Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Judge rules Ehren Watada cannot present a defense in court-martial

In a report he did for Free Speech Radio News which also aired on The KPFA Evening News yesterday, Mark Taylor-Canfield noted that Ehren Watada was the keynote speaker for one day of Seattle's MLK celebrations and, speaking to the crowd, Watada received a standing ovation. Taylor-Canfield also noted Camp Resistance had set up "just outside the gates of Fort Lewis where Watada's hearing is being held."

Ehren Watada awaits his February 5th court-martial and yesterday the 'judge' of the pre-trial hearing, Lt. Col. John Head, issued his ruling on the parameters of Ehren Watada's court-martial demonstrating the lack of "justice" in "military justice."

From Hal Bernton's "Watada can't base defense on war's legality, judge says" (Seattle Times):

In a major blow to the court-martial defense of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a military judge has ruled that the Fort Lewis Army officer cannot try to justify his refusal to deploy to Iraq by raising questions about the legality of the war.
The ruling released Tuesday sets the stage for a Feb. 5 court-martial trial, where Watada faces up to six years in prison for his failure to join his brigade in Iraq last June and his outspoken attacks on the Bush administration conduct of the war.

[. . .]
Head, citing federal court precedents, also rejected defense attorneys' claim that Watada's First Amendment rights shielded him from charges relating to his criticism of the war.

For those in the mood to get giddy with the Cheese Whiz, they can jaw bone over the symbolic, e-activism of a petition, in the real world, Ehren Watada just got screwed and had his defense stripped of him.

In the New York Times this morning, Damien Cave pulls the straw for covering the violence yesterday in the capital and he doesn't do a bad job in "3 Bombs Kill at Least 70 at University in Baghdad:"

In all, at least 108 people were killed in the capital, an Interior Ministry official said, and 25 more were found dead, many showing signs of torture.
American officials have emphasized that such violence justifies the imminent addition of 20,000 troops to make an immediate push to pacify the country.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Maliki, by contrast, issued a statement after the bombings blaming supporters of Iraq's "buried regime" for the violence, stressing again that Sunnis lay at the heart of the country's problems. He has repeatedly rejected American efforts to crack down on Shiite militias that attack Sunnis, and has demanded control of the effort to bring peace to the country.
His support for the American plan to add troops and stamp out violence from both sects has been tepid at best. On Tuesday, his office released a statement emphasizing that Iraq would continue to build up its armed forces "to prepare for the withdrawal of the multinational forces from the cities or the withdrawal of 50,000 American soldiers from Iraq."
Meanwhile, four American soldiers, from the First Cavalry Division, were killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Ninewa Province, northwest of Baghdad.

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