Co-hosts Dalia Hashad and Michael Ratner discuss the Hamdan Case, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and Habeas Corpus.
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Lt. Ehren Watada, the First Commissioned Officer Refuses Iraq Deployment Orders
Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to what many believe a historic illegal war in Iraq. He is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who in June 2006 publicly refused to deploy to Iraq, saying that he believed the war to be illegal and that it would make him party to war crimes.
Watada is charged with one count of missing troop movement and two counts of speaking contemptuously of the president. The contempt charges were dropped in November.
Recently, a US military prosecutor is seeking testimony from Truthout reporters to prove that Watada engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer, directly related to disparaging statements the Army claims Watada made about the legality of the Iraq War during interviews with Truthout. Ehren Watada faces six years in prison.
Today we speak with Carolyn Ho, the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. Ho is on a tour throughout the country bringing awareness and garnering support for her son’s case.
We also play Lieutenant Watada’s entire speech delivered in August 2006 at the Veterans for Peace National Convention. Just as Watada took the stage and began to speak, more than 50 members of Iraq Veterans Against the War filed in behind him. Watada, surprised by the support, draws a deep breath and begins his speech.
Communities Reeling From Police Shooting “Massacre”
Tens of thousands of protesters silently marched down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Saturday as seasonal shoppers looked on. Many held banners and called for the resignation of New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All of this protesting the fatal police shooting of 23-year-old Sean Bell last month on his wedding day. Bell’s friend and fellow shooting victim Trent Benefield led the march in a wheelchair pushed by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The death of unarmed Sean Bell, killed by undercover police in a hail of 50 bullets in Queens, New York outraged communities and sent shockwaves through the country. As the investigations into the case proceed, the fallout from the shooting raise new questions about racial profiling and stirred distrust among police and minority communities.
Guest – Roger Wareham, attorney and political activist for nearly three decades. He’s a member of the December 12th Movement, organizing in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police brutality.
Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) – This Convention against Racial Discrimination commits States parties to change national laws and policies that create or perpetuate racial discrimination and aims, among other things, to promote racial equality, which allows the various ethnic groups to enjoy the same social development. The Convention against Racial Discrimination defines racial discrimination as: “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”