Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Citizens’ Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq will be held on January 20-21, 2007, in Tacoma, Washington, two weeks before the Feb. 5 court martial of Lieutenant Ehren Watada at Fort Lewis.. The Citizens’ Hearing will function as a tribunal to put the Iraq War on trial, in response to the Army putting Lt. Watada on trial as the first U.S. military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq.

The hearing will present the case that Lt. Watada would, if allowed, make at his court martial. His defense attorneys maintain that the war on Iraq is illegal under international treaties and under Article Six of the U.S. Constitution. Further, Lt. Watada’s defense argues that the Nuremberg Principles and U.S. military regulations require soldiers to follow only "lawful orders." In Lt. Watada's view, deployment to Iraq would have made him party to the crimes that permeate the structure and conduct of military operations there.

The format of the Citizens' Hearing will resemble that of a congressional committee, employing a dignified approach to gathering information. Testimony will be offered by Iraq War veterans, experts in international law and war crimes, and human rights advocates. Your gift of funds (or frequent flyer miles) will enable more of these clear voices to be heard by people around the country and the world. Among the figures that have committed to testify are:

*Daniel Ellsberg, military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War;
*Denis Halliday, Former UN Assistant Secretary General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid;
*Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University;
*Stacy Bannerman Military Families Speak Out; author of "When the War Came Home"
*Harvey Tharp, former U.S. Navy Lieutenant and JAG stationed in Iraq;
*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. Law Prof., Univ. of Toledo; expert on law of war;
*Eman Khammas, Iraqi human rights advocate (via video).
*Geoffrey Millard, 8 years in NY Army National Guard; stationed in Ground Zero, Kuwait, Iraq.
*Ann Wright, Retired Army Colonel and State Department official
*Darrell Anderson, Army 1st Armored Division in Baghdad & Najaf; awarded Purple Heart
*Dennis Kyne, 15 years as Army medic & drill sergeant; trained in NBC warfare; Gulf War I.
*Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at University of Illinois (video testimony)
*Chanan Suarez-Diaz, Former Navy hospital corpsman; awarded Purple Heart & Commendation with Valor.

A panel of citizens will hear the testimony, examine witnesses, and issue a fact-finding report. The panel will be comprised of veterans, members of military families, high school students, union members, and representatives of local governments, academia, and religious organizations. David Krieger, Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Former Army 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Hawaii during the Vietnam War, and a member of the Jury of Conscience at the 2005 World Tribunal on Iraq (in Istanbul) will serve as panel chair.
More details, here.

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