By Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith, The Nation. October 26, 2009
On June 7, 2006, a 28-year-old Army lieutenant named Ehren Watada released a video press statement announcing that he was refusing to deploy to Iraq because the Iraq War was illegal and his "participation would make me party to war crimes." After three years of trying to convict him by court martial, the Army has finally given up and allowed Lt. Watada to resign. Despite his direct refusal of an order to deploy, Watada did not spend a single day in jail.
Courage to Resist. October 8, 2009
Courage to Resist was delighted to join the Lt. Ehren Watada victory press conference organized by Asian Americans for Peace and Justice this morning in San Francisco Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square park. Ehren was the first military officer to publicly speak out against and refuse to deploy to Iraq back in June 2006. In February 2007, Ehren stood before a general court martial and faced seven years in the stockade as over a 1,000 supporters rallied nearby at the gates of Fort Lewis, WA.
To celebrate Ehren's long-awaited discharge last week, artist Betty Kano encircled the speakers’ podium with a traditional drum-call and poets and members of the community spoke out. Ehren never spent a day in the stockade and never backed down from his assertion that the Iraq War was and remains an illegal occupation. To understand how this victory came about, please checkout out "How Lt. Watada and GI resistance movement beat the Army" by Jeff Paterson, February 14, 2007.
By Audry McAvoy, Associated Press
The Army is allowing the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq to resign from the service, his attorney said late Friday. First Lt. Ehren Watada will be granted a discharge Oct. 2, "under other than honorable conditions," attorney Kenneth Kagan said. Watada told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin he was happy the matter has finally been closed. "The actual outcome is different from the outcome that I envisioned in the first place, but I am grateful of the outcome," he said.
Background: How Lt. Watada and GI resistance movement beat the Army
By Sari Gelzer, Truthout. May 14, 2009
In a victory for Lt. Ehren Watada, the Justice Department decided last week that it would drop attempts to retry the officer for his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Watada's lawyer, James Lobsenz, believes the decision was a case of legal realism. "They were going to have a really difficult time explaining why double jeopardy wasn't violated," said Lobsenz in reference to Watada's first court-martial, which ended in mistrial and would have violated his Fifth Amendment right to not be charged for the same crime twice.
Also: The trials of Ehren Watada
Last week Courage to Resist supporters took action to ask the Solicitor General to drop the Army's appeals against Iraq War refuser Lt. Ehren Watada. Yesterday, he did just that!
Mark Jensen. May 8, 2009
On Wednesday, at the request of the Justice Department, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dropped the government's case against Lt. Erhen Watada, which has been followed closely on this web site since June 7, 2006, when Lt. Watada publicly stated at Associated Ministries in Tacoma the reasons for his principled refusal to deploy to Iraq. -- The Associated Press said that "Watada's attorney, James Lobsenz, said in a news release that his client anticipates he will soon be released from active duty and 'plans to return to civilian life and to attend law school.'"
The Justice Department can say no to Army’s legal appeal; "Dear Solicitor General: Tell the Army to drop the appeal against Lt. Watada"
By the Ad Hoc Campaign to Free Ehren Watada. April 27, 2009
In June 2006, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada refused orders to Iraq on the grounds that the war was illegal and immoral. His court martial in February 2007 ended in an Army-contrived mistrial. In October 2007, the Army attempt to have a second court martial was stopped by a Federal judge who ruled that a second court martial would be double jeopardy. But the Army has not allowed Lt. Watada to leave military service. Instead, they have notified the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit of their plans to appeal the double jeopardy ruling. The Army has also threatened to revive old charges stemming from Lt. Watada’s speech in Seattle to the 2006 convention of Veterans For Peace.
By Mark Jensen, UFPPC. October 22, 2008
A federal judge said Tuesday that Lt. Erhen Watada cannot be retried on the most serious charges against him, because he is protected by the U.S. Constitution's ban on double jeopardy, the Associated Press reported.
Lt. Watada refused to deploy to Iraq in June 2006 on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal, and his U.S. Army court-martial in February 2007 ended in a mistrial.
By Courage to Resist. June 15, 2008
The U.S. Army’s case against 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada remains unresolved, 2 years after Lt. Watada boldly and publicly refused deployment to Iraq with his unit in June 2006. Seven months ago U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle set in place a temporary injunction against a second court martial after the prosecution and military judge orchestrated a mistrial during the first trial in February 2007.
Lt. Watada remains stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington where he works a desk job and is under no special restrictions. Though his term of service ended in December 2006, these ongoing legal proceedings prevent his release from duty.
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