POSTED: 13 November 2006 - 5:00pm HST

Army moves forward with court martial of Lt. Watada

by Peter Haley on 11 November 2006 for the Associated Press

Political charges of “contempt towards the president” dropped; four years prison still possible for political speech critical of Iraq War. Trial expected early 2007.
Also: Kyle Snyder remains AWOL, continues to speak out against the war

Army moves forward with court martial of Lt. Ehren WatadaLt. Watada, father Bob Watada, step-mother Rosa, and lawyer Eric Seitz during a pre-trial hearing break on Fort Lewis, August 17, 2006.

After an unexpected delay, the Army has announced the forwarding of charges against Lt. Ehren Watada by Fort Lewis Commanding Officer Lt. General James Dubik. Lt. Watada is to be court martialed for missing movement (article 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and multiple counts of “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman” for his public opposition to the illegal and immoral occupation war in Iraq.

In a pre-trial victory for Lt. Watada, the Army has retreated on all counts of “content towards government officials” – specifically President G. W. Bush. The last known prosecution of this article was in 1965 resulting from Lt. Henry Howe’s opposition to U.S. foreign policy during the Vietnam War. Lt. Watada’s defense team believe the military favors the conduct unbecoming charges for their overly broad nature, versus the more controversial “contempt of officials” that would have opened the door to the obvious question, “can speech be contemptuous, if it is factual?”

Lt. Ehren Watada responds
"The referral of the charges was not unexpected. I'm moving forward as I always have with resilience and fortitude to face the challenges ahead . . . I think the recent elections show more and more Americans are opening their eyes, but we aren't there yet. I hope that actions such as mine will continue to help expose the truth behind the fundamental illegality and immorality of the war," said Lt. Ehren Watada.

"The reason I spoke out, I saw that what was being done in terms of this war was so illegal and so immoral, and not being checked. It was a danger to our troops and a danger to our country. So, I think what needs to be done is some kind of accountability in Washington (D.C.) and also investigations into how this war was started in the first place."

Lt. Watada told reporters at a press conference last Thursday that "almost every day, someone from the military or the outside sends me some kind of correspondence or approaches me in person to render support or their respect.”

December 8-10 days of action
to support Lt. Watada & all GI resisters

It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of Lt. Watada and the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI’s who have in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and stood up for their rights.

Widespread public support and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We call for the following:

1) Support for all war objectors
2) Protect the right to conscientious objection
3) Protect the liberties and human rights of GI's
4) Sanctuary for war objectors

In the Pacific Northwest, these actions will serve as a warm up for larger mobilizations and events to coincide with Lt. Watada’s trial early next year. The actual court martial date has not yet been sent.

Citizen’s hearing on Iraq, January 20-21
One important event in support of Lt. Watada’s courageous stand in opposition to the illegal and immoral occupation war in Iraq already underway is citizen’s hearing to be held in the Seattle area over January 20-21. Confirmed participants include David Kreiger and Daniel Ellsberg, while Veterans for Peace and Gold Star Families for Peace have joined the effort. More information coming soon!

Bob Watada, currently in middle of a cross-country speaking tour in support of his son Ehren, responded to the referral of charges by declaring, “People come up and tell us that Ehren is a true American hero. Of course, we are concerned about the outcome of the trial, but we are very gratified with the enormous support from a broad sector of the American people."

Visit for up-to-date information for the campaign to support Lt. Ehren Watada.

Kyle Snyder remains AWOL, continues to speak out against the warKyle Snyder, with Ehren Watada's father Bob, step-mother Rosa, and Iraq War resister Darrell Anderson, in Cincinnati, Ohio. November 2, 2006. Photo: Maleah Friesen
Kyle Snyder, Iraq veteran and war resister, remains AWOL after returning last week from Canada and attempting to be discharged from the Army.

At the risk of arrest, he is speaking out bravely on behalf of war resisters and active duty GI's. Kyle has been speaking to the media, in public forums, to university students, to military age youth and even to those in the military.
“When I joined the Army I took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, and that is what I am doing. By refusing to fight in an illegal war, I am obeying international laws," Snyder explains.

His former unit, the 94th Engineers, now based at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, is slated to return to Iraq in January for the 3rd time. The Army wants Kyle to return to that unit, and will not say what they will do when he does. Military authorities at Ft. Leonard Wood have not yet returned calls from Snyder's attorney, Jim Fennerty, of Chicago.

Fort Leonard Wood Office of the Commanding General
Major General William McCoy, Jr
and the
Public Affairs Office


Demand that the Army "Discharge Kyle Snyder with No Punishment"
It is clear that the vast majority of Americans want the war to end and the troops to come home. This is the moment to give our full support to Kyle Snyder and all war resisters.

Send your words of encouragement and support to Kyle Snyder at:

Donations are still urgently needed for Kyle's legal and political defense!
For updated action alerts, information, and to donate visit:

Take Action to Support GI Resistance & GI Rights Dec. 8-10th!
Military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned community members call for public actions and events Dec. 8-10th!



POSTED: 15 September 2006 - 10:00am HST

Army escalates charges against Lt. Watada

Pacific Northwest gears up to supprt Lt. Watada from Portland to the Canadian border on 27 June 2006

press release by Friends and Family of Lt. Watada on 15 September 2006

In a surprise move today, the U.S. Army chose to add an additional specification under the charge of Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman for comments Lt. Ehren Watada made Aug. 12 during a speech to the Veterans For Peace national convention in Seattle. Lt. Watada stated “to stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.” The additional, gratuitous charge raises the stakes in the widely publicized and controversial case of the first military officer to publicly refuse to fight in the illegal Iraq war and occupation.

It is unknown if the military intends to hold another Article 32 pre-trial hearing to review the new charge, or simply railroad it directly to court martial. A final decision on the forwarding to court-martial on all seven charges now pending against Lt. Watada remains forthcoming from Fort Lewis Commanding General Lt. Gen. James Dubik.

If convicted of all charges, Lt. Watada could now face over eight years in prison, more than six of them for publicly voicing his opposition to what he considers an illegal and immoral war.

In June Lt. Watada stated, in language reminiscent of the House Minority Judiciary Committee report “Constitution in Crisis” that “the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law,” and that he felt his “moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not those who would issue unlawful orders.” Many groups and legal experts have weighed in on Lt. Watada’s right to publicly explain the rational for his actions. The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief defending Lt. Watada’s right to respectfully and publicly explain his refusal to deploy.

In a written recommendation for court-martial issued last month, Investigating Officer Lt. Col. Mark Keith had explained that it was not Lt. Watada’s “physical conduct (manner of expression, demeanor, oral communication skills)” that he felt warranted the charges of conduct unbecoming, but rather Lt. Watada’s “message.” Paradoxically, the Army has consistently chosen to act in ways that publicize that message.

"Lt. Watada is a principled and sincere young officer who has deeply held and serious legal and moral objections to participating in the current war in Iraq. He attempted to articulate those concerns to his command before the matter became public,” Eric Seitz, Watada’s civilian defense attorney, wrote in a rebuttal submitted to the military court late last month. “[T]he Army’s unwillingness thus far to seek any reasonable solution or outcome of this situation certainly has placed Lt. Watada into a position where he has little or no choice but to vigorously defend himself against charges that we submit are extravagant and unjustified,” Seitz wrote.

Friends and Family of Lt. Watada is moving forward with plans for a national mobilization near Ft. Lewis in support of bringing the troops home, a "people's tribunal” on the legality of the Iraq War, and many other events leading up to a possible court-martial.



POSTED: 13 September 2006 - 8:00am HST

Mother defends Son’s War Stance

Watada supporters gather outside of Fort Lewis, Washington. June 19, 2006

Hawaii Native Refusing to Deploy to Iraq
by Amanda C. Gregg on 11 September 2006 in The Garden Island

Addressing a room full of residents at Small Town Coffee in Kapaa about the possible court martial of her son, Carolyn Ho’s talk of peace and the importance of accountability in the military offered fodder for Sunday morning locals and activists.

Ho’s son, Lt Ehren Watada, refused to go to Iraq and fight in what he has cited as an “illegal war.” Watada issued statements that “the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well. I must refuse that order.”

Speaking on Watada’s behalf, Ho said Sunday that in her son’s preparations to go to Iraq, he determined that the government’s reasoning behind going to fight in the Iraq war was wrong.

“The (United Nations) charter, which is part of the U.S. Constitution, expressly states that countries cannot go to war unless the security council votes for it,” Ho said.

“People say the U.S. Congress can allow the president to make war, but the U.S. Congress was given information that was deceptive--that there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction--and it made a decision on that basis.”
Watada is awaiting a possible court-martial in Fort Lewis, Wash., expected to be scheduled within the next few months. A court-martial is a military court that determines punishments for members of the military subject to military law.
In the meantime, Watada has been reporting for duty that includes completing paperwork in Fort Lewis.

While Watada is in Washington, Ho has been traveling throughout Hawaii and the Mainland to heighten awareness on the issue and to garner support.

Watada’s father, Bob, is also spreading the word by touring the Pacific Northwest to rally others and raise money for his son;s defense.

The work has been strenuous, Ho said. Ho also is a high school counselor.
“It’s really difficult. I’m going on just a few hours’ sleep,” she said.

But what Ho is hoping for takes work.

“What we’ve envisioned is to have thousands of people come out to the highway and the streets that surround Fort Lewis and have a group that plans to do so with demonstrations,” she said.

Ho is also rallying experts on international law to try to assemble testimony to benefit her son’s case, she said.

Watada, born and raised in Honolulu, is the first enlisted officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq.

for more about Lt. Ehren Watada:



POSTED: 21 August 2006 - 7:00am HST

Lieutenant refuses illegal war in Iraq:

Learn more September 10th on Kauai

Lt Ehren Watada speaks in Seattle at the Veterans for Peace convention on 8/12/2006 Lt Watata 8-12-06 click here or on image to see Watada speech

Come support Lt Watada on Kauai September 10th
by Linda Pascatore on 22 August 2006

The Kauai Peace Ohana, in conjunction with the United Church of Christ, welcomes Carolyn Ho, Lieutenant Watada’s mother, to Kauai to speak at three events on Sunday, September 10th. Carolyn Ho will make an appearance at Small Town Coffee in Kapaa between 10:30 am and 12:00 noon to speak to the public and answer questions. An evening event will be held at the United Church of Christ across from the library in Hanapepe, featuring a potluck dinner from 5:30 to 6:00. This will be followed by the showing of the movie, "Sir! No Sir!" . The film documents the GI resistance during the Vietnam War. After the movie, Ho will address the public, and conduct a question and answer session.

Update: Carolyn was also scheduled to speak at the Kauai Veteran's Center on Kapahule Highway in Lihue between 1:00 and 3:00 pm. Although the Kauai Peace Ohana had already reserved the room at the Vet's Center for this event, when the board met, they withdrew their permission. We are currently looking for a new venue.

for more about Lt. Ehren Watada:

Hearing of Lt Watada’s case is In Progress
by Linda Pascatore on 20 August 2006

Lieutenant Ehren Watada is a young army officer from Hawaii who has said no to the illegal war in Iraq. Watada has twice requested that he be allowed to resign his commission, and also volunteered to serve in Afghanistan or other location besides Iraq. These requests were denied by the army.

On Thursday, August 17th, Lt Watada’s hearing commenced at Fort Lewis, near Seattle, Washington. Lt Watada is charged with missing troop movement (when he refused to deploy to Iraq), contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer (because of public comments he has made about the war). The hearing officer will be deciding whether or not Watada will face a court marshall, with a possible penalty of up to seven years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Watada’s lawyer, Eric Seitz of Honolulu, called three experts in international law to testify for his client. Harvard trained University of Illinois professor of International Law Francis Boyle (who has spoken here in Hawaii on the sovereignty issue) testified that the administration lied to congress in what constitutes “ a conspiracy to defraud the United States government”. He claimed that “A soldier has an obligation to disobey illegal orders.”

Other witnesses for the defense were Denis Halliday, was formerly a United Nations assistant Secretary General, and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright.

Wright testified that Army personnel are trained that they do not have to follow unlawful or illegal orders. She said, “It’s in the spirit and ethos of the military that you have to distinguish between lawful and unlawful orders”.

The Army’s prosecutor, Captain Dan Kuecker, played a video of Lt. Watada’s recent speech before the Veteran’s for Peace Convention. The video was used as evidence of the charges of Contempt toward Officials, and Conduct Unbecoming an Officer. Watada’s lawyer said that military officers retain their free-speech protections. The American Civil Liberties Union has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that Watada should not be punished for his public statements.

In the video, Watada said, “It is time for a change, and change starts with all of us”. He offered the veterans a “radical idea”: “To stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it”.

Watada’s lawyer, Eric Seitz said that he expected that his client will face a court-martial, and that they are prepared to take this case to the Supreme Court.



POSTED: 1 August 2006 - 7:00am HST

Hawaii Officer refuses Illegal War

Lt Ehren Watada Refuses Deployment to Iraq
by Linda Pascatore on 30 July 2006

Vigil to support Lt Watada, and oppose the Illegal War in Iraq
Friday, August 4th from 7 to 8 pm

Held simultaneously at 3 locations on Kauai:

In front of Kapaa Library
In front of KCC campus in Puhi
In front of the United Church of Christ in Hanapepe

Please bring candles and signs

Hawaiian born Lt. Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. He believes that the war and occupation are illegal, and thus his participation in the action would also be illegal.

On June 22nd Lt Watada reported to duty at Fort Lewis, Washington, but refused orders to prepare to fly to Iraq. The Lieutenant was restricted to base under a complete gag order. His family and friends are actively advocating for him.

Watada press conference in Jun 2006

Ehren Watada was born and raised in Honolulu. He signed up for a three year term as an Army Officer, which was to have concluded in December of this year. In January, 2006, Lt Watada first asked to resign his commission because “I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership.

Erhan & his parents in June 2006

Lt Watada’s mother, Carolyn Ho, stated, “My son’s decision to refrain from deploying to Iraq comes through much soul searching. It is an act of patriotism. It is a statement to all Americans, to men and women in uniform, that they need not remain silent out of fear, that they have the power to turn the tide of history: to stop the destruction of a country and the killing of untold numbers of innocent men, women, and children. It is a message that states unequivocally that blindly following orders is no longer an option. My son, Lt. Watada’s stance is clear. He will stay the course. I urge you to join him in this effort.”

Bob Watada with son Ehren

Ehren’s father, Robert Watada has tentatively agreed to come to Kauai to speak on this issue on September 10th. He will also be featured on KKCR next Wednesday, on Tracey Schavone’s show from 1:15 to 2:00.

For more information and related articles, and to sign a petition supporting Watada or to donate to his defense, go to