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Watada Court-Martial Declared a Mistrial

Posted on Feb 7, 2007

The court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada has been ruled a mistrial because of a dispute over a pretrial agreement. Watada’s attorney, Eric Seitz, called the ruling a “significantly positive event,” and said he hoped it would put an end to the case.


A date for a new court martial has been set for March 19 but lawyers for Watada said they hoped Wednesday’s ruling would mark the end of proceedings.

“The mistrial is very likely to have the consequence of ending this case because double jeopardy may prevent the government from proceeding with a retrial,” said Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Watada.

“Although the defense was prepared to proceed with Lt. Watada’s testimony, and felt very optimistic about this trial, we view the order declaring a mistrial as a significantly positive event.”

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By Lefty, February 8, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment
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Watada for President!  Although, I’d be happy with Jim Webb, too!

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By Jaded Prole, February 8, 2007 at 4:58 am Link to this comment
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This is a victory. Every day that goes by makes the case for Watadas’s legal refusal to participate in what is the greatest crime of our government. Still, a ruling in his favor would have been better in declaring the war illegal so that proceeding against the real criminals could begin.

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By 12001, February 8, 2007 at 2:46 am Link to this comment
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I join my voice with all other supporters of Watada and agree, he is a hero and actually a true leader for putting himself in the front line of fire against the injustice he knew was happening.

Two other points:

(1) As a military officer, Watada not only set a fine example for his men and the citizens he serves in standing up for his beliefs, but he set an example as an officer and an American for the personnel he commands against what he knows is an illegal war. In doing so, he sets himself higher than those in that “chain of command.”

I specifically recall the incidents from Vietnam where American soldiers were criticized and condemned for their actions, if not by the military, press, etc., then by their own neighbors and communities ... the American people ... when they returned home. Haven’t we, of that generation learned?!

(2) The pressure and influence of the Internet and sites like Truthdig, Digg, the numerous bloggers and individual sites online toward the political and legal community in this country is becoming more focused and more powerful than ever before.

I suspect that as there are more and more newszines like these joining Robert Scheer and others who bring the highlights of news stories that drastically need the attention of the American people, versus the Washington Post, NY Times, and others where you have to wade through massive amounts of information, citizens will be able to truly focus on issues that they can quickly and effectively make an impact on.

I encourage people to not only to follow these stories and these sites, but look at your various issues and interests and join a group or network, submit your input and participate, and make this the real ‘open’ information age.

I would never have known about Watada if not for the Internet, and wouldn’t have known about the real issues without the coverage by Truthdig and several other sites I follow daily. It gave me the opportunity to make my few comments here and on the other sites, cast my votes on polls, and to at least “feel” involved and as if I was “doing something” about an injustice.

I appreciate that.

Hats off again to Truthdig and its staff!

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By Russ, February 7, 2007 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment
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Military personnel have not just a right to refuse an illegal order, but a positive duty to do so.  The oath of allegience they swear is not to the chain of command but to the Constitution.  By ruling that Watada could not present testimony about the legality of the war, the judge was effectively denying him a trial.

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By charlie webb, February 7, 2007 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment
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Lt Watada is a hero for daring to oppose this immoral and unjust war/occupation.  Mahalo, Lt Watada!

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By Dale Headley, February 7, 2007 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
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Whether or not the military continues to pursue its case against Lt. Watada will pretty much show whether it’s only doing its duty, or whether it’s conducting a vendetta.

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By Mad As Hell, February 7, 2007 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
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Yet again, Bush hand-picked prosecutors forget that we STILL live under the US Constitution. And it takes an honest judge to make DAMN sure they know it!

It is an established priniciple in International Law that a soldier MUST disobey illegal orders.  This has been true since Nuremberg after WWII.  Since the war in Iraq is TOTALLY illegal, this officer is, in fact, a hero for defying his illegal orders.

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By Quy Tran, February 7, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
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The real justice must be served. Use court martial for Bush/Cheney and all of his servants who have created this illegal war against Iraqi people.

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