The Tahoma Activist

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Army moving to silence Lt. Watada

Mark Jensen of United for Peace Pierce County sends this dispatch regarding the latest servicemember in our area to reject deployment to Iraq:

Lt. Ehren Watada, who announced this week that he would refuse to obey an order to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that the order is illegal because the Iraq war itself is illegal, was told Thursday that an investigation into his public speech in opposition to the war in Iraq ws underway. A press release issued by Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada, a supporting organization, said: "Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement without a lawyer present. In response, Lt. Watada confirmed, 'I have a legal and ethical obligation to speak out against, and refuse to fight, this patently illegal war in Iraq. This has not hanged.' It is expected that the military is moving to stage a Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment hearing (Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) in order to impose even further restrictions on Lt. Watada. The military will likely focus their investigation on vague UCMJ articles that bar 'conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman' (Article 133) and 'any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President (or any senior members of government)' (Article 88)."

http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/4632/

1.

Press advisory

MILITARY ATTEMPTS TO STOP LT. WATADA FROM SPEAKING AGAINST ILLEGAL WAR

Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada
June 9, 2006

http://thankyoult.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=9

On Thursday, June 8, 2006 U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's commanding
officer moved to prosecute Lt. Watada for protected speech. An official
investigation into his public speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq
is underway. Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement
without a lawyer present.

In response, Lt. Watada confirmed, “I have a legal and ethical obligation to
speak out against, and refuse to fight, this patently illegal war in Iraq.
This has not changed.

Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Lt. Watada's legal team, declared: "It is
obvious that the military is simply trying to keep him from speaking out in
opposition to the unlawful war."

On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the
first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful
Iraq war and occupation. Standing before the national media at a Tacoma,
Washington, press conference, Lt. Watada outlined his duty to refuse the
illegal order to deploy in support of an illegal war. A showdown with
military is imminent as Lt. Watada's Stryker brigade is scheduled to deploy
from Fort Lewis, Washington, for Iraq within days.

Steve Morse, director of the GI Rights Hotline, a non-governmental legal
resource center for members of the military, explains: "When soldiers join
the military they swear to uphold our Constitution, they do not give up their
basic right to freedom of speech." According Mr. Morse, "Members of the
military clearly have the right to say what they think and feel about the
military, and even participate in peaceful demonstrations, as long as they are
off-duty, out of uniform, off-base, and within the United States. This is
outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6."

It is expected that the military is moving to stage a Commanding Officer's
Non-Judicial Punishment hearing (Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military
Justice) in order to impose even further restrictions on Lt. Watada. The
military will likely focus their investigation on vague UCMJ articles that bar
"conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman" (Article 133) and "any
commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President (or any
senior members of government)" (Article 88).



Thank you, Mark, for sending out this information, and may Lt. Watada receive the highest level of support our community can grant him. And don't forget the other casualties of this war fever, casualties such as Sgt. Kevin Benderman, who is still in jail for his refusal to deploy to Iraq.

Categories: War & Peace, Local Groups


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2 Comments:

At 11:06 PM, Blogger franktheliberal said...

I have considered an interview on our show with Lt. Watada. I do so with a certain amount of reticence. What the hell does that say about our (It USED to our)government that a small time radio talk show host like me fears retribution for considering an interview with a fellow American citizen? I KNOW our show is downloaded by several .mil and .gov IPs. I NEVER talk of sedition, or anything close. For two reasons. First; because I don't believe in harming my country in any way. Second; I FEAR my government.God help us.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Tahoma Activist said...

Frank, you should get Watada, and while you're at it, get Sgt. Benderman's wife and Captain Yee as well (the Gitmo chaplain accused of spying) We need real news for the Northwest!

Folks, if you haven't heard Equal Time on 1180 KLAY, check it out noon-1 PM every Friday! It's awesome!

 

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