Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ehren Watada and Agustin Aguayo

Ehren Watada. As Jane Cutter's "Lt. Ehren Watada to face court-martial for resisting Iraq war" (Party for Socialism and Liberation) notes today:

On Nov. 11, the U.S. Army announced that Lt. Ehren Watada will be court-martialed for missing troop movement as well as for multiple counts of "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman." These charges result from his public opposition to the imperialist war in Iraq.Political charges of "contempt towards the president" were dropped. However, Watada still faces a possible four years in prison for political speech critical of Iraq war. The trial date for the court-martial has not yet been set, but is expected to be in early 2007.

January 4th will be the pretiral hearing, February 5, 2006 is when the court-martial is scheduled to begin. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to fight in Bully Boy's illegal war. This morning, Watada holds a news conference via the telephone:

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: Trevor Fitzgibbon, 202-246-5303, or Alex Howe, 202-822-5200, or Lai Ling Jew, 212-584-5000, all for Lt. Ehren Watada
News Advisory:
Lt. Watada, First Army Officer to Refuse to Serve in Iraq, Speaks Out on Upcoming Court Martial
Pre-Hearing Tele-news Call Tuesday, 9 a.m. EST
Fears Gag Order May be Imposed Soon
Journalists May Be Subpoenaed
Lt. Ehren Watada is the Army's first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. Lt. Watada refused on grounds that he believes the war to be illegal and immoral. He is being charged with conduct "unbecoming an officer" and will hold a telephone news conference call on Tuesday at 9 a.m. EST to discuss the charges against him and his upcoming court martial.
His lawyer, Eric Seitz, and his father, Bob Watada, will also be present.
Recent correspondence with the presiding judge gives strong indication that a gag order for Lt. Watada, his attorney, and anyone affiliated with the case, may be imposed. Journalists who have already interviewed Lt Watada may be subpoenaed.
The pre-trial date is scheduled for January 4 and 5. The trial date is February 5. The substance of Lt Watada's case is likely to be more thoroughly aired at the pre-trial hearing then at the trial itself.
WHO: Lt. Ehren Watada, Attorney Eric Seitz, Bob Watada (Ehren's father)
WHEN: 9 a.m. EST
Call in number for journalists: 1-877-707-9628. Conference ID: "Iraq"

As Ruth wondered last night, noting the lack of previous coverage from much of independent media and recalling a Blondie song, "Will Anything Happen?"

The same question applies to US war resister Agustin Aguayo. Yesterday, Aaron Glantz filed a report on The KPFA Evening News about Aguayo (those without the ability to stream or listen online can click here for a summary). Briefly, in July 2004, the army denied Aguayo's application for c.o. status. Not only did they deny it, they told him that his appeal wouldn't be heard until after he returned from Iraq on another deployment. Aguayo, who self-checked out in September of 2006 and turned himself back in September of 2006, filed a civil lawsuit. A federal court sided with the military. Today the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. hears Aguayo's suit. Glantz noted it was the first suit of it's kind "for a federal court since 1971". Regarding the coverage, will anything happen?

Here's what is happening, from David S. Cloud's "U.S. Considers Raising Troop Levels in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times:

Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, 'temporary.' Like the raising troop levels in August back up to the amount on the ground in December 2005 (to prepare for those 'free' elections) was 'temporary.' Remember that? The juiced up 'crackdown.' The 'crackdown' that cracked up. That was 'temporary.' It's November and the levels have remained the same and now the Pentagon explores adding even more (while the "Decider" says he hasn't "decided" what to do yet) but this addition, if it happened, would, of course, be 'temporary' as well.

Here is temporary for the US military: 2687. That's the official count for American troops who have died in Iraq. There lives were 'tempoary.' Ended by an illegal war that is far from 'temporary' because Bully Boy has bragged that the next occupant of the White House will have to deal with Iraq, he intends for the illegal war to continue as long as he is in office.

To repeat the question regarding independent media, will anything happen?

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ehren watada