By Courage to Resist and friends. Updated February 10, 2009
Reports to Fort Stewart today, court martial expected
U.S. war resister Cliff Cornell surrendered himself to U.S. border police on February 4 after being ordered to leave Canada. He was promptly arrested for being AWOL from the U.S. Army, and taken to the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham, Washington. During a vigil by local supporters the next day (photo below), Cliff was released! Upon release he was ordered to travel on his own to Fort Stewart, Georgia. This morning Cliff surrendered to the AWOL Apprehension Unit at Fort Stewart.
Cliff’s civilian lawyer James Branum explained, “Cliff turned himself in today at Ft. Stewart. He is in good spirits and is currently in a unit on post. He is restricted to post but is not otherwise under arrest at this time. We hope to know more from the Army in the next week or so on how they plan to handle this case.”
The 28 year-old from Mountain Home, Arkansas refused to go to war because “it just didn’t feel right,” he told supporters at a 2005 rally in Canada soon after arriving. “I don’t want to be killing innocent people.” Cliff explains that he joined the Army only after repeated promises from the military recruiter that he could serve his country without being deployed to Iraq. Of course, that turned out to be a lie.
Cliff traveled to Canada four years ago after his Army artillery unit was ordered to Iraq.
Despite a popular outcry in Canada to provide sanctuary to U.S. soldiers who refuse to fight in illegal wars, Canada’s Conservative government is pressing ahead with deportations. Cliff had come to call British Columbia home. But he now faces an expected court martial at Fort Stewart, and possibly two years in an Army stockade.
“Cliff Cornell should not be going to jail,” said Gerry Condon, director of Project Safe Haven, a war resister advocacy group. “He had the guts to follow his conscience and obey international law. President Obama should grant amnesty to Cliff Cornell and all war resisters.”
Cliff is the third Iraq War resister to be forced out of Canada. Chris Taske also returned to United States a couple of weeks ago, but was not arrested at the border. Chris and his lawyer are making plans to surrender to the military soon. Last July, Robin Long became the first war resister to be deported from Canada since the Vietnam War. Robin is now serving a 15-month prison sentence at Miramar Naval Consolidated Brig near San Diego.
Letters for Cliff can be sent to:
c/o Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave #41
Oakland CA 94610.
We will forward these letters as soon as possible, and we’ll post a direct mailing address for Cliff when one becomes available.
A defense fund for Cliff Cornell has been established by Courage to Resist, a war resister support group.