Contents: The Sir! No Sir! blog is an information clearing house, drawing on a wide variety of sources, to track the unfolding history of the new GI Movement, and the wars that brought the movement to life.
Where applicable, parallels will be drawn between the new movement and the Vietnam era movement which was the focus of the film Sir! No Sir!
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This article, by Tiffany Crawford, was published by Canwest News Service, January 6, 2009.
OTTAWA - An American war resister, who was told he must leave Canada Tuesday or face deportation to the United States, will not have to vacate the country until at least the end of January, says a support group.
Michelle Robidoux, a spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Dean Walcott's case has been held over until Jan. 30.
Other U.S. resisters facing possible deportation include Cliff Cornell, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Patrick Hart, Matt Lowell and Kimberly Rivera - and their families.
Some of the resisters have applied to the Federal Court to have their cases overturned on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
``If the Federal Court agrees to a judicial review of these resister's cases, that could be very positive,'' said Robidoux.
The Federal Court previously agreed to hear two of the cases, said Lee Zaslofsky, co-ordinator of the support group. Glass has been granted a new application to stay on humanitarian grounds while Hinzman and his family will go before the court Feb. 10.
``I'm hoping the Federal Court will be positive in Jermemy Hinzman's case and if not set a precedent, then at least give guidance on other cases that are pending, as well,'' said Zaslofsky.
``My feeling is it would be a travesty if people were deported only to find out, in Jeremy Hinzman's case, the court overturns the decisions . . . and the government threw them out anyway.''
Rivera, who was the first woman to refuse to serve after being deployed to Iraq, will face a decision on her deportation order Wednesday.
Rivera gave birth Nov. 23, said Robidoux, and will go before the board on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
``So if she is deported and jailed, she will be separated from her newborn and she has two other young children,'' said Robidoux.
Cornell, who was ordered to leave Canada by Dec. 24, or face deportation, also had his case held over until Jan. 22.
Cornell, 28, is originally from Arkansas but lives on Gabriola Island, near Nanaimo, B.C. He has been in Canada since January 2005 after refusing deployment to the Iraq war.
Another American, Christopher Teske, also living in B.C., will have a decision heard Jan. 20.
Lowell is waiting to hear whether his appeal will be heard.
This press release was just issued by the War Resisters Support Campaign
War Resister Family Ordered to Leave Canada
Hinzmans Were First to Seek Sanctuary
TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - U.S. Iraq war resister Jeremy Hinzman was told today that his family's application to stay in Canada has been rejected. Hinzman was told that he does not qualify under Canada's Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) program following a review by a Citizenship and Immigration department officer.
Jeremy, his wife Nga Nguyen and their son Liam were the first Iraq War resisters to come to Canada to seek sanctuary. On July 21, their second child was born in Toronto. If deported, they would be the first family sent to the U.S. to face punishment.
On July 15, the Canadian government deported U.S. war resister Robin Long who is currently awaiting court martial at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Hinzman served a tour in Afghanistan in a non-combat role after applying for conscientious objector status. When his unit, the 82nd Airborne Division, was to be deployed to Iraq Hinzman and his family decided to come to Canada.
"I applied for Conscientious Objector Status in the U.S. Army because I realized that I cannot kill a fellow human being. But my application was denied. I knew that in Iraq I would be ordered to take part in combat
operations, or other actions that are against my principles," said Hinzman. "Nga and I knew Canada had welcomed many Americans like us during the Vietnam War, and we knew Canada had refused to join the invasion of Iraq."
"Sending Jeremy and his family back to the U.S., where he would face harsh punishment, would be cruel," said Lee Zaslofsky, coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign. "It would fly in the face of the motion adopted by the House of Commons on June 3, which called on the Harper government to stop all deportation proceedings against these conscientious objectors."
Recent Federal Court of Canada decisions in the cases of U.S. war resisters Joshua Key and Corey Glass have indicated that the refugee process which failed to grant protection to the Hinzman family may have been seriously flawed.
The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on the federal government and the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene to prevent the Hinzman family from being sent to the U.S. to be punished.
This article, by Liam Lahey, was published in The Parkdale-Liberty Villager, July 15, 2008
With news U.S. Army deserter Robin Long would be deported to the U.S. to face a court martial on July 15, some of the Parkdale-based American war resisters expressed equal amounts of fear and anger at the Federal Court of Canada's precedent-setting decision.
Long, 23, was told recently by the court he would be deported to face a military court martial in the U.S. for refusing to fight in the Iraq War. That decision has raised fears Canada has set a precedent that would likely pave the way for other war resisters - nine of whom currently reside in Parkdale - to also be deported.
Dale Landry is wanted by the U.S. Air Force for refusing to fight in Iraq after serving in Afghanistan. Landry spent the night of July 14 in full uniform outside the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue in support of Long. The Parkdale resident, who turned 23 this past week, lives with two other American military personnel in a small apartment.
"We're shocked after all the work that's gone into the campaign, the opinion polls, the people signing our petitions and all of the overwhelming public support, and still (Long's) going to be deported," he said. "It's really underhanded stuff that's going on."
Lee Zaslofski, co-ordinator of the Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign, said he's spoken with the 20 known war resisters based in this city and added there is much concern for Long.
"We're very disappointed and somewhat angry," he said. "It seems the Harper government is determined to act as an enforcement arm for the U.S. Pentagon. Robin Long is the first score they've had. The Canadian Border Services Agency will (deport) him when they feel like it and they may have already done it but we don't know. They're likely to do it in such a way as to avoid publicity."
As for Corey Glass, the 25-year-old Parkdale resident and U.S. Army deserter that had received the lion's share of attention after being granted a temporary reprieve by the Federal Court from deportation on July 10, he too expressed deep regret.
Glass spent a morning calling Simcoe North Conservative MP Bruce Stanton who's allegedly supportive of the war resisters' plight in an effort to halt Long's deportation.
"He (Stanton) said he couldn't issue a statement but he's the most supportive Conservative I've seen," he said. "Maybe (the federal government) doesn't understand why we're here and why we're not in our own country fighting this thing. It's because we can't. It's a biased system that's over there and we'd be put in front of a military court not a civilian court."
Glass said he'd continue to push for Parliament to do more than sit atop the June 3 resolution it passed in support of the resisters that Stephen Harper's government is not legally bound to honour.
Meanwhile, Zaslofski vowed the fight would go on. A public rally was planned in front of the Federal Court on Queen Street West and Simcoe Street at noon on July 15.
"We will continue to try to mobilize Canadians," said Zaslofski, "and try to have an impact on this minority government of theirs which is not interested in serving Canadians' wishes and interests but more concerned with serving the interests of another government."
This was originally distributed by Canada Newswire, July 9, 2008
The major U.S. organization representing 7,000 U.S. veterans has issued a public "Thank You" to the people of Canada and an appeal to the government on behalf of Corey Glass and other U.S. Iraq War conscientious objectors seeking refuge.
Veterans for Peace (VFP) whose members fought in WW II, the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars says: "Thank you, Canada, for providing a safe haven for young American men and women who, although they were in the military, decided they could not in good conscience participate in the illegal and immoral U.S. war and occupation of Iraq."
Expressing concern over the possible deportation of Corey Glass and other conscientious objectors, VFP warns that "if they are forced to return to the United States, they will be imprisoned only because they refused to fight in an immoral war."
VFP is joining with Courage To Resist and Project Safe Haven to organize actions at the Canadian Embassy and Consulates in 13 U.S. cities on Wed., July 9.
The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on peace movements and concerned citizens in Britain, France, Germany and around the world to urge the Canadian Government to respect the June 3rd historic parliamentary motion calling for an end to deportations and the opportunity for conscientious objectors to apply to remain in Canada as permanent residents.
This interview, with Corey Glass, was originally broadcast on Canadian Television, July 10, 2008
THOMSON: It's a decision that may set a precedent for US war resisters in Canada. A federal court has granted Corey Glass a stay of deportation while his case is reconsidered. Corey came to Canada after serving in Iraq. He was scheduled to be deported today.
He joins us now in studio, along with Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign.
Thank you both for coming in.
So, your reaction when you got word that for now you can stay?
COREY GLASS: I was really excited. But it's really bittersweet because Robin Long is sitting in jail right now, awaiting deportation on Monday.
THOMSON: There are I think 13 listed war resisters that are living in Canada -- that we know about. Tell me about Robin Long.
LEE ZASLOFSKY: Robin Long came to Canada a few years ago. He lives in Nelson, BC. And he got picked up on the fourth of July by the Nelson police because he supposedly broke some bail conditions that he had from a previous immigration thing.
THOMSON: Which was that he was supposed to call and let people know where he was going to reside.
LEE ZASLOFSKY: Yeah, but he did call. So, I'm hoping that the court on Tuesday will release him. I think it's scandalous that Inderjit Singh Reyat gets out while Robin Long sits in jail. I think it's crazy.
THOMSON: Corey, tell me about your reasons for deserting.
COREY GLASS: Well, there's a lot of violations of human rights over there.
THOMSON: In Iraq.
COREY GLASS: Yeah. I can't really get into detail about anything over there because of the nature of my trial. I could face things like treason charges and so on. Desertion charges.
THOMSON: But when you signed up for the military what was it that you thought that you'd be doing?
COREY GLASS: They told me I wouldn't fight -- because we were in Afghanistan at that point -- that I wouldn't fight wars in Afghanistan. That wouldn't be an option. And I would be there to help during floods and hurricanes and tornadoes and things like that.
THOMSON: So, is that realistic when you join the military, that you can I guess choose not to serve in a conflict area?
COREY GLASS: I was under the assumption from my recruiter that the only way we went to war was if there was troops on the ground in America. Because it was the National Guard. So, we were there for the defence of the homeland.
THOMSON: So, you go to Iraq, you serve six months, and you decide probably when you were over there that you wanted out?
COREY GLASS: Yeah.
THOMSON: And then what?
COREY GLASS: I walked in and tried to quit my job. They said: You can't quit, and you're just stressed out because you're doing a job you weren't trained to do and --
THOMSON: Because was it communications you were going to be involved in when you were over there?
COREY GLASS: Yeah, do telephones. I was supposed to do like telephone services and stuff. And I ended up doing military intelligence and battle [inaudible] ... and getting promoted without training to be in charge of soldiers. So, yeah, in worse circumstances --
THOMSON: And without that training did you let your superiors know that you weren't trained for this position?
COREY GLASS: They knew I wasn't trained for it. They knew when they promoted me.
THOMSON: So, why come to Canada?
COREY GLASS: Um, well, I stayed in the States for eight months before I finally decided to do research on desertion and came up with stuff about Vietnam and the 50,000 that came up then. I found out Canada didn't go to Iraq. And I decided -- well, and a few other war resisters were up here at that point.
THOMSON: Lee, you're wearing the T-shirt. And there are some events planned across the country today?
LEE ZASLOFSKY: Yes. Today we're going to have demonstrations both to celebrate the decision in Corey's case and in another case, Joshua Key's case. But also to call on the authorities to release Robin Long immediately. He doesn't deserve to be in jail. He's a gentle, kind fellow. It just seems crazy to me that he's sitting in jail while this Air India guy is walking around.
So, I'm hoping that that will be straightened out on Tuesday when his lawyer goes to court. And in the meantime, we are going to try to put pressure on the government to resolve this whole thing about the war resisters across the board, rather than one court case after another.
LEE ZASLOFSKY: And we really think it's up to the government to do that.
THOMSON: Lee and Corey, thank you both for coming in.
LEE ZASLOFSKY: Well, thank you.
This article was originally distributed by The Associated Press, July 15, 2008
Vancouver, British Columbia - A U.S. Army deserter who fled to Canada three years ago was deported Tuesday to America, marking the first time a resister to the U.S war effort in Iraq has been removed by Canadian authorities.
Paula Shore, spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, confirmed that Robin Long, 25, was deported, but she could not discuss specifics of the case, including Long's destination.
Long fled to Canada in 2005 to avoid serving in Iraq. He sought refuge in Canada on the grounds that the U.S. Army wanted him to participate in what he called an ''illegal war of aggression in Iraq.''
Justice Anne Mactavish of the Federal Court of Canada ruled Monday that Long couldn't provide clear evidence he would suffer irreparable harm if he was returned to the United States.
In her ruling, Mactavish said that although the percentage of American military deserters prosecuted for desertion has increased since 2002, the vast majority have not been prosecuted or faced jail time.
Last week, the Federal Court blocked the deportation of National Guard Sgt. Corey Glass, 25, while it decides whether to hear his case. Glass refused redeployment to Iraq.
Long and Glass were among some 200 American deserters believed to have come to Canada trying to avoid service in Iraq. So far, Canadian immigration officials and the courts have rejected efforts to grant them refugee status.
During the Vietnam War, up to 90,000 Americans successfully won refuge in Canada, most of them to avoid the military draft. The majority went home after the United States granted amnesty in the late 1970s.
This article and the accompanying photographs (by Jamie Lehane) were posted to nycindymedia.org, July 11, 2008
Dear Canada: Let War Resisters Stay
60 people gathered outside the Canadian consulate on Avenue of the Americas July 9 to call for the Conservative Party-led government of Canada to honor the House of Commons measure that calls for asylum and residency for United States war resisters living there.
At the end of the protest, petitions were delivered to the Canadian consulate expressing support and solidarity with war resisters in Canada, as well as calling on the Canadian government to follow the will of their citizens by halting deportation proceedings against members of the U.S. military who have taken a stand against the Iraq War.
As the Indypendent reported in a June 26, 2008 article titled “G.I. Resisters Face Legal Limbo in Canada,” the non-binding measure in support of war resisters was passed on June 3, 2008. It followed a December 6, 2007 recommendation from the Canadian Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to implement a program to allow war resisters in Canada to legally stay there.
The protest, with members of the War Resisters League, Code Pink, the Granny Peace Brigade, United for Peace and Justice, and more, followed a call from Courage to Resist to organize vigils outside Canadian consulates across the United States. 14 other cities in the U.S. heeded their call, from Dallas to Los Angeles to Philadelphia and more. The War Resisters League spearheaded the New York City demonstration.
The Granny Peace Brigade sings
There was little police presence, with only one NYPD officer visible on a bicycle.
Signs held up by the demonstrators best summed up the vigil’s message: “Dear Canada, Let War Resisters Stay.”
Corey Glass, a former sergeant in the National Guard of California, was scheduled to be deported July 10. That day, he was granted a stay of removal from the Federal Court of Canada, allowing him to reside in Canada for at least another two months.
Matthis Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a Brooklyn College student who refused to deploy to Iraq two and a half weeks ago, had a message of solidarity for Corey Glass.
“Corey Glass is a hero of the human cause,” Chrioux said. “The Canadian government should embrace him as such…Corey, though I have never met you, know you are my hero and a true hero for this country.” Chiroux is awaiting arrest, imprisonment and trial for his courageous stand against the Iraq War.
The Federal Court of Canada’s decision to allow Glass to stay in Canada for now followed another positive decision for U.S. war resisters. The Federal Court has ordered the Immigration and Refugee Board to take up Key’s case once again, saying that the IRB had rejected his application for refugee status on a narrow basis. According to the War Resisters Support Campaign, an advocacy group for resisters in Canada that provides them with legal and moral support, “the court found that Key was required to systematically violate the Geneva Conventions as part of his military service in Iraq.”
“[Resisters] need to be protected and respected for their refusal to commit war crimes and to continue killing in an illegal and immoral war,” said Jenny Hines, a member of Code Pink and the Granny Peace Brigade. The Granny Peace Brigade added some melodic tunes to the demonstration, signing “1,2,3, what are we fighting for? First it was WMDs, then democracy.”
Matthis Chiroux, IVAW member
Although the two court decisions in favor of U.S. war resisters has given the growing movement hope, the Canadian government is currently trying to deport resister Robin Long. Long is currently jailed in the town of Nelson, British Columbia, and Canada is scheduled to deport him next Monday. Nelson, B.C. is also the current residence of resister Ryan Johnson. Bob Ages of the Vancouver chapter of the War Resisters Support Campaign told the Canadian-based Globe And Mail that what Prime Minister Harper is trying to do is “kidnap war resisters and get them into the hands of George Bush.”
“It doesn’t sound like [Harper] wants to [follow the House of Commons measure], but who knows? We need to exert pressure right now, and show that the Canadian population doesn’t want [resisters to be deported], the U.S. population doesn’t want this…It’s time to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and support these courageous soldiers who are putting international law in their conscience,” said Matt Smucker, an organizer with the War Resisters League.
Join a vigil and delegation to a Canadian consulate near you on Wednesday, July 9th to support war resisters. On the eve of Corey Glass' possible deportation, we will demand, "Dear Canada: Abide by the June 3rd resolution - Let U.S. war resisters stay!"
Washington DC - Time TBA - 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW (map). Sponsored by Veterans for Peace. Info: TBA
San Francisco - Noon to 1pm - 580 California St (map). Sponsored by Courage to Resist. Info: 510-488-3559; firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle - Time TBA - 1501 4th Ave (map). Sponsored by Project Safe Haven. Info: 206-499-1220; email@example.com
Dallas - Time TBA - 750 North St Paul St (map). Sponsored by North Texas for Justice and Peace. Info: 214-718-6362; firstname.lastname@example.org
New York City - Noon to 1pm - 1251 Avenue of the Americas (map). Sponsored by War Resisters' League. Info: 212-228-0450; email@example.com
Philadelphia - Time TBA - 1650 Market St (map). Sponsored by Payday Network and Veterans For Peace, Chapter 31. Info: 215-848-1120; firstname.lastname@example.org
Minneapolis - Time TBA - 701 Fourth Ave S (map). Info: TBA
Los Angeles - Noon to 1pm - 550 South Hope St (map). Sponsored by Progressive Democrats LA. Info: email@example.com
Boston - 2pm - Copley Square Park; Sponsored by Veterans for Peace (Boston Chapter); Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver - Time TBA, Sponsored by Veterans For Peace (Chapter 079 - Denver); Contact info: Frank Bessinger at email@example.com
Miami - Time TBA, Sponsored by Veterans For Peace (Chapter 32 - Miami); Contact Sam Feldman at VETSFORPEACE@THE-BEACH.COM
Help organize a vigil at one of these other Canadian Consulates: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Anchorage, Houston, Raleigh, Phoenix, or San Diego. Please contact Courage to Resist at 510-488-3559.
Veterans for Peace issued a joint call with Courage to Resist and Project Safe Haven for July 9th vigils at Canadian Consulates: "Dear Canada: Do Not Deport U.S. War Resisters!" Contact us if you can help organize a vigil, or can otherwise get involved. Locations of the 22 Canadian Consulates in the United States.
Thursday July 3, 7:00pm
May Robinson Building, 20 West Lodge, Toronto
Corey Glass is a 25-year-old war resister from the United States Army. He lives in Parkdale. Other than leaving the Army, he has never been in trouble with the law.
In 2002 Corey joined the Indiana National Guard. He was told he would not have to fight on foreign shores. But in 2005 he was sent to Iraq. What he saw there caused him to become a conscientious objector and he came to Canada.
On May 21, 2008, he got his final order to leave Canada by July 10th, 2008. Then on June 3 Parliament passed a motion for all the war resisters to stay in Canada. However the Harper government says it will ignore the motion. Come to support Corey and the other Parkdale War Resisters.
This article, by Liam Lahey, was originally published in the East York-Riverdale Mirror, June 10, 2008
When asked what he'll do if Ottawa orders him to be deported to the U.S., a pained look crosses Chuck Wiley's face. He sighs heavily and shakes his head, "I'm not going back. I'm never going back."
The 36-year-old Kentucky native deserted from the U.S. Navy in January 2007 when he packed up his car with camping gear and clothing, drove from Norfolk, Va., to the Peace Bridge, and crossed into Canada.
"When they asked where I was going and how long I would be staying, I said I was going camping just north of Toronto for a few days but that I might be staying a little longer than that," he said.
The American war deserter is one of an estimated 700 U.S. military personnel currently residing in Canada seeking refuge from the long reach of the U.S. Navy. On June 3, MPs voted 137 to 110 in favour of a resolution that called on the federal government to allow U.S. war resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against them. However, the government is only morally obligated to follow the resolution, it's not legally binding.
After serving in the Kosovo War in 1999 and then in Iraq in 2006 aboard the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, Chief Petty Officer Wiley - responsible for a crew of 70 nuclear technician personnel - took issue with the navy in terms of the treatment of its personnel and the air combat missions his vessel was running in both conflicts.
Fast-forward to May 2006 in the Persian Gulf, he became alarmed when he learned of the tactics the navy was deploying with its aircraft to flush out the enemy.
"The idea was if you had a small village where insurgents were suspected to be ... you take a couple of F-18s and fly them multiple times over that village as low and as fast as possible to scare the crap out of everyone and get them moving," he explained. "The logic (the military) was pushing was anybody who runs has a reason to run away from the U.S. forces. I think anybody who's gotten beyond the fifth grade can probably understand that anyone who runs maybe doesn't want a bomb dropped on their head."
He set about educating himself in international law and that lead to conclusions he didn't like. Following arguments with his superiors for "getting too friendly" with his charges for discussing, among other things, the military's Individual Augmentee program - the re-assigning of officers from non-combat roles in one branch of service to replace thinning ranks in a conflict zone - he was reprimanded.
"I was told what I was doing was contrary to the good order, discipline and command (of the ship), which in the military means they're about to drop a very big hammer on your head," he said. "I told (my superior officer) something my high school geography teacher once told me: 'The truth is never afraid of honest inquiry' ... that's when he started talking about mutiny ... but I never talked about taking command of the ship."
Returning stateside, Wiley exhausted efforts to have the navy reassign him anywhere and in any capacity other than near Iraq or on the Enterprise.
The real punch in the gut came when the 17-year military veteran was reassigned to another carrier, the USS George Washington, due to sail to Iraq in less than four months. He contacted U.S.-based military lawyers and support groups seeking help, but no one could.
"If I refused to be deployed to Iraq ... I'd have been sent to (the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at) Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."
So Wiley turned to the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto where he was introduced to Annex resident Susan Oppenheim, proprietor of Java Mama, an establishment aptly described as a cozy shop to gather for creative and political activities. The self-described '60s child took Wiley in and housed him in the Christie Pits area for six weeks. He now resides in East York.
With 25-year-old Parkdale resident and fellow war deserter Corey Glass facing deportation on July 10, Wiley wonders why Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) hasn't targeted him first. Meanwhile, as he waits to see if his appeal will be heard by CIC to remain in Canada he works as a custodian on a temporary work permit.
"It would break my heart to have to leave Toronto; to leave Canada," he said with a southern drawl. "For the first time in my life, I feel as though I'm living in a city that I truly belong in.
"I don't know where I'd go."
To encourage the government to pass the June 3 resolution, the War Resisters Support Campaign is encouraging the public to write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Diane Finley and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Visit the War Resisters Support Campaign at www.resisters.ca for more info.