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Lt. Watada refused orders this morning to deploy to Iraq


ThankYouLT.org June 23, 2006

Please Visit www.thankyoult.org

Now under confinment and complete gag-order without charge

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada reported to duty at 2:00 a.m. early this morning at Fort Lewis, Washington, and refused orders to move to the adjacent McChord Air Force Base to prepare to fly to Iraq. Lt. Watada believes that the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal.

Lt. Watada's attorney Eric Seitz said, ?This morning Lt. Watada has been restricted to base without any actual charges or proper process. By placing a complete gag order on Lt. Watada, the military has again shown that their first concern is silencing Lt. Watada's speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq. We will immediately challenge these highly questionable and improper restrictions." Mr. Seitz is currently the only non-military person authorized to have any contact with Lt. Watada.

Lt. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the war in Iraq. By refusing to participate in the on-going Iraq war and occupation, Lt. Watada joins a growing number of high ranking military officers, West Point graduates, and current and former members of the armed services who have expressed their opposition to the actions of the United States in Iraq. Lieutenant Watada's refusal comes in the wake of a series of charges and convictions against lower ranking soldiers for participation in war-related crimes: 9 Marines charged with premeditated murder yesterday, charges of a massacre in Haditha, Iraq and convictions at Abu Ghraib Prison.

Lt. Watada faces possible court-martial charges for refusing to participate in the Iraq war and occupation and intends to defend himself based on the illegality of the Iraq war and occupation. Lt. Watada, age 28, was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where he enlisted in the Army and was obligated to serve on active duty as an Army officer for a term of three years concluding on December 3, 2006. Lt. Watada was stationed at Ft. Lewis in January 2006, when he first asked to resign his commission because as he stated, "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."

On June 27, a national day of action in support of Lt. Watada and coordinated through the website www.ThankYouLt.org will take place in dozens of US cities, including: Ft. Lewis, WA; Tacoma, WA; Honolulu, HI; Charlotte, NC; Cleveland, OH; Harrisburg, PA; San Francisco, CA; Oklahoma City, OK; Atlanta, GA; Corvallis, OR; Medford, OR; New York City, NY; and Pittsburgh, PA.

Lt. Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, who flew in from Honolulu, Hawaii to support her son, said today, "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"

 
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