Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ehren Watada scheduled to be discharged October 2nd

ehren watada

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that 1st Lt Ehren Watada will not "seek a second court-martial" and that they've "accepted the resignation of" Ehren and quotes him stating, "The actual outcome is different from the outcome that I envisioned in the first place, but I am grateful of the outcome."

In June 2006, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the illegal war in Iraq. June 22, 2006, his unit deployed at 6:45 am and, as he had stated, he refused to deploy. For perspective, that was also the day the US Senate voted to end the illegal war by July 2007 -- a proposal made by US Senators Russ Feingold and John Kerry. Only 13 US senators voted to pull all troops by July of 2007.

Back then, the death toll for US service members in Iraq stood at 2512. It currently stands at 4346 and, no, the Iraq War has not ended.

In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held. Watada's defense called three witnesses, Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois' College of Law, Champagne; Denis Halliday, the former Assistant Secretary General of the UN; and retired Colonel Ann Wright. These three witnesses addressed the issue of the war, it's legality, and the responsibilities of a service member to disobey any order that they believed was unlawful. The testimony was necessary because Watada's refusing to participate in the illegal war due to the fact that he feels it is (a) illegal and (b) immoral. Many weeks and weeks later, the finding was released: the military would proceed with a court-martial.

On Monday, February 5, 2007, Watada's court-martial began. It continued on Tuesday when the prosecution argued their case. Wednesday, Watada was to take the stand in his semi-defense. Judge Toilet (John Head) presided and when the prosecution was losing, Toilet decided to flush the lost by declaring a mistrial over defense objection in his attempt to give the prosecution a do-over.


Above is Isaiah's The World Today "Go Flush Yourself" depicting Judge John Head as Judge Toliet. Eventually the courts would tell John Head to go flush himself. He was insisting that a court-martial would begin against Watada in a few weeks when no court-martial could begin.

January 4, 2007, Head oversaw a pre-trial hearing. Head also oversaw a stipulation that the prosecution prepared and Watada signed. Head waived the stipulation through. Then the court-martial begins and Ehren's clearly winning. The prosecution's own military witnesses are becoming a problem for the prosecution. It's Wednesday and Watada's finally going to take the stand. Head suddenly starts insisting there's a problem with the stipulation. Watada states he has no problem with it. Well the prosecution has a problem with it and may move to a mistrial, Head declares.

The prosecution prepared the stipulation and they're confused by Head's actions but state they're not calling for a mistrial or lodging an objection. That's on the record. Head then keeps pushing for a mistrial and the prosecution finally gets that Head is attempting to give them a do-over, at which point, they call for a mistrial.

The case has already started. Witnesses have been heard from. Double-jeopardy has attached. The defense isn't calling for a mistrial and Head rules a mistrial over defense objection and attempts to immediately schedule a new trial.

He's ignoring the US Constitution which forbids double-jeopardy. He thought he could give the prosectution a do-over. That's not how the justice system works in the US, double-jeopardy is banned. In November of 2007, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled, "The same Fifth Amendment protections are in place for military service members as are afforded to civilians. There is a strong public interest in maintaing these rights inviolate." The military stated then that they would appeal. October 22, 2008, Judge Settle ruled there could be no retrial on the charges of missing deployment, participating in a news conference or participating in the Veterans for Peace conference. That left two charges up in the air which were questionable because the strongest charge was always going to be "missing deployment."

Watada was kept in the military all this time. His service ended in December 2006. Or should have. He was kept in the service to prosecute him. He was kept in the service and kept in limbo. His service contract expired in December of 2006 and instead of discharging him then, the military wasted his time and countless US tax payer dollars to conduct a nearly three-year assault on him. Audrey Mcavoy (Breaking News 24/7) reports that October 2nd is when the US military will discharge Ehren. At which point, Ehren can finally get on with his life.
ehren watada rosa and bob

Throughout the entire process, his mother Carolyn Ho and father Bob Watada and step-mother Rosa Sakanishi stood by him (Bob and Rosa are pictured above with Ehren), traveling the US and speaking out, going to DC and pleading with members of Congress.

Finally, October 2nd, it's supposed to be over.

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