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Iraq Protest News

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posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 10:16 PM

News Alerts

Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war (Read more at Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada)
PRESS ADVISORY (June 9, 2006) - On Thursday, June 8, 2006 U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's commanding officer moved to prosecute Lt. Watada for protected speech. An official investigation into his public speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq is underway. Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement without a lawyer present.

In response, Lt. Watada confirmed, “I have a legal and ethical obligation to speak out against, and refuse to fight, this patently illegal war in Iraq. This has not changed.”

Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Lt. Watada's legal team, declared "It is obvious that the military is simply trying to keep him from speaking out in opposition to the unlawful war."

On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq war and occupation. Standing before the national media at a Tacoma, Washington press conference, Lt. Watada outlined his duty to refuse the illegal order to deploy in support of an illegal war. A showdown with the military is imminent as Lt. Watada's Stryker brigade is scheduled to deploy from Fort Lewis, Washington for Iraq within days.

Steve Morse, director of the GI Rights Hotline, a non-governmental legal resource center for members of the military, explains "When soldiers join the military they swear to uphold our Constitution, they do not give up their basic right to freedom of speech." According Mr. Morse, "Members of the military clearly have the right to say what they think and feel about the military, and even participate in peaceful demonstrations, as long as they are off-duty, out of uniform, off-base, and within the United States. This is outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6".

It is expected that the military is moving to stage a Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment hearing (Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) in order to impose even further restrictions on Lt. Watada. The military will likely focus their investigation on vague UCMJ articles that bar "any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President (or any senior members of government)" (Article 88), and "conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman" (Article 133).

# # # END # # #

Note: We are aware that the Fort Lewis military public affairs office may not yet be aware of this new development.


Soldier Arrested: Refused To Go Back To Iraq [Thanks to GI Special.]
June 13, 2006 AP EUGENE, Oregon

A 21-year-old woman who refused to deploy with her Army unit to Iraq for a second tour has been arrested and will be returned to Fort Lewis, Wash., Eugene police said Monday.

Eugene Police spokesman Sgt. Rich Stronach said Spec. Suzanne Swift, 21, told officers she did not want to go back to Iraq. She was picked up Sunday night at the request of the Army.

Stronach said Swift at first did not say who she was but was identified by tattoos described in the warrant and was arrested at her family's home without incident.

She was listed as AWOL late last year and her unit left for Iraq without her. She served her first tour in Iraq with a military police unit in 2004, her mother, Sarah Rich, told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Rich said her daughter broke down and said she could not return because of the war and the way she was treated.

She said her daughter was belittled, called names, and frequently propositioned.

Swift is expected to be returned to Fort Lewis on Tuesday.


Fear for my daughter:
It started out with being scared for her life when she signed up for the military. She assured me that she was promised she would not go to Iraq. I was not as trusting.

She was sent to Iraq right out of her basic training. She assured me she would be ok as we cried while she was packing. One of her Sgt. assured me. "Don't worry Ma'am, we'll take good care of your

I desperately hoped that I could trust him to watch over her. I later found out he was one the first predators to try and have sex with her and make her "his private"

She spent a long year in Iraq. I feared for her safety every waking minute. She called me crying frequently. Telling me very little of the horror she was witnessing. Only telling me it was hard. Telling me that almost all of the other soldiers sexually harass her and many of her Sgt.'s and Lt. really pressuring her and making her life miserable for rejecting them. Calls from her ending with, "o, there goes gun fie, gotta go mom, love you."

She returns from Iraq. She is much more quiet and anxious. I offer to get her help and she refuses. She tells me that if she opens that can of worms she will not be able to function as a human being. I ask her if she wants to deal with the horrible sexual harassment charges against so many of her fellow soldiers, she says no mom, it would only make my life even more of a living hell. Then she finally blew the whistle on one of her superiors for sexually harassing and she was treated like a pirana while he was moved to a different unit and promoted. She put her head down and worked as an Military Police officer on Ft. Lewis. She was always shocked by the number of domestic violence calls she went out on. The fear of a mother of a peace officer was there, but at least I could call her and knew she was safe. We know that she is going to be re-deployed to Iraq sometime after the mandatory 18 months stabilization time is over. So, we were looking at November of 2006 for a second re-deployment. Our heart were heavy at the thought.

She comes home for a visit and can't face me to tell me she is going much sooner than expected back to Iraq. My fear is skyrocketing. How can they do that, you will have only had 11 months of stabilization time. She tells me that she refused to sign the waiver waiving her rights to 18 months. She was told that her life would be hell in a
# hole if she refused to sign. They screamed in her face and intimidated her to the point that she would shake when she told the story. Our family prepares.

She is packed, ready to redeploy. Keys in hand. "I can't do this, Mom, I can't go back there." We shift into action to protect our daughter.

We networked with everyone imaginable. We knew that we would rather see her in jail than spend another minute in Iraq. We hired an attorney with experience in these kinds of military matters. And Suzanne went into hiding.

Now here we are facing what we knew was a real possibility. Suzanne is in jail and waiting to be taken up to Ft. Lewis and I am really scared.

The military treated her horribly when she was a soldier, I can only imagine what they will do to her as a prisoner. She is a brave young woman and my hero. There is only just so much stress an Iraq war veteran can handle.

My fear for my daughter is real. My hope for and belief in my daughter and what she is doing is strong and unshakable. I truly believe she saved her own life with her courage. Hopefully by telling her story
and standing strong she can encourage others in the military to stand up, speak out and refuse to participate in this illegal and immoral war.

Thanks to you all. I knew this was going to happen eventually so I had my ducks in a serious row. Today, I has a press conference, a vigil at the jail where Suzanne is, spoke to 10 different radio shows, some nationally syndicated, three TV stations, 3 newspapers and had a million calls.

I only got to talk to Suzanne for one short minute in which we were both were crying so hard we could not talk.

They are transporting Suzanne tomorrow early morning to Ft. Lewis and returning her to her unit. We are planning to be at the jail at 7:45 AM-9 to see if we can catch a a glimpse of her as she leaves the jail to show her that we are here for her.

Lt. Colonel Switzer, Ft. Lewis Washington is who we need to be writing to asking for Spc. Suzanne Swift to have a medical discharge or an honorable discharge from the Amy due to her post traumatic stress disorder. After writing the letter we need to fax them to:

Senator Gordon Smith- Eugene, OR Office
Federal Building
211 East 7th Avenue, Room 202
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: 541.465.6750
Fax: 541.465.6808

Senator Ron Wyden-Eugene, OR
151 West 7th Ave
Suite 435
Eugene, OR 97401
(541) 431-0229

Congressman Peter DeFazio-Eugene Office
151 West 7th, Suite 400
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 465-6732

Senator Patty Murray in Washington- Tacoma Office
950 Pacific Avenue, Ste. 650
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Phone: (253) 572-3636
Fax: (253) 572-9892

If there is no fax number you can email them. let me know if you send a letter and if you get a response.

If you want to donate to Suzanne's legal or medical fund please contact me and I will get the addresses for you for our attorney Larry Hildis or Suzanne's psychologist, Zak Schwartz.

Thanks so much from Suzanne and her family. We appreciate your love and passion. This is so important for us to do not only for us to end the war, but to defend women who are in the military.

love, Sara


Katherine Jashinski is an imprisoned Conscientious Objector whose application for a discharge was denied by the Army after almost 18 months.
She was then court-martialed for refusing to train with weapons. In court on Tuesday, May 23, Katherine was acquitted of the more serious charge of missing movement by design, but pled guilty to refusal to obey a legal order. She received a bad conduct discharge and was sentenced to 120 days confinement, with credit for 53 days already served (at Fort Benning), and 20 days off for good behavior. At the time of her sentencing on May 23, Katherine had 47 days of confinement remaining. After serving her sentence she will return to school at the University of Texas at Austin and continue her work with the newly founded Austin GI Rights Hotline.

Katherine was initially being held in a county jail in southwest Georgia. On Wednesday, May 31, she was transferred to the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

Write to Katherine today and offer your support!

Katherine Jashinski
PO Box 452136
San Diego, CA 92145-2136

When you do write her, remember that hand written letters are the best, but if you don't have time you can send an email to this profile or to freekatherine -at- mutualaid -dot- org and we will print then and mail them to her. Letters mean a lot when you're locked up!

Suggestions for writing to a prisoner:

All letters must have a return address on the envelope.
Please also put a return address on the letter itself, as prisoners often not given the envelopes.
Keep in mind that all mail is read by authorities.
Most facilities will NOT accept stamps or envelopes mailed to prisoners.

Katherine does not have access to the internet. This profile is being updated by the Free Katherine Support Committee.

Visiting Katherine: Katherine is being held in a military prison at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in northern San Diego. She can have visitors, but there are limitations on visits. If you are interested in visiting her, please email the address below .

To receive email updates send a request to freekatherine -at- mutualaid -dot- org!


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