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GI dissent ready to go public
Published Jan 9, 2007 11:59 PM
The first attempt at a mass expression of dissent by enlisted U.S. service
people is scheduled for Jan. 15, the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday holiday,
at a large U.S. Naval base in Norfolk, Va.
Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, who grew up in Atlanta under the strong influence
of that city’s movement for civil rights for the African-American
population, is a key spokesperson for troops who, since late October, have been
collecting hundreds of GI signatures to an anti-war “Appeal for
Hutto told Workers World on Jan. 8 that “people from the Iraq Veterans
Against the War (IVAW), Military Families Speak Out and other anti-war groups
and long-term organizers of GI dissent will be coming to support the
active-duty rank-and-file soldiers, sailors and marines who will be publicizing
their appeal to the U.S. Congress—an appeal protected as a right of
service people—to put an end to the war.”
The appeal, which can be found at www.appealforredress.org, reads:
“As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I
respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt
withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq
will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come
The news conference will publicize the solidarity of active-duty troops with
the sentiment now shared by 70 percent of the population that the war and
occupation of Iraq should be ended, and will do it as part of the commemoration
of the role played by Rev. King in the struggle against war and racism.
U.S. v. 1st Lt. Watada
The pre-trial hearing in the case of U.S. v. First Lt. Ehren Watada opened Jan.
4 in Ft. Lewis, Wash., as a demonstration of over 100 of Watada’s
supporters gathered for a rally and vigil at a freeway overpass near the
Supporters of Ehren Watada.
WW photo: John Catalinotto
Watada is the first officer to refuse duty in Iraq, calling it his
responsibility to refuse to participate in a war crime by taking part in an
illegal war of aggression.
Members of IVAW, which supports Watada, had arrived from across the country to
set up “Camp Resistance” across the road from a side gate to the
fort, with plans to stay until the end of Lt. Watada’s court martial.
The government had subpoenaed a number of journalists, some of whom were known
as opponents of U.S. policies in Iraq, who had reported on Watada’s
statements. The idea was to get them to authenticate statements Watada made on
video. The journalists included Sarah Olsen, Dahr Jamail, Gregg Kakesako and
Marc Ash. Most, so far, have refused to testify against their source. The
military refused to allow any of the subpoenaed reporters in to cover the
Watada is charged not only with “missing movement by design” to
Iraq, but with making statements that amount to “conduct unbecoming an
officer.” In the hearing, according to Watada’s defense committee,
Judge Lt. Col. John Head ruled that by charging Watada with violations
involving his speech, “the prosecutors were allowing a military jury to
consider his motives for refusing the order to deploy.”
Watada’s supporters plan nationally coordinated demonstrations for Feb.
5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to open. For more information see
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