Many of you have probably seen Michael Wong's ( mlwong@jps.net) recent call
to action in support of Lt. Watada. If not, I quote extensively from his
call in the action alert Courage to Resist sent to our national list last
night, "Despite Constitution, Army moving against Lt. Watada." Mike is a
member of the Watada Support Committee and Veterans for Peace is working
hard to mount a public response on such short notice.
 http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/448/1/

To friends in the Ft. Lewis area, I'd like to propose an adhoc call for
people to both gather at Gate 119 during the day, and to attend the trial if
possible. I'd suggest a morning vigil (7-9am) and an afternoon rally (4-6pm)
at Gate 119--just start spreading the word, and who shows up, shows up. Tell
people to bring their own signs and banners, make sure someone brings a
bullhorn, and we're ready to go. It's make a good visual for the media
coverage, and represents the fact that we have not "forgotten" about Ehren.

If people want to attend the trial, be at Gate 120 by 7:30am (the court
martial is scheduled for a 9:00am start). If folks walk on, it makes things
easier (in case of problems with car registration, insurance, or even peace
bumper stickers). Here are the maps with info we did back in Feb. for
reference:
 http://couragetoresist.org/x/images/stories/ew/ew-map-lg.jpg
 http://couragetoresist.org/x/images/stories/ew/ew-fort-lewis-map.gif

Suggested slogans, messaging might include:
* Thank you Lt. Watada for Refusing Illegal War!
* Help End the War--Support GI Resisters!
* All Troops Home Now

Because of the short notice, Courage to Resist will likely not have an
organized presence at Ft. Lewis (I will not be able to make personally
either), but I wanted to offer this up in case it may be of help. If persons
already have plans underway, super!--just let me know so that we can help
spread the word. If folks run with any of these suggestions, there is no
need to "credit" any of this info to me, Courage to Resist, etc.--just want
to see something happen. As Mike Wong notes, "Do whatever the hell you can!"

Attached are the original "Refuse Illegal War - Thank You Lt. Watada"
posters if of use to anyone.

Sincerely,
Jeff Paterson < jeff@paterson.net>
Courage to Resist and Veterans for Peace Ch 69


-----------------------------------------------------------


FORT LEWIS MEDIA ADVISORY

FORT LEWIS, Wash. -The General Court-Martial case of U.S. vs. 1st Lt. Ehren
K. Watada, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on October 9.

1st Lt. Watada is charged with one charge of missing movement, and one
charge, with four specifications, of conduct unbecoming an officer.

The maximum punishment is dismissal and confinement for six years.


From Mike Wong
Hi folks,

New update. We definitely are moving! Michael McPherson (national exec. director of VFP) has forwarded my mass email to the VFP list, so the whole organization got it. Carolyn Ho has been forwarding my email as well. I'm getting emails from folks around the country who got my email forwarded to them, they all will do whatever they can locally. My deepest thanks to everyone who responded. Some activists are getting my email multiple times from different contacts, so the email is really getting around. I got calls from Jeremy Brecher of "The Nation" online edition, and Margaret Prescott of KPFK in Los Angeles. Jeremy will do an article and get it on the "The Nation" website this week. Margaret Prescott will do a radio show on this tomorrow (Tuesday) morning between 7 to 8 am that will include one of Ehren's lawyers, Col. Ann Wright (She is an inspiring leader - check out her story at:  link to en.wikipedia.org and clicking on "Listen" in the upper right hand corner. The Watada folks in LA are up and running, they got the KPFK person involved.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a press conference scheduled for Monday, October 8, at 10 a.m. at Portsmouth Square In San Francisco's Chinatown. At least three of us will be driving up to Ft. Lewis for the court martial. We are also trying to put together a second event for Oct. 9, the day of the court martial.

Captain James Yee has offered his support. I have his book, and his is an incredible story. Check out his story at:  link to en.wikipedia.org .

In the Ft. Lewis area, Cindy Domingo of the Watada campaign in Seattle, and Gerry Condon, an old friend from Veterans for Peace and Viet Nam war resister/deserter, have agreed to take the lead in organizing events around the new court martial. Gerry sent out the following Alert for the Ft. Lewis area:

NORTHWEST ALERT: Mobilize for Watada Court Martial, Tues. Oct. 9
Date: Oct 3, 2007 3:09 AM

Dear Friends of Ehren Watada,

Many of you know my friend, Mike Wong, of the Watada Support Committee in San Francisco. Yesterday he sent out an urgent action alert Apparently, the Army plans to go ahead with Ehren Watada's court martial next Tuesday, Oct. 9, despite the fact that his appeal of the Army's ruling on double jeopardy has not yet been decided. OR, it is also possible that the Army will postpone his court martial, possibly at the last minute. The Watada Campaign in the Puget Sound area seems pretty demobilized. Cindy Dominguez and Nadine Shiroma, two of the Seattle coordinators, say they have not been able to talk to Ehren recently and that his lawyers have not returned their calls.

Cindy Dominguez said that Ehren told her earlier to go ahead and do whatever needed to be done, and not to look to him to be involved in guiding support actions. He is reportedly being watched very closely.

Mike Wong suggested that I take the lead in getting the word out to begin mobilizing folks in the Puget Sound area. Cindy Dominguez said this was fine with her - that she was not in a position to do so. She asked that we keep her informed. She insisted that all actions should be nonviolent and legal, and that there be no civil disobedience.

This is an urgent call for help. We need some collective leadership and a division of labor. In particular, I encourage those of you who have been involved with past Watada mobilizations to step up to the plate. You know who you are.

I am busy responding to another war resister emergency in British Columbia. Robin Long, who is AWOL from the U.S. Army, was arrested by police in Nelson, BC yesterday. His request for refugee status had been turned down and he had received an order to depart from Canada. He is now being held at the Vancouver International Airport and a hearing has been scheduled in Vancouver tomorrow morning at 11 am. Canadian authorities seem determined to deport him quickly. The War Resister Support Campaign in Canada has launched an emergency effort to halt his deportation. Demonstrations will take place on Wednesday morning in downtown Vancouver and Toronto. People in the U.S. are also being asked to contact the Canadian government.

For more information on both of these emergency responses, please check out Courage To Resist's current action alert, www.couragetoresist.org

Until we hear otherwise, we must operate on the assumption that the Army will court martial Ehren Watada, beginning on Tuesday, October 9. Based on our experience of his first court martial, we should expect it to go on for two or three days.

Our challenge, to quote Mike Wong, is to "just do whatever the hell you can do with whomever is willing to do it with you."
We must let the Army and the world know that we have not forgotten Ehren Watada. We must demonstrate that we will defend all soldiers who stand up and say no to illegal, immoral wars.

What needs to be done? We must mobilize folks to show up at Fort Lewis next Tuesday. We should have a presence outside the gates on Tuesday morning. We should attend the court martial. We should probably have a rally at Fort Lewis on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.

Jeff Paterson of Courage To Resist, who was very involved with the mobilization for the February court martial, sends the following advice, complete with maps:

As for Ft. Lewis, just pick a time for a morning vigil (7-9am) and an afternoon rally (4-6pm) at Gate 119 on Oct. 9th and start spreading the word. People will pick up on that quickly. Tell people to bring their own signs and banners, make sure someone brings a bullhorn, and you are all set.
If people want to attend the trial, be at Gate 120 by 7:30am (assuming a 9:00am start).
Here are the maps with info we did for the Feb. events:
 http://couragetoresist.org/x/images/stories/ew/ew-map-lg.jpg
 http://couragetoresist.org/x/images/stories/ew/ew-fort-lewis-map.gif

Aside from showing up at Fort Lewis, what else can we do? What about folks who can't make it to Fort Lewis but want to show their support? There could be morning pickets at Federal Buildings. We could start writing letters to the editors of local papers. Perhaps some of you will have more creative ideas. People should feel free to act on their own or with their own groups.


Mike Wong can be contacted at  mlwong@jps.net
For more information: www.thankyoult.org

More Watada Information Sharing "“Do whatever the hell you can” 05.Oct.2007 17:11

Joe-Anybody /reposting iam@joe-anybody.com

Converge at the gates of Fort Lewis on October 9!

Submitted by madmal on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 8:50am.

The Army appears ready to retry First Lt. Ehren Watada a week from now—Tuesday, October 9—at Fort Lewis, Washington. As scheduled, the retrial will be heard by the same military judge that orchestrated the February mistrial in order to give the prosecution a "do-over" after they rested their case against the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Supporters of Lt. Watada and GI resisters are being urged to take action to highlight double jeopardy outrage!

Michael Wong, a member of the Watada Support Committee and Veterans for Peace, is working hard to mount a public response.

Mike Wong states:
This is in gross violation of law and the Constitution, because his lawyers have appealed against a second trial on the basis of double jeopardy. For quite some time, Ehren's lawyers were proceeding on the assumption that since the appeal is in progress in the court system, the Army would cancel or postpone the October 9th court martial. But now it is only a week away, and nothing has been canceled or postponed. The trial is looking very much like it is on.

Friends and allies around the country are being encouraged to hold teach-ins, demonstrations, press conferences (if you have lawyers who can address the double jeopardy issue, please have them speak), write letters to the editors, anything you can do, on the weekend prior to October 9 and/or on the day of.
Members of Veterans for Peace and other supporters in the Pacific Northwest are planning to again converge at the gates of Fort Lewis on October 9—even if in smaller numbers than the thousand person rally for Lt. Watada and GI resisters during the first trial in February. Supporters are again planning on attending the court martial on Fort Lewis by arriving early at the main gate.

Army Col. Ann Wright, one of Lt. Watada's attorneys, and supporters appeared this morning on KPFK Radio Los Angeles to talk about the case and upcoming actions.

Ehren's parents, Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi, and Carolyn Ho will be again be attending the court martial, along with supporters traveling from at least as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob Watada believes that "The Army wants Ehren sent to prison, no matter what. No matter the constitution or double jeopardy." It's hard to argue with him.

Mike Wong explains:
In pre-trial motions, the Army judge, Lt. Col. Head (the same judge who lied and forced a mistrial when things didn't go the Army's way in the first trial), said that double jeopardy didn't apply because they have "different rules" in the Army. When Ehren's lawyers cited specific Army regulations and case law that proved double jeopardy does apply in the Army, the judge simply rejected the facts out of hand. The entire pre-trial motions were very scripted and controlled by the judge, who told the prosecution what to say and limited what the defense lawyers were allowed to say. The appeal is still in process and there are several layers of appeal yet to be exhausted before the appeal has run its course. It is clearly illegal and unconstitutional to hold a trial until the question of double jeopardy is finally resolved - but the Army is doing it. It appears that Ehren is about to be railroaded by a kangaroo court in which the whole proceeding will be very controlled and scripted and the outcome pre-determined. After they "convict" Ehren and put him in prison, perhaps the Army will then say that since he's been convicted and imprisoned, the appeal is irrelevant and invalid. This is what is going down.

"There can be no question that the military judge acted precipitously and abused his discretion," explained Lt. Watada attorney James Lobsenz.

Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, who was Lt. Watada's defense lawyer during the mistrial, said in July, "I would expect they (the appeals court) would take the issues [of double jeopardy] far more seriously than Judge Head is capable of doing. I would never expect Judge Head to reverse himself but would certainly expect the Appellate Court to do that," Seitz said. "He was not the most competent judge I've met in my life."

However, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington, Virginia deferred in its decision to Judge Head, and the next of level of appeals—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces—appears content to simply sit back and watch what happens without taking action.
Army again subpoenas anti-war activists

The Army again subpoenaed regional anti-war organizers to take the stand against Lt. Watada. Back in July, Seattle Veterans for Peace organizers Gerri Haynes and Tom Brookhart were re-subpoenaed to "verify remarks Lt. Watada made to the VFP National Convention last August."

The remarks in question included:
Today, I speak with you about a radical idea. It is one born from the very concept of the American soldier (or service member). It became instrumental in ending the Vietnam War - but it has been long since forgotten. The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it. ...

I tell this to you because you must know that to stop this war, for the soldiers to stop fighting it, they must have the unconditional support of the people. I have seen this support with my own eyes. For me it was a leap of faith. For other soldiers, they do not have that luxury. They must know it and you must show it to them. Convince them that no matter how long they sit in prison, no matter how long this country takes to right itself, their families will have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, opportunities and education. This is a daunting task. It requires the sacrifice of all of us. Why must Canadians feed and house our fellow Americans who have chosen to do the right thing? We should be the ones taking care of our own. Are we that powerless - are we that unwilling to risk something for those who can truly end this war? How do you support the troops but not the war? By supporting those who can truly stop it; let them know that resistance to participate in an illegal war is not futile and not without a future.

Understandably, Lt. Watada is currently not making public statements in order to avoid additional charges being "piled on" by the Army.

Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace activist Phan Nguyen was re-subpoenaed by the prosecution to explain how Lt. Watada's initial June 7, 2006 press conference in Tacoma, Washington was organized.

These subpoenas read: "Enclosed is a copy of the travel order and subpoena for your production as a government witness in the court martial U.S. v. Watada. The trial is scheduled to take place from 23-28 July 2007. As the travel order states, the government will reimburse you for your mileage for all trips made to and from your place of residence to Fort Lewis, plus $40.00 a day attendance fees."

Last February, Oakland, California based journalist Sarah Olson made national news by voicing her objection to being subpoenaed, along with Honolulu Star Bulletin writer Greg Kakesako, by the prosecution. Sarah Olson declared, "A member of the press should never be placed in the position of aiding a government prosecution of political speech. This goes against the grain of even the most basic understanding of the First Amendment's free press guarantees and the expectation of a democracy that relies on a free flow of information and perspectives without fear of censor or retribution." In an interesting twist to the trial replay, the military has opted not deliver subpoenas to either journalist.
"Do whatever the hell you can"

Mike Wong sums up the situation, "Plans are being thrown together at the last minute, and as of now I can't tell you exactly what will happen or what plans different peace groups might develop. Basically we are all flying by the seat of our pants and I would say to everyone everywhere, just do whatever the hell you can do with whomever is willing to do it with you."

More here on my website about Lt Watada:

Exit 119
Exit 119

YAY 05.Oct.2007 19:12

gk

It's been HALTED!

Fort Lewis support rally on October 9 be cancelled 05.Oct.2007 22:24

peacevet

Fort Lewis support rally on October 9 cancelled, a stay has been issued by a new judge and it is unclear whether a new trial will take place or a dismissal will be issued. Either way, looking down the barrel of the Lt's argument made uncle sam blink :D

Is this really cancelled ? 06.Oct.2007 12:25

Ben Waiting

Antone have office information or a link?

trial is confired to be on HOLD 06.Oct.2007 13:20

Joe Anybody