[Marxism] Ehren Watada: Back on Trial

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Oct 1 16:25:11 MDT 2007


We received this letter today from supporters of Ehren Watada.
Please pass this on to everyone you know.


Ehren Watada

Dear folks,

The Army is threatening to go ahead with a new
court of martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada on Oct.
9th. This is in gross violation of law and the
Constitution, because his lawyers have appealed
against a second trial on the basis of double
jeopardy. For quite some time, Ehren's lawyers
were proceeding on the assumption that since the
appeal is in progress in the court system, the
Army would cancel or postpone the Oct. 9th court
martial. But now it is only a week and a couple
of days away, and nothing has been cancelled or
postponed. The trial is looking very much like
it is on, yet nothing has been confirmed one way
or the other.

If the court martial is indeed going to happen,
we need all the help we can get! We need all our
friends and allies around the country to hold
teach-ins, demonstrations, press conferences (if
you have lawyers who can address the double
jeopardy issue, please have them speak), write
letters to the editors, anything you can do, on
the weekend prior to Oct. 9 and/or on the day of.
Anyone who can to come to Ft. Lewis and support
Ehren in this critical moment, please come.

The catch here is that the Army has us set up: If
we mobilize in a big way and they postpone the
trial, we may look foolish if we don't frame it
right. On the other hand, if we don't mobilize
and the court martial occurs, Ehren can be
railroaded while his supporters are caught
sleeping. Either way, this looks like a perfect
ambush by the Army.

However, the primary legal point here is the fact
that an appeal on the basis of double jeopardy,
guaranteed in the Constitution, is under attack.
If we mobilize around this basic point, then we
are proved right no matter what happens. Even if
they postpone the court martial at the last
minute, the question would remain: Why did they
wait so long? By not canceling the court martial
immediately when the appeal on double jeopardy
was filed, they were attempting to erode the core
Constitutional principle of double jeopardy. In
that case, if they postpone or cancel the court
martial at the last minute, we can rightfully
claim a victory. If they proceed with the court
martial, we rightfully voice our outrage. By
simply speaking the truth to their power, we turn
their ambush on it's head.

Let me provide some background here. In
pre-trial motions, the Army judge, Lt. Col. Head
(the same judge who lied and forced a mistrial
when things didn't go the Army's way in the first
trial), said that double jeopardy didn't apply
because they have "different rules" in the Army.
When Ehren's lawyers cited specific Army
regulations and case law that proved double
jeopardy does apply in the Army, the judge simply
rejected the facts out of hand. The entire
pre-trial motions were very scripted and
controlled by the judge, who told the prosecution
what to say and limited what the defense lawyers
were allowed to say. The appeal is still in
process and there are several layers of appeal
yet to be exhausted before the appeal has run
it's course. It is clearly illegal and
unconstitutional to hold a trial until the
question of double jeopardy is finally resolved -
but the Army is doing it. It appears that Ehren
is about to be railroaded by a kangaroo court in
which the whole proceeding will be very
controlled and scripted and the outcome
pre-determined. After they "convict" Ehren and
put him in prison, perhaps the Army will then say
that since he's been convicted and imprisoned,
the appeal is irrelevant and invalid. This is
what is going down.

Ehren's parents, Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi,
and Carolyn Ho will be going up to Ft. Lewis for
the court martial. So will folks from the San
Francisco Bay Area including myself. Anyone who
can, please join us! For those who can't, please
organize some event in your local area to
publicize this issue. Thanks very, very much.

I apologize for this extremely late notice.
Ehren has been prevented from communicating
anything of substance to any organizers because
of heavy military surveillance, and this came to
our attention only now. As you can imagine,
there have been frantic discussions since then.
Plans are being thrown together at the last
minute, and as of now I can't tell you exactly
what will happen or what plans different peace
groups might develop. Basically we are all
flying by the seat of our pants and I would say
to everyone everywhere, just do whatever the hell
you can do with whomever is willing to do it with
you. Please circulate this email widely among
peace activists, thanks.

Michael Wong
Veterans for Peace chapter 69
Watada Support Committee
San Francisco
mlwong at jps.net

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