The judge in Lt. Ehren Watada's case will decide soon whether or not Ehren will even get to argue the illegality of the war in his court-martial on Feb 5th. Just in case the judge decides to prohibit such speech in the courtroom, local folks have put this together to make sure those arguments get their due time, and that Ehren and his lawyers get to make their case, even if only for the public.
Several noted figures are testifying, including Daniel Ellsberg and Ann Wright. Proceedings will be conducted in the same manner as formal congressional hearings, complete with each witness being sworn in (but on a copy of the U.S. Constitution instead of a Bible).
Full information below. All curious parties encouraged to attend.
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY.......
CITIZENS' HEARING ON THE LEGALITY
OF U.S. ACTIONS IN IRAQ:
The Case of Lt. Ehren Watada
January 20-21, 2007 (10 am-4 pm)
The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus
1210 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, WA
(corner of L St., one block west of Martin Luther King)
For immediate release: January 14, 2007
Media contacts: Cindy Sousa email@example.com
Linda Frank firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer contact: Brianna Copley
BUSHS IRAQ WAR GOES ON TRIAL
While Lt. Ehren Watada awaits his fate at a court martial at Ft. Lewis, Washington in February, American citizens, including Iraq War veterans, will come to nearby Tacoma to participate in a "Citizens Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq." The organizers of the January 20-21 tribunal indicate that it is of particular relevance to military personnel and their families, and welcome their attendance. Lietta Ruger from the Washington chapter of Military Families Speak Out states: "I do hope my brothers and sisters in military families will take an interest in this hearing as relevant to their immediate lives and concerns."
The Citizens Hearing will be an opportunity for internationally known experts to present their research into the wars legality, and for those personally affected by the Iraq War to present their experiences. U.S. public opinion against the war is at an all-time high and President Bushs surge strategy is not winning favor with the new Congress or with some soldiers and their families. Dr. Zoltan Grossman of the tribunal organizing committee asserts: The discussion within the White House and Congress has focused on how to fight the war, not why it is being fought. Under these circumstances, U.S. citizens (including military veterans and families) have the responsibility to start asking tough questions about the underlying premises of the war.
Lt. Watada maintains that the war on Iraq is illegal under international treaties and under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution. He further argues that the Nuremberg Principles and U.S. military regulations require soldiers to follow only "lawful orders." Lt. Watadas defense requested that these issues be admitted into the court martial, as they were in the 2005 Navy trial of Iraq War refuser Pablo Paredes. Citizens Hearing Panel Chair David Krieger asserts, If Lt. Watada cannot get a full hearing about the wars legality in a military trial, then his case should at least be aired in the court of public opinion.
Testifiers will include experts in military policy, international law and war crimes, including:
* Denis Halliday Former UN Assistant Secretary General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid;
* Daniel Ellsberg Military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War;
* Richard Falk Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University;
* Antonia Juhasz Policy-analyst and author on U.S. economic policies in Iraq;
* John Burroughs Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy Executive Director;
* Benjamin G. Davis Assoc. Prof. of Law, University of Toledo; expert on law of war;
* Francis Boyle Professor of international law at Univ. of Illinois (via video).
Testifiers will also include military veterans, and others directly affected by the Iraq War, including:
* Ann Wright Retired Army Colonel and State Department official;
* Darrell Anderson Army 1st Armored Division in Baghdad & Najaf; awarded Purple Heart; ;
* Harvey Tharp Former U.S. Navy Lieutenant and JAG stationed in Iraq;
* Geoffrey Millard 8 years in Army National Guard; awarded 13 medals;
* Dennis Kyne 15 years as Army medic & drill sergeant; trained in NBC warfare;
* Chanan Suarez-Diaz Former Navy hospital corpsman; Purple Heart and valor commendation;
* Nadia McCaffrey Gold Star Families Speak Out; Brussels Tribunal advisory board;
* Eman Khammas Iraqi human rights advocate (via video).
The format of the Citizens Hearing will resemble that of a congressional hearing. A panel of citizens will hear the testimony, examine witnesses, and issue a fact-finding report. Panelists will focus on the legality of the war, whether the invasion of Iraq constituted a "crime against peace, whether the military occupation of Iraq constitutes a "crime against humanity," and whether individual soldiers have an obligation or duty to refuse unlawful orders that may lead to war crimes.
The 12-member Citizens Hearing Panel will include veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as more recent veterans. It will include a military family member, Gold Star family member, and high school student (representing youth of military age). The Panel will also include a government leader, religious leader, labor union member, and health care worker. Half of the panel members are military veterans.
The Citizens Hearing will be held at the Evergreen State Colleges Tacoma Campus (1210 6th Ave.) on January 20-21, 2007 (10 am-4 pm). This event is free and open to the public. The program (including testifiers, panelists and ways to contribute) can be found at http://www.WarTribunal.org To help with volunteering, contact Brianna Copley at email@example.com For more information about the case of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada, go to http://www.ThankYouLT.org
Other local opportunities to hear testifiers on FRIDAY, Jan. 19:
* Antonia Juhasz, Evergreen Olympia campus,
Lecture Hall 1, 3:00-4:30 pm [free]
* Daniel Ellsberg, State Historical Museum
(1911 Pacific, Tacoma), 7:30 pm [benefit for tribunal]
X-posted to olywa_activists, peacevets, antiwar, cindy_sheehan