What a day! I got to Ft. Lewis by 7:30 am and at 8:30 all the people who had gotten passes or were military were allowed to go into the building. There were approximately 40 civilians and a whole parking lot of media. The media were put in a lottery and 7 were selected to be allowed into the courtroom. There were 20 seats in the courtroom which was occupied by the family, military police and the media, leaving three seats for civilians.
All the people ahead of me went to an over flow room where they could hear what was said in the courtroom but could only see the judge. I was taken to the courtroom along with two other civilians. I have no idea why but there I was sitting by Lt. Watada's mother and through out the day we became friends. She was getting sick and I just happened to have much needed medication.
I also got to talk to Ehren Watada and the civilian attorney. I was invited to a press meeting at a motel after the day was over where the attorney answered questions from all the news people. It was quite large. Most of the media had not been in the court room and since I was, I got to ask questions that related to what had happened during the day.
The military judge seemed to lack experience at dealing with such a high-powered civilian attorney...this guy for Watada is good. He has been dealing with military law for 40 years. He called the court martial proceedings an atrocity and it did appear to be just that. The judge allowed the defense no witnesses, calling them all irrelevant and then deeming 11 witnesses for the army relevant, one witness being the same one that the defense had asked for and the judge said no, but yes to the army. It didn't make sense since the relevancy was military law for both sides.
Ultimately the defense made it known that this court martial was not just and that they will put all their effort into an appeal when this travesty of a hearing is over. The defense attorney kept pointing out all the errors he perceived so that it all would be in the court record for appeal.
It was a long day and if it all continues Watada will be found guilty of not deploying with his soldiers to Iraq and conduct unfitting an officer for speaking at different gatherings ie, Veterans for Peace in August. The jurors were selected and that is a bit brighter because they were all very well educated, some PhDs and all with at least masters from non-military universities. There was only one officer from West Point. Two were divinity graduates, two had MBAs and two had degrees in psychology, one therapist and one with a degree in history.
I felt okay about these guys and although I think they will have to say he is guilty because of the limited scope of military law, I think they will be open to lenient punishment and then the case will go to appeals where hopefully a more experienced judge will preside.
The court martial is expected to go at least until Thursday with Lt. Watada speaking for himself on Wednesday. I think Wednesday will be an important day. Lt. Watada is extraordinary, very clear, no ego, uncanny in his ability to be present and connected.
Goodnight. I'll write more tomorrow night when I get home.