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.
Vigil: 7-9 am at I-5, exit 119,
From Olympia: car pool at 6:30AM from the usual location of Harrison and Division.
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 ( email@example.com) 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.
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
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.
Jeff Paterson < firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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:
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 email@example.com
For more information: www.thankyoult.org
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