Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ehren Watada's 2nd court-martial 'set' for October 9th

The Honolul Star Bulletin reports Judge Toilet (aka John Head) has set a date for Ehren Watada's court-martial, October 9th. KGMB notes that the court-martial was supposed to start next week. Matt Misterik (Tacoma's News Tribune) observes:

The October date, if it stands, would put Watada back in court at about the same time his Stryker brigade -- the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division -- is scheduled to return from Iraq after a 15-month deployment.
The move does not come as a big surprise. Earlier this month, Watada's new attorneys tried to get military judge Lt. Col. John Head to disqualify himself from the case and also tried to invoke Watada's right not to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, known as double jeopardy.

If it stands? As Kenneth Kagan, one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, explained to Margaret Prescod last Tuesday on KPFK's Sojourner Truth, the defense expected the date to be announced last week and they expect the appeals process to continue. Judge Toilet has set a date and the issues of double-jeopardy and whether or not Toilet should disqualify himself are issues that will be decided by the appeals court. The setting of the date was expected and discussed by Kagan who explained that the Court of Appeals had made the decision that before they would rule on the two major issues, they'd allow Head to rule. Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (he went public in June 2006). Last February, a mockery of justice took place as Toilet stacked the deck against Watada for the first court-martial and, when the defense still appeared to be doing well, Head ruled a mistrial (after the prosecution has presented their case and over the objections of the defense).

In this morning's New York Times, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Ali Addeb's "Attacks in Kirkuk and Diyala Kill More Than 100 Iraqis" reports on the bombings in Kirkuk that led to at least 85 deaths (with the estimate that 9,000 pounds of explosives were utitlized) and also note:

Hours later, the Iraqi authorities said, men wearing Iraqi military uniforms stormed into a village in Diyala Province and killed 29 men, women and children. An Iraqi security official, Col. Ragheb Radhi al-Umiri, said the gunmen surrounded the victims and fired into the crowd. The attack occurred in a remote village north of Baquba, he said, and the bodies of some victims were "desecrated" before the attackers fled.
In response to questions, an American military spokesman in Baghdad said via e-mail that American forces had received a report from the Diyala Provincial Joint Coordination Center that men "wearing Iraqi army uniforms attacked Adwala village, killing 29 civilians and wounding four civilians," and that the attackers rode in new Iraqi police trucks. The coordination center serves as a clearinghouse for emergency response services in the province.

The article offers that either the uniforms and vehicles were stolen or the Diyala attacks were carried about by the trained and armed police. Which is more likely? "The uniforms were stolen!" has been repeated endlessly throughout the illegal war. Even when later reports demonstrate that they weren't. But how likely is it that police trucks and uniforms would be stolen without anyone noticing until after the attacks took place?

Lloyd notes Megan Greenwell's "Bombings Kill Scores in Kirkuk As Violence Escalates in North" (Washington Post) on the Kirkuk bombings:

The attacks this month are part of a pattern of increasing violence at a time of heightened tensions among ethnic Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen residents in the city and its environs. Former president Saddam Hussein sought to establish an Arab majority in Kirkuk, a center of Iraq's oil industry, but since his removal from power Kurds have worked to recapture control. Their efforts have angered Arab and Turkmen residents, who say they are being systematically driven out.
The attacks also furthered fears that insurgents pushed out of Baghdad by the increased U.S. military presence in the capital are focusing their efforts on the country's north, which has far fewer troops. At least 140 people died in the attack in Amerli, a mainly Shiite village 50 miles south of Kirkuk.

Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Monday and, also on Monday, a US helicopter killed one Iraqi. Meanwhile Hillary Borrud's "Army specialist arrested for going AWOL" (Victoria's The Daily Press) reports on Joseph Smith who re-elinsted in 2004 and was arrested -- not in a traffic stop, at his home where he lived with his wife Katie and daughters Maci and Jordan. His wife says he went AWOL twice. The second time was after he'd turned himself in at Fort Irwin and was assigned additional shifts without the additional pay needed to cover the expenses for his family. Borrud writes:

Joseph Smith sustained shrapnel from an improvised explosive device in one of his knees during the initial assault on Baghdad, after being blown out of his Humvee by a rocket propelled grenade, his wife said.
Seventy-five percent of Smith's squad were killed in that battle, according to a letter from 1st Sgt. Michael O'Neil in support of Smith for his first court-martial.

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