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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cheney and Addington Concerned About Watada's Mistrial

Watada Mistrial -- GOP Shifts Attention From Illegal Activity

The Senate can't agree, but Watada sends a clear message.

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Cheney and Addington have every reason to be concerned with Watada's success: The evidence supporting illegal, aggressive war is mounting. Cheney and Addington are linked affirmatively with the illegal deceptions and violations of their oaths of office. These are issues of war crimes and impeachable offenses.

A leadership failure cannot be rewarded, especially when it impermissibly stands silent as the US Constitution is undermined. The RNC is showing a minority party does have power to block activity, but the DNC refused to do this 2001-2006. DNC Members of Congress who refused to support filibusters or joined the GOP illegal rebellion have shown the put more weight on silently assenting to illegal activity than in asserting their oath and doing what the GOP in 2007 are doing -- obstructing support for US government action.

Congress refuses to act because an impeachment will raise questions why Congress did not act earlier to end this illegal policy. There were lawful options which the DNC and GOP leadership refused to assert:

- Refusing to support filibusters in the Senate which would have blocked all funding to Cheney' staff and ending appropriations for illegal activity;

- Refusing to go to the Well of the House to formally charge the President with a crime;

- Refusing to direct the IG and US Attorneys to investigate illegal activity, or evidence that exception reports related to illegal activity were not investigated as required.

Minority Members of the Congressional staffs had the power, duty, obligation, and options to review these legal matters, but refused. There are no excuses. We the People are not required to entertain the false notion that the DNC, as a minority had no option.

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The Watada Mistrial means the US government no longer has confidence it can force military personnel to engage in illegal warfare. The burden of proof, contrary to public myth, is for the US government to prove -- not Watada -- that the combat operations were lawful. When Members of Congress and the DOJ Staff are accused of war crimes, they will have to prove that the policies and orders were not illegal. They cannot prove this.

Simply asserting the President ordered something is insufficient. Watada, as the US government has done with NSA-FISA violations, can argue that he's unable to defend himself because the US government refuses to turn over evidence of the known US war crimes planning useful to Watada's defense.

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What's striking about the Iraq war debate is the Republican's phony argument. Even after they knew in the wake of their 2006 election defeat that they would lose control of Congress, the RNC can't point to any effort -- when they still controlled Congress in November and December 2006 -- to debate these issues. It is meaningless for the Republicans to argue they do or do not want to debate something in 2007; yet they've got nothing to point to 2001-2006 to show that the "needed debate" was attempted when the GOP had the power, means, and control to set the agenda.

It appears one of the few catalysts for a public discussion on the illegal activity in Iraq has nothing to do with Members of Congress asserting their oath, nor their desire to see the laws of war are enforced. Rather, as with most cases, the catalyst for oversight, debate, inquiry, and possible action is a defendant like Watada, not the government.

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Watada's case isn't just about the illegal war, but whether Military Members, when they are ordered to do illegal things, do or do not have the right to publicly comment on matters of public interest which the Congress refuses to permit or review. It is troubling when America's leaders, who refuse to debate illegal warfare, attempt to silence those who are being ordered to carry out the illegal policies of Congress and the President.

We the People need to reform the rules permitting military members of publicly challenge illegal warfare, especially when the President and Congress have jointly agreed to engage in aggressive, unlawful warfare. The appropriate forum is in addition to the court, but should be a protected right and duty of all Military Personnel: Watada, regardless his military rank, is an American citizen who cannot be legally deprived the right to report evidence of illegal activity; nor is there any legal basis to criminalize opposition to unlawful activity. Such an absurd consequence impermissibly allows the Constitution to be destroyed and unlawfully reward tyrants waging illegal, aggressive war.

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One basis for compelling Military Member silence on Presidential leadership, competence, or credibility, is to maintain order and discipline. Recently, this principle has been turned on its head -- compelling silence, in the name of order, to compel disorder and illegality. That is imprudent.

The principle of loyalty cannot compel disloyalty to the Rule of Law, Geneva Conventions, or US international legal obligations. Unity of Command cannot be asserted as an unquestioned premise, but must be linked with a legal foundation. Unity of command, if it is asserted as a principle which must be protected from disloyalty, must exist and be legal. The absurdity is for the US government to argue for a principle it openly detests: Unity of effort and command.

We cannot be unified in an illegal effort. Unity of effective command does not exist -- Look at the results of Iraq -- No leadership, failed results, bungled plans. If there were a real unity of command under a responsible leader, we wouldn't have a bungled operation but a Congress that was fully ensuring the command was engaged in lawful combat operations.

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The US leadership in the Congress and Executive Branch is not serious about the leadership; and should not be confused why the troops have to do the jobs of Members of Congress. The discipline problem is in the US Congress and Oval Office.

The error is to pretend Watada is facing a credible charge. He's correctly spoken about the failure of the Commanders -- who have violated the laws of war and ignored the 5100.77 laws of war program -- in their failure to oppose Illegal Warfare. Watada's charges are linked with a Congress and Executive who want to pretend the messenger is the problem, and ignore Watada's core message: He wouldn't have to challenge the orders had Congress and the DoD Leadership done their job, which they have not.

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The UCMJ exists to support the unity of command in principle and practice. Unity of Command cannot be asserted as a justification to ignore challenges to illegal effort; rather, the unity of command is no basis for the US Government to compel obedience to illegal orders. To credibly punish anyone for disloyalty or refusing to obey orders, those orders must be sold, not asserted as lawful orders despite no unity in the command and control of the legal debates related to Geneva.

The error of the government in Watada's prosecution is to assert a principle of unity of command as a basis to compel obedience without a fair showing that unity of command should be expected when the command has silently agreed with known war crimes. The rule: For a principle to be asserted as a basis for punishment, that principle must first be rock solid, not simply conveniently referred to as an idea, but violated in practice.

DoD's problem is that in failing to ensure lawful orders, the issue of unity of command as it relates to military discipline is a secondary and irrelevant basis to prosecute Watada. Where the government has violated the laws of war there is no unity of command; where there is no unity of command, there is no basis to compel any soldier to be loyal to, silent, or support what is illegal and is not unified in its assertion of legal warfare.

Where the war is not legal, the principle the unity of command behind that illegal warfare -- especially as it attaches to Members of Congress and the Vice President's legal counsel -- turns the Watada case on its head: The real problem is for the President and Members of Congress despite claims the US is serious about principles, punishes military personnel who attempt to fully assert their oath and legal obligations. At worst, failing to support Watada sends the opposite message: That inaction in the face of war crimes should be rewarded. The Nuremberg precedents contradict this -- military

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Cheney Loses In All Forums

Generally, there are two forums to resolve legal disputes: The court, and Combat. More about that in a moment.

The real problem is the failure of the Vice President, Congress, and Addington to jointly agree to end their illegal rebellion against the Constitution, and end this illegal, aggressive war. Until they remove themselves from the unlawful policy making functions they may find themselves facing more charges by more courts around the globe. If they choose to assert there exists some sort of enemy or excuse to expand illegal, aggressive war but refuse to present this argument to a court where it might be legally challenged, foreign fighters have only one alternative: To widen the lawful opposition to the Vice President and Addington's war crimes through open combat in the District of Columbia.

The Vice President has been dealt a fatal blow with Watada's mistrial in the legal forum; he's already losing on his preferred forum: The battlefield.

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Protected Right and Duty To Speak About Illegal Warfare, Disobey Unlawful Orders

It would be appropriate for there to be reforms in the UCMJ. When there is illegal warfare, and the Congress and President refuse to enforce the laws of war, there needs to be a timely means to inject some reason into the debate, oversight, and accountability.

Rather than punish people like Watada, We the People need to devise a reward system that will ensure knowledgeable people with evidence of war crimes are given a forum. This US government is attempting, despite all other efforts to block debate on the war crimes, to suppress introduction to trial evidence of war crimes.

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Addington's Education Problem: An Attorney Ignoring Laws of War

Addington should not require the legal challenge from a military person to remind Addington, as a licensed attorney, what is or is not a war crime. There is a reasonable to question Addington's legal leadership, and DoD General Counsel Haynes's legal competence, fitness for duty, and ongoing threat to the US Constitution.

The absurdity is for the US government to argue for a principle it openly detests: Unity of effort and command. America cannot credibly argue it is serious about its education system, officer training, or the laws of war when, despite providing training, it refuses to listen to the troops on war crimes.

Watada is doing something the Joint Chiefs and Congress failed to do: Challenge the illegal activity. The error is for the public to not see the larger problem: Members of Congress and Senior DoD Military Officers have been promoted, rewarded, and insulated from war crimes accountability, while those who question the illegal activity are forced to rise to the occasion.

As you digest the events of Watada's mistrial and the ongoing illegal activities in Iraq, consider the following:

___ What will be done to ensure Generals and Admirals are held to account for war crimes?

___ What will be done to ensure the 5100.77 Laws of War program, which requires disobeying illegal warfare, remains a viable program guiding American military personnel?

___ Why is a junior officer required to do what Congress and Flag Officers refused -- to challenge illegal activity?

Watada is an officer. He has more credibility and backbone than the US Congress and the Joint Staff. Even if he were to be prosecuted, his punishment cannot be seen as just. Rather, his punishment will be a vindication of the Iraqi insurgents claims that the US is out of control.

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There is no merit to any argument that Watada is a traitor. He's fully asserting his oath, doing his job, and is faithfully supporting the US Constitution.

Real traitors are those who provide comfort to the enemy. Refusing to obey an illegal order can hardly be called disloyalty to ones oath; or taking over acts to support the military objectives of our opponents. Watada is fully supporting the US Constitution, We the People, and the Geneva Conventions -- something which Members of Congress and the Executive Office of the President and Executive Branch cannot claim.

It is a separate issue whether this government is or is not engaged in rebellion. Issues of treason, where there is no external enemy -- as is the case with an illegal, internal rebellion by the President and Congress against the Constitution -- are not credible legal charges.

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Recall Addington's claims about unlawful combatants. Addington and the DoJ Staff have argued that combatants are not lawful if they are not under the command of a military leader; or they refuse to comply with the laws of war. In Watada's case, Addington's accusations are turned on their head: It is watada that is providing the leadership, and the US policy makers who are not complying with Geneva.

Addington is a defendant in Germany for illegal mistreatment of prisoners. With respect to Addington's ongoing defense before the Geneva War Crimes Prosecutor, it doesn't matter whether Watada is or is not convicted. They way forward is for We the People to support reforms in the UCMJ which will recognize legal protections for people like Watada who are doing what Congress and the President refuse to do: Fully enforce Geneva. It should not be left to the resilience of a lone military member to do the right thing; the correct momentum should be institutionalized with Constitutional modernizations not punished.

How the US government does or does not successfully manage the legal challenges with the Watada case will send signals to the world: Whether, despite a failure of governance, the Judicial system in the military is or is not impartial in adjudicating mandatory opposition to unlawful warfare.