Refusing to Kill is Not a Crime

Ehren Watada


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NEWS & UPDATES archive

The U.S. Justice Department under the Obama administration has decided to drop its appeal of a federal judge's ruling that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada cannot face a second court-martial resulting from his high-profile 2006 refusal to go to Iraq with his Fort Lewis brigade. 5 May 2009
Watada won't be retried on 3 of 5 counts. Citing the constitutional protections against being tried twice for the same crime, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada cannot face a second court-martial on three of five counts resulting from his high-profile 2006 refusal to deploy to Iraq with a Fort Lewis brigade. 22 October  2008
Court-Martial of Watada Might Not Come: U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on Thursday imposed a preliminary injunction to temporarily bar the Army from trying Watada a second time while saying the officer likely will prevail on the merits of his pending case. 9 November 2007
A win in U.S. District Court For LT. Ehren Watada: What we seek:  1.  Stop the Army from putting Lt. Watada on trial again.  2.  Drop all charges against Lt. Watada.  3   Release Lt. Watada from the Army and grant him an honorable discharge. 8 November 2007
In Los Angeles the Vigil to Protest Second Court-Martial of Lt. Watada will take place again on Monday, Oct. 15, 5:30-7:00 p.m. and every Monday until further notice at the corner of Alameda and First Streets in Little Tokyo.15 October 2007

Watada's Double Jeopardy no American can be tried twice for the same offense ... It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.  12 October  2007

Benjamin Settle stayed the Watada trial from beginning on Tuesday, October 9 and set a hearing for Friday, October 19. His ruling also states that the trial cannot begin until at least October 26. The bigger question is whether it will ever happen at all. Now there is no chance that this case is going to escape strict international scrutiny. None. 6 October 2007

Listen to Ehren Watada's lawyer in preparation for trial, 2 October 2007

Alert from Carolyn Ho and Mike Wong, Vietnam war refuser and Watada supporter, 29 September

Watada's court-martial halted by double-jeopardy argument.  Seattle Times 19 May 2007
Victory in Lt. Ehren Watada court-martial! If I am guilty of any crime, it is that I learned too much and cared too deeply for the meaningless loss of my fellow soldiers and my fellow human beings.  Lt. Ehren Watada  1 March 2007
Messages of support from Rosie O'Donnell and Stephen Funk
Audio report of Lt. Watada's Court-Martial. 
Listen to Margaret Prescot, Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike, and Eric Gjertsen, Payday men's network.   Click here
Refusing to join the killing
Ann Douglas of the Morning Star reports on Britain's part in the global solidarity campaign for US military refusenik Lieutenant Ehren Watada  
6 February 2007
1,000 rally for Lt. Watada at Fort Lewis during court martial
As Lt. Watada’s mother Carolyn Ho entered the legal building at 8:30 am, dozens of supporters, lined up across the street, erupted into cheers. This is probably not something that happens on Fort Lewis often
6 February 2007
Instead of Iraq, a battle all his own
Thousands of GIs have gone AWOL or voiced opposition to the Iraq war, but when an officer says he won't go, the whole military machine must take note. A Los Angeles Times article. 5 February 2007
Unpublished letters to The Guardian and The Independent,
by Michael Kalmanovitz, Payday 
5 February 2007
Photos of the International day of action 5 February 2007
Guardian (UK)
3 February 2007
San Francisco Chronicle 30 January 2007
Washington Post
4 January 2007
Amnesty International press release: USA war objector's freedom of conscience must be respected 2 February 2007
VIDEO: Watch Ehren's Speech at the Veterans for Peace Conference 12 August 2006.  Get a copy on DVD by writing to
Read the speech here.

Participating countries so far - International Days of Action 3-4-5 February 2007
England  Ireland  Phila Washington DC  2 February 2007

Watada Agreement Means Journos Won't Have to Testify in "Anti-War" Case. 29 January 2007

International Day of Action 5 February 2007
"Although officials claim that they do not care what the public thinks, they are certainly tuned in to the pulse of the national and international community.   Public opinion is a critical part of the defense and the prosecution must know that the world is watching." Carolyn Ho  
24 January 2007

Lt. Ehren Watada faces Court Martial for refusing to serve in Iraq
An interview with Amy Goodman, Democracy now
 23 January 2007
Judge refuses to consider legality of Iraq war
On January 16th, a Fort Lewis military court ruled that Lt. Ehren Watada cannot present defense arguments relating to the legality of the Iraq War.
  17 January 2007
Payday model letter of support.
Lt. Watada’s refusal speaks for millions.  Poll after poll around the world, including in the US, have shown public rejection of the war and the occupation of Iraq.

9 January 2007

National Day of Action 5 February 2007 - Lt. Watada Military Court Martial
"Help us mobilize the local, national, and international community through your personal, professional, religious and other networks." Carolyn Ho  
9 January 2007

Military injustice
There is no security interest at stake, and no matter of national urgency. The Army can make its case against Watada without pestering civilian journalists. Sustaining the military subpoena would set a troubling precedent. It's time for the Army to back off. 8 January 2007
Iraq Vets camp outside Ft Lewis to support Watada
"I am honored to know his family, they are a wonderful display of family values...something we don't see a lot of." Dennis Kynes 8 January 2007
Summary of pre-trial hearing - 4 January 2007 
The day began under dark clouds as over 100 supporters of Lt. Watada began to gather for a rally and vigil at a freeway overpass near an entrance gate to Fort Lewis.    5 January 2007
A Mother Fights for a Soldier Who Said No to War,  Washington Post article
Phoebe Jones of Global Women's Strike, an international antiwar network that supports Ho and Watada, was at Ho's side on Capitol Hill. "The work of mothers is protecting life, beginning with their children," Jones explained. "And that is really the opposite of the obscenity of war."
  4 January  2007;
A Mother’s Voice vs War - East Coast Tour of Carolyn Ho
The tour provided a platform for this mother who, like so many mothers, aunts and sisters, have campaigned tirelessly behind the scenes for war refusers  6 December 2006
Press release: Mother of Army Officer refusing Iraq deployment goes to Congress
“As a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his future to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that has transpired,”  Caroline Ho 
5 December 2006
» Jonathan Hutto solidarity statement with Lt Watada for Dec 2 The Appeal for Redress stands in solidarity with all those who resist the current occupation of Iraq, the mass murder of the Iraqi people, the harm and destruction done to American service members and their families and the ill use of American tax dollars which is diverted from much needed social programs on the home-front. 2 December 2006
Carolyn Ho, the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada – the first commissioned US Army officer to refuse to serve in Iraq – will be speaking across the Northeast and Midwest in support of her son. 16 November 2005
Carolyn Ho supports Michael Berg for Congress   Despite the tragic death of his son,  Nicholas, at the hands of his Iraqi captors, Michael has traversed the path of indescribable grief and transmuted his pain into forgiveness and the quest for peace.  He stands for an alternative to war.  Give peace and diplomacy a chance.  Vote Michael Berg for Congress.  6 Nov 2006

Carolyn Ho, mother of first commissioned Army officer to refuse to go to Iraq,
in Philadelphia  1 Nov 2006

Carolyn Ho's letter to her sisters in spirit    As a mother, I experienced shock, dismay and untold grief for him and his future. “What would it be like to be a stranger in one’s own country, to be vilified, hated, and demeaned?”  31 October 2006
Lieutenant Watada Faces New Charges. The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare.  18 september 2006
Officer's Refusal of Iraq Deployment Divides the Japanese American Community
A U.S. Army officer's refusal to go to Iraq has touched off an intense, at times furious debate among Japanese Americans, reopening an unhealed wound that dates back to World War II. 17 September 2006

Urgent Action Alert  Tell Fort Lewis: “No court-martial for Lt. Watada!”  28 August 2006

Watada hearing succeeds in placing war on trial This case is really about the duty of individual soldiers to look at the facts and fulfill their obligation to national and international law,” 26 August 2006
Lt. Watada addresses national veterans convention Today, I speak with you about a radical idea. It is one born from the very concept of the American soldier (or service member). It became instrumental in ending the Vietnam War - but it has been long since forgotten. The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it. 14 August 2006
Officer Faces Court-Martial for Refusing to Deploy to Iraq The New York Times: "if other officers followed suit, it would be nearly impossible to run the military". July 23, 2006

Vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada and Suzanne Swift
 on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields
12 July 2006, 5.30-7pm., Trafalgar Square, London

A Brief History of Military Resistance
The public refusals here at Fort Lewis (Washington) of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, Sgt. Kevin Benderman and Spc. Suzanne Swift to deploy to Iraq are the most recent chapter of a long and noble history of resistance within the U.S. armed forces. 
28 June 2006
Hundred gather at Washington capitol for Lt. Watada
Hundred supporters of Lt. Ehren Watada gathered near the Washington state capitol building yesterday. Holding signs that read “Refuse Illegal War Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada”,  26 June 2006
A letter from Ehren's mom
As a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his future to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that has transpired. My son no longer stands at the crossroads. He has chosen “the road less traveled.” Come what may, he is committed to staying the course.

International Day of Action in support of Lt Watada

 Tuesday June 27, noon – 1pm

Leafleting at National Constitution Center,
Market St. between 5th & 6th St., Philadelphia

Protest in Philadelphia called by Payday  (for info or to endorse, call 215-848-1120)

Payday's call in support of the Day of Action -- including model letter to US Embassies: The number of young men and women signing up for the military (particularly people of color) is at an historic low despite the pressure of the “poverty draft”.  In the UK, which has the second largest contingent in Iraq, the number of deserters has tripled since the invasion.
JUNE 27 "National Day of Action" To Stand With Lt. Watada!
Lt. Watada refused Iraq deployment today; under complete restriction and gag-order without charge.
An interview with Lt. Ehren Watada
The deciding moment for me was in January of 2006. I had watched clips of military funerals. I saw the photos of these families. The children. The mothers and the fathers as they sat by the grave, or as they came out of the funerals. One really hard picture for me was a little boy leaving his father's funeral. He couldn't face the camera so he is covering his eyes. I felt like I couldn't watch that anymore. I couldn't be silent any more and condone something that I felt was deeply wrong. 
07 June 2006
Statement from Payday in support of First Lt. Ehren Watada
In defending Ehren, we are defending ourselves and our sisters and brothers in every country against the devastation brought on by Bush’s “endless wars” and the billions of dollars stolen especially from those of us with least to pay for it. 
07 June 2006
Intial Call to Support Lt. Ehren Watada
“I refuse to be silent any longer.  I refuse to watch families torn apart, while the President tells us to “stay the course.” … I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression.  I wanted to be there for my fellow troops.  But the best way was not to help drop artillery and cause more death and destruction.  It is to help oppose this war and end it so that all soldiers can come home.”
- U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada 
 06 June 2006

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