BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
QUICKER THAN YOU CAN SAY "CONTRAS LOST!" JOHN NEGROPONTE BAILED OUT AS THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR AND SLITHERED OVER TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT WHERE HE WILL SERVE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE & ANGER CONDI RICE.
WHEN ASKED IF HE WAS BAILING BECAUSE "DEMOCRATS TAKING CONTROL OF CONGRESS ON THURSDAY HAVE PROMISED GREATER OVERSIGHT OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES" WITH THE SENATE INTELL COMMITTEE "PLANNING HEARINGS THIS MONTH ON THE INTELLIGENCE OVERHAUL THAT NEGROPONTE HELPED PUT IN PLACE", NEGROPONTE TOLD THESE REPORTERS WE WERE "BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE" AND "IF WE WERE IN EL SALVADOR RIGHT NOW, I'D KNOW JUST HOW TO HANDLE YOU BOTH."
AS WE WERE LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE, WE BUMPED INTO THE BULLY BOY WHICH GAVE US A CHANCE TO ASK HIM ABOUT HIS DECEMBER 20TH PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENT THAT, HE ASSERTS, GRANTS HIM PERMISSION TO READ ANY AND ALL MAIL IN THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT SEEKING A COURT WARRANT BEFORE SNOOPING. BULLY BOY EXPLAINED THAT NO ONE NEEDED TO WORRY, "I JUST LIKE TO KNOW WHO THE PUBLISHER CLEARING HOUSE WINNER IS EACH YEAR AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE."
"BESIDES," HE TOLD US, "MISS MILLIE IN DAYTON, OHIO WRITES ONE JUICY NEWSLETTER ABOUT HER NURSING HOME!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with Ehren Watada. In June, Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In August, the US military held an Article 32 hearing. Now the court-martial is set for February 5th and the pre-trial hearing began today at Fort Lewis is Washington. The pre-trial hearing will determine the framework in which arguments can be made. As noted yesterday, Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, has stated that the military is attempting to prevent Watada from making his case for why he refused to deploy.
During the Article 32 hearing, Watada's defense called three witnesses, Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois' College of Law, Champagne; Denis Halliday, the former Assistant Secretary General of the UN; and retired Colonel Ann Wright. These three witnesses addressed the issue of the war, it's legality, and the responsibilities of a service member to disobey any order that they believed was unlawful. The testimony was necessary because Watada's refusing to participate in the illegal war due to the fact that he feels it is (a) illegal and (b) immoral.
What the military would like to do in today's pre-trial hearing is reduce everything to whether or not Watada deployed with his unit? The answer, of course, is that he did not. The military does not want the issue of the legality of the war addressed. By closing off this discussion, they not only would destroy Watada's right to defend himself, they would be able, as the Bully Boy long has been able to, set the terms of the discussion and control what is and is not discussed.
Robbing Watada of his ability to present a full defense is a very serious issue and much more serious than fretting over whether a journalist might have to decide "Do I testify or not?" (No journalists will be testifying at the pre-trial.) But the most serious issue today is whether or not Watada will be allowed to present the best defense or if he will only be allowed to say "yes" and "no" in answer to the prosecution's questions or if, as Aileen Alfandary noted on KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), he will be able to argue that
the war is illegal? This stance, putting the war on trial, is one that worries the US military.
On the December 9th RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho (Ehren Watada's mother) noted that her son felt the decision was "the best thing he could do for his men .. . remain behind and speak truth" and that he feels his duty is to the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land in the United States.
Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports: "Peace activists, international law experts and war resisters past and present are girding themselves for events designed to drum up support for Lt Watada, recently described by Rolling Stone as 'one of this year's greatest mavericks'. Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that both sides "are expected to file several motions in preparation for his court-martial. Depending upon the motions, the judge could rule immediately or take several days to decide". Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) observes that this "opening round . . . could be key to defense hopes of putting the Iraq war on trial". As Sir! No Sir! noted in an e-mailing yesterday (click here), "The military's intention IS to SILENCE VOICES OF RESISTANCE and make an example out of Lt. Watada."
While much has been made of the press being asked to testify, Jeff Paterson, reporting for Courage to Resist, notes that activists have also received military subpoenas including Phan Nguyen (Olympian Movement for Justice and Peace) and Gerri Haynes (Veterans for Peace). If found guilty of all charges, Watada could be sentenced to six years.
A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College will take place in Tacoma, Washington later this month.
Ehren Watada is part of a growing resistance within the military that includes Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress this month.
Recommended: "Iraq Snapshot"
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