"The bottom line is that the Justice Department was forced to drop charges because the evidence against the commander in chief was insurmountable. Lt. Watada always wanted a complete trial. He always wanted a full exposure of what is going on. This confrontation of truth was way too much for the Military Industrial Complex and they were forced to drop the charges."
Justice Department drops case against Fort Lewis war objector
Ehren Watada is seen in a file photo.
Story Published: May 6, 2009 at 3:12 PM PDT
Story Updated: May 6, 2009 at 3:25 PM PDT
By GENE JOHNSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - The Justice Department is dropping its appeal of a judge's decision that blocked the Army from retrying a Fort Lewis lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq.
Army spokesman Joe Piek said Wednesday that Fort Lewis officials learned late last week of the department's decision in the case of Ehren Watada, who claimed the war was illegal and publicly denounced President George W. Bush when he skipped his deployment in 2006.
Watada's first court-martial ended in a mistrial, over his objection. A federal judge ruled last fall that the Army could not try him again on key charges, including missing troop movement, because it would violate his constitutional right to be free from double jeopardy.
The Justice Department initially appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but later asked the court to dismiss the matter. The court did so Wednesday.
"Because there are no longer any criminal charges pending against Lt. Watada, and because (his) military service has been extended far beyond his normal release date, he anticipates that he will soon be released from active duty," his attorney, James Lobsenz, said in a news release. "He plans to return to civilian life and to attend law school."
But Fort Lewis leadership is still mulling how to handle two remaining allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer against Watada, Piek said. Options include court-martial, nonjudicial punishment such as docking his pay or giving him extra work, or kicking him out of the Army with either an honorable or dishonorable discharge.
"What is most troubling to us here is that the most serious charge of missing movement will not be decided upon by a jury of the lieutenant's peers," Piek said. "We're troubled by that on that on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have deployed."
The Courage to Resist: Watada To Face Court Martial Tomorrow
By Nicole Belle Wednesday Nov 07, 2007 3:46pm
"No person ?shall?be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb?"
Excerpted from the Fifth Amendment of the United States of America
So what is happening with Lt. Ehren Watada?
Znet: The double jeopardy clause of the US Constitution ensures that no American can be tried twice for the same offense. But at a time when our civil liberties are rapidly eroding, a drama is unfolding in Washington State over whether that constitutional protection applies to a US soldier.
After his February court-martial ended in a mistrial, Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq, seemed certain to face a second court-martial on October 9 at Fort Lewis, an Army base near Tacoma. Three military courts had rejected Watada's claim of double jeopardy, finding no abuse of discretion by the military judge in declaring a mistrial. But in an unusual civilian intervention in a military legal process, US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued a last-minute stay October 5 in Tacoma, temporarily blocking the trial.
That stay is due to be decided upon on Friday, November 9th.
Whether or not one agrees with Watada's actions that led to his trial, the rights granted persons within the borders of the United States, by the Constitution and its Amendments, are being eroded further by the actions George Bush's government is taking against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada.
Courage to Resist.org
Lt. Ehren Watada's Last Speech Before His Court Martial Hearing
28 min - Mar 31, 2007 - (2 ratings)
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