By Courage to Resist. July 16, 2008
Select “Read more…” below for photos and reports
Actions were organized in less than two weeks in response to a deportation order issued against U.S. war resister Corey Glass, an Iraq War veteran who was a sergeant in the Indiana National Guard. In a surprising victory, while the delegations were taking place, a Canadian Federal Court granted Corey a last minute reprieve of at least several months while his lawyers are given an opportunity to appeal earlier negative rulings.
Corey’s victory was related to a similar recent win by Iraq War veteran Joshua Key. According to the Federal Court in Joshua’s recent favorable ruling, the regular abuse of Iraqi civilians at the hands of the U.S. military are systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions, and should be a basis for granting refugee status.
On June 3rd Canadian Parliament made an historic vote in favor of U.S. war resisters seeking refuge from fighting in the unjust and illegal occupation of Iraq. While this is an amazing victory, the motion is non-binding. The Conservative government led by Stephen Harper—a close ally of the Bush-Cheney endless war agenda—continues to move forward with deportations of war resisters.
Yesterday Boise, Idaho native PFC Robin Long became the first U.S. war resister to be deported from Canada since the Vietnam War. Robin is in U.S. military custody and in route to Fort Carson, Colorado where he is expected to be placed in pretrial confinement and eventually court martialed for AWOL and desertion. Courage to Resist is dedicated to fully supporting Robin to the best of our abilities, and will have more news and action alerts soon.
Meanwhile, please email and phone Minister Finley and Prime Minister Harper. Ask them to fully implement the June 3rd Parliament resolution to allow war resisters to remain in Canada.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley
Phone 613.996.4974; Email email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Phone 613.992.4211; Email email@example.com
Veterans for Peace national President Elliott Adams and Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War were received by the Canadian Embassy’s top immigration official. Both Elliott Adams and Courage to Resist’s Project Director Jeff Paterson appeared on Canadian Broadcast Corporation national TV to underscore support for our war resisters seeking refuge in Canada.
About two dozen people rallied in L.A. Representatives were able to talk with the consulate of political affairs at length, and speak to ABC, AP and other press. Marcy Winnegrad, former congressional candidate and member of Progressive Democrats of L.A. helped initiate the action with Veterans for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Ed Fisher of the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace explained, “ICUJP was formed immediately upon the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and it has been our top priority ever since to end that war and occupation and bring our troops home. No one knows better than those who have served there what is really happening on the ground — to the Iraqi people and to our courageous service members, all of whom need and deserve our full attention and support, wherever they may be, whatever they have to say, and whatever our government may try to do to silence them.”
Photos by Jonathan Markowitz
Vets For Peace initiated the Denver vigil, bringing together two dozen people in coordination with Iraq Vets Against the War and American Friends Service Committee. Vets For Peace’s Frank Bessinger led the delegation received by the Consulate staff. KGNU radio covered the event.
Rusty Tomlinson of North Texas for Justice and Peace and State Representative Lon Burnam, who is also director of the Dallas Peace Center, met with Consulate staff members and delivered petitions and letters (photo right). Staffers noted that the national vigils and visits were being discussed widely between the different consulates.
Wally Myers of Vets For Peace reports that security guards initially denied that the consulate existed, despite the fact that he had made an appointment with the consulate days earlier. Eventually, the building secretary admitted the consulate existed, but claimed that the entire staff was out for the day. The secretary did accept the petitions and signatures.
Patty McCann of Iraq Veterans Against the War joined Eric Lobo of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Vets For Peace to discuss the issues with Consulate staffers while over three dozen supporters rallied. The Chicago Tribune and Alternet.org covered the event. World Can’t Wait members also joined the vigil.
Vets For Peace organizer Nate Goldshlag led the delegation which met with Consulate staffers. A half dozen supporters collected over 100 “Dear Canada: Let Them Stay” signatures from passersby.
Joel Kilgore of Truth in Recruiting and Brandon Day of Iraq Veterans Against the War led the seven member delegation who met with the Consulate General. Delegates described the representatives comments as “neutral, but in support of resisters.”
Courage to Resist gathered over 50 supporters to rally below the Consulate, gathering petition signatures and leafleting people passing by. Raging Grannies led the group in songs and chants, with the help of Vets For Peace, Campus Antiwar Network, American Friends Service Committee, FSC, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War members. Local media coverage included KTVU and KPIX TV, and KPOO radio. Unfortunately, Consulate staff closed the office for the entire afternoon “due to the large protest” and were not available to meet with the delegation.
Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist. Also, Stay of Deportation for War Resister Corey Glass, Demo Report by R. Robertson, Indybay.org
Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven pulled together a dozen participants, including representatives from Vets for Peace, Stand-Up Seattle, and Students for a Democratic Society (Bellingham) to hold vigil. Participants had recently met with Consulate staffers. Gerry’s commentary on the situation was reported by Free Speech Radio News nationally.
Tristan Husby and Matthew Smucker, both with the War Resisters’ League, helped stage an impressive gathering of over 60 people—with the help of IVAW and Raging Grannies. Matthis Chiroux spoke to the press and gathering about his refusal to report for an IRR recall for Iraq redeployment. Media coverage included the Village Voice, WBAI radio, and the Metro daily newspaper. Police attempted to cordon off members of the vigil but were rebuffed. The Consulate sent down a staffer to receive petitions and letters.
Photos by Jamie Lehane. Solidarity for US War Resisters In Canada, From L.A. To NYC by Alex Kane, NYC IndyMedia
Women in Black Phoenix held vigil outside the Consulate and were supported by members of the End the War Coalition.
VFP member Sam Feldman led a delegation which met with Consulate staffers.
Eric Gjerstsen of the Payday Men’s Network led the delegation to meet with Consulate staffers (photo right), along with representatives of Vets For Peace, American Friends Service Committee, and the Brandywine Peace Committee. Poets and speakers participated in a speak-out. ABC TV, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Weekly covered the event.
Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist: