Saturday, July 07, 2007

Judge Toilet stinks up the law

We're starting off with Ehren Watada. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He took his stand in June of 2006 (took it publicly). The US military decided to court-martial him. In February of this year, at Fort Lewis, the joke of 'justice' took place. Watada was not allowed to mention his opinion on the legality of the war. The judge, Judge Toilet, aka John Head, refused to allow it to be mentioned. Watada was expected to say "Yes" or "No" when asked about his actions but he was not allowed to address why he took the steps he did.

And we were all supposed to play stupid (or pretend to be Judge Toilet) and act like that was justice. Prior to the court-martial beginning, an agreement was entered into by the prosecution and the defense with the judge's consent. On Monday, when the hearing began, Judge Toilet himself advised the jury (Watada went with a jury of his peers) about the stipulation (agreement). On Tuesday, the prosecution (badly) made their case. Wednesday, Watada was to take the stand. Suddenly Judge Toilet (noting how badly things went for the defense on Tuesday) began hinting (from the bench) that the prosecution might want to move for a mistrial. The prosecution didn't immediately catch the hint and stated they were prepared to go forward. (There was no legal reason to call a mistrial.) After he brought it up again, the prosecution was all for it. The defense objected. The National Lawyers Guild's Marjorie Cohn has noted that the Constitutional provision of double-jeopardy had already attached to the hearing. When Judge Toilet decided to ignore the defense objections and declare a mistrial, Watada should have then walked.

Those issues and more required a Court of Apeal. Yesterday, pretrial motions took place. And guess what? Judge Toilet declared himself in charge of the trial.

Adam Lynn's "No double jeopardy for Lt. Watada: Military judge also won't disqualify himself in case of Fort Lewis war protester" (The News Tribune) reports:

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head first refused to disqualify himself from the case, despite arguments from Watada's new attorneys that there is at least the appearance that Head cannot be impartial in this matter.
Head then ruled that trying Watada again wouldn't violate his constitutional right not to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, also known as double jeopardy.
Head is the same judge who declared a mistrial in Watada's first court-martial in February after he questioned whether the officer understood a pretrial agreement he’d signed.

How the above makes any sense? There's no justice and the US military is now not even attempting to give the impression that military justice is anything but a sick joke.

Kenneth Kagan and James Lobsenz are representing Watada and they discovered an e-mail that further turns the issue of 'justice' into a joke. The supposed judge was taking instructions in February from a superior in the military chain of command.

Judge Head is overstepping his bounds to anyone paying attention. AP's not paying attention. Their headline should read, "Same Judge Rules on Self." That's what's going on.

We'll note this from L.A. Chung's "War resister's predecessors stand with him" (San Jose Mercury News):

Besides the usual list of anti-war celebrities and politicians in Watada's corner, what impresses me most are the members of the Heart Mountain draft resisters. They know all about taking an unpopular stand on principle.
These are people like Mits Koshiyama in San Jose, Frank Emi and Yoshi Kuromiya in Los Angeles, and others. They know the personal cost can still resonate and sting, even after 60 years.
Heart Mountain, Wyo., is where so many Japanese-Americans from Santa Clara

County were interned during World War II. A group called the Fair Play Committee rose up in reaction to a move to draft young men from the camps to fight in the segregated - and storied - Army unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Branded as draft resisters, and condemned by the leading community organization - the Japanese American Citizens League - the committee persevered through their trial on principle. They would gladly fight if their country first treated them equally as citizens - restored their civil liberties, released their families from internment camps. In the largest mass trial in U.S. history, 63 were convicted of draft evasion, and they spent nearly two years in jail before the convictions were overturned on appeal. Koshiyama, who worked for years as the gardener at Willow Glen High School, was one.

Martha notes Josh White's "Alleged Slayings In Fallujah Spur Military Inquiry" (Washington Post):

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing allegedly wrongful killings of suspected Iraqi insurgents during heavy fighting in Fallujah in November 2004, but officials said yesterday that no criminal charges have been proposed so far.
Military officials and civilian defense lawyers familiar with the investigation said a group of Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment have been questioned. Other soldiers in the same company have been criminally charged in the 2005 slayings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq.

The New York Times offers nothing. (An article -- one -- and we're not interested -- buried inside the paper.) In the real world, US service members and British ones have been announced dead. Starting with the British.

The UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sorrow that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death yesterday, 6 July 2007, of a soldier of 4th Battalion The Rifles at the Basra Palace base in Basra city centre, Southern Iraq." And they announced: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence can confirm that a British soldier has been killed during a large scale operation in Iraq during the early hours of this morning, 7 July 2007." The two deaths bring the ICCC total to 158 for the number of British soldiers who have died in the illegal war since the start.

Today, the US military announced: "An MNC-I Soldier died July 6 of a non-battle related cause." And they announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed July 5 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "Two Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near a combat patrol in a eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 6. Three other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." And they [PDF format warning] announced: "A Multi- National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when a patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in western Baghdad July 5." And they [PDF format warning] announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed by an explosively-formed penetrator targetin a combat patrol in a southeastern section of Baghdad July 6. An interpreter was also killed and three other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The 7 deaths bring the ICCC total to 3601 since the start of the illegal war. This would be noted in the title of the entry but I hadn't looked at the announcements until after I e-mailed the title (see a bit below). There's also an issue about the totals that will be noted later today.

Moving to the public account quickly . . .

Last Saturday, a visitor noted this from Radar on Adam Kokesh. I didn't see it until Monday and meant to work into a snapshot last week. Hopefully that will happen this week. On visitors. Rita S****, you have been asked [by me] for six months to stop e-mailing your forwards. I do not know you, I've never met you. Your e-mail forwards are racist and offensive. If you do not stop e-mailing them (what is it, daily?), I'll pick the most offensive one, put it an entry here and put your e-mail address with it so that others who are offended can weigh in to you personally.
That you are pro-war doesn't bother me. Were you writing to scream about something up here, I wouldn't be bothered. But that you continue to include me in your 'circle of hatred' bothers me. A week or so ago, Shirley mentioned one of the offensive e-mails and that almost got posted. Instead I asked Shirley to just (again) e-mail you and tell you to stop sending. We've blocked you, you keep coming back. Go away. The public account gets enough e-mail and when I'm rushing (like this morning) and trying to go through as much as I can (not all), I don't want to see your name as a sender. Next time I do, your racist crap will go up here (edited with "*"s) so everyone can realize how disgusting you are and I will include your e-mail address so that they can share their thoughts with you. You have been repeatedly asked, for over a year [by Martha, Shirley, Eli, Ava and Jess], to stop e-mailing. You have been blocked but that only makes you create a new e-mail account and continue e-mailing. Go away or suffer the consequences.

No one working the public account needs to suffer through your nonsense. I'm sure your "Christian to Christian" e-mails are sincere. I'm also sure that many slave owners had the same attitude then that you do today. They were insane and so are you. Go away.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

Jess filled in for Trina.

I've e-mailed the title to the site (for those e-mailing to ask where the entry is?). Blogger/Blogspot is acting up again. There would be no title for this entry otherwise. That's something happening at all Blogger/Blogspot sites. You'll note that at other community sites. It's been described elsewhere. I'll note I wouldn't have a title if I hadn't used the e-mail option to e-mail a blank post (other than title) to the site. For whatever reason, in Blogger/Blogspot currently, you can't type in the field for the title. You click and the cursor doesn't even show up in it.

That's it for this morning. I'll do another entry later today and note Margaret Kimberley and the issue on the count. The e-mail address for this site is