Subscribe: Soldier Say No!
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
afghanistan  army  canada  iraq  military  peace  resistance  resisters  support  veterans peace  veterans  war resisters  war 
Rate this Feed
Rating: 2.5 starRating: 2.5 starRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Soldier Say No!

Soldier Say No!

THIS WEBSITE is dedicated to those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airpersons who refuse to fight in illegal wars or to commit war crimes. These young men and women face persecution because they are following their consciences and obeying international law

Updated: 2017-09-21T13:08:12.174-07:00


Bradley Manning Supporters Fill Courtroom


I was among several members of Veterans For Peace who attended the pre-trial hearing for Bradley Manning this week. We were part of a group of 25 supporters who filled the court room each day of the three-day hearing.  We all wore black t-shirts emblazoned on the front in white with only one word, TRUTH.Bradley looked good - healthy, relaxed, fully engaged with his civilian and military lawyers, occasionally offering an observation with a smile.At the end of the hearing today, many of us shouted out greetings to Bradley, and one person said, "Aiding the public is not aiding the enemy." David Coombs, Bradley's lead lawyer, put up a brilliant full-court press, submitting well argued motions for dismissing all charges, dismissing the most serious Aiding the Enemy charge, dismissing unreasonably multiplied charges, compelling testimony from the secret Grand Jury hearings against Wikileaks, and requesting access to Defense and State Dept. "damage assessments" that reportedly show little to no serious damage from the Wikileaks releases.The military judge denied all defense motions but did make some clarifications and concessions that may be helpful. Most significantly, perhaps, she said that the prosecution would have to prove that Bradley intended to release classified information to "the enemy," which the government has defined as Al Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula.See news reports and commentary, below.The Bradley Manning Support Network put up ads in 21 metro stations in Washington, DC this week, after raising $14,000 dollars from 400 to do so. They can now be seen by tens of thousands of DC commuters, including employees of the Defense and State departments, among others.  The ad defines the word, "Whistle-blower" as "noun, a person who tells the people what the government does not want them to know.  See also, Hero, Patriot, Bradley Manning."  with Bradley's photo. Check out the following three articles on Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing this week.  David House was interviewed today on MSNBC. See below.Bradley Manning judge warns military prosecutors in WikiLeaks caseUK Guardian Government's Warning To Bradley Manning and Others:  Tell On Us and We Will Put You Behind Bars for the Rest of Your Lifeby Ann Wright Manning: a show trial of state secrecy"by Michael Ratner House, of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Interviewed on MSNBC today. For Peace is proud to be an active supporting organization of the Bradley Manning Support Network.The Bradley Manning Support Network has tons of useful updates and action alerts on its excellent website.  www.bradleymanning.orgJoin our facebook page: savebradley 37,186 followers, and growing“God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”  -from Bradley's alleged chat with Adrian Lamo________________________________________________________________Gerry CondonBoard Member / GI Resistance Co-Chair / Veterans For PeaceSteering Committee / Bradley Manning Support,  202-534-9829[...]

UK Veterans Launch VFP Chapter


                                     SAS Veteran Ben Griffin Addresses Inaugural Event of VFP UKby Helen Jaccard and Gerry CondonThe first chapter of Veterans For Peace in the United Kingdom is now a reality. On a dreary “Easter Monday” afternoon in a working class section of London, England, veterans, allies, friends and families gathered for the inaugural event of Veterans For Peace UK. The Guiseppe Conlon Catholic Worker House hosted the event in the sanctuary of an old church draped with banners proclaiming peace and justice. British and Scottish veterans, young and old, fresh from their first official meeting as a VFP chapter, testified in word and song that they will go to war no more.Ben Griffin, a former self-described “gung-ho” SAS soldier who deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but then refused to deploy again, took the lead in pulling together a diverse group of veterans. He and several of the veterans have already been active for months, participating in Occupy London, and demonstrating solidarity with Wikilieaks founder Julian Assange and alleged Wikileaks whistle-blower, PFC Bradley Manning. With the help of Ciaron O'Reilly of the Catholic Worker, they reached out to other veterans, including Bruce Kent, a Catholic priest, and John Lynes, both longtime peace activists whose military service was in the mid-1940's.Folksinger and activist Jim Radford, a founding member of Ex-Service's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1960's, sang a beautiful but sobering version of “Waltzin' Matilda,” the classic antiwar song from Australia.Barry Ladendorf, president of the VFP chapter in San Diego, California, flew a very long way to be present on this historic occasion. When Barry was in London last year, he had attended a public meeting where he heard Ben Griffin speak about countering the influence of the military in British schools. Barry told Ben, “Hey, you ought to think about forming a Veterans For Peace chapter.” The seed was planted.A large good-looking banner reading “Veterans For Peace UK, Established 2012” graced the altar of the church. Decorated with the VFP dove-on-helmet logo, the banner was sent by Gene Marx, VFP National Membership Coordinator, and a member of the Bellingham, Washington chapter. Gene had been maintaining regular communication with Ben leading up to the London launch. Ben and other veterans repeatedly said how much it meant to them to receive so much support and guidance from VFP members in the U.S. Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace in the U.S. were also present at the festive launch of Veterans For Peace UK. London was the last stop on their seven-month journey around Europe, where they have networked with peace activists in many countries. Gerry was invited to address the gathering about the importance of supporting Bradley Manning and all GI resisters. The UK VFP chapter doesn't need any nudging in this regard. Several of the founding members, including Ben Griffin and Michael Lyons, have resisted illegal wars and occupations while in the military.“I was 18 years old when I joined the Navy,” said Michael Lyons. “It was economic conscription. I was told I could give medical aid. I spent about five years in Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I started questioning the government, wondering, are we really the good guys? I learned Diego Garcia history and decided that I'm the bad guy here, supporting B-52 bombings and torture. I'm part of this.”“I was told to go to Afghanistan,” continued Lyons. “I didn't buy the lies. Wikileaks came out and I knew that I couldn't be part of that.” Lyons applied for Conscientious Objector status but was sentenced to prison for seven months.“Military prison was tough,” said Lyons. “I got support from Ben, Ciaron, my family, and strangers who sent my wife money and wrote to me every day.”VFP UK is planning a vigil outsid[...]

First GI Cafe in Germany Opens Its Doors


by Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon Kaiserslatern, Germany, March 25, 2012U.S. soldiers in Germany now have a GI coffeehouse. The Clearing Barrel Bar and Café opened Saturday, March 24, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, home to Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, among a constellation of U.S. bases, with 50,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel living in the area.The grand opening was a big success, with over 60 people in attendance.  Well-wishers enjoyed good food and drink, and marveled at the large beautifully remodeled space, with couches, tables, chairs, a bar and barstools, his and hers bathrooms, and a full kitchen.Beautifully printed posters from the “War Is Trauma” art exhibit were displayed on spacious white walls.  “War Is Trauma,”a collaboration between Just Seeds, an art collective from Brooklyn, New York, and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), is about “Operation Recovery”, a campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops and to focus public attention towards Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Sexual Trauma. Neighbors, friends, and activists convened from far and near, including Germans and U.S. citizens living in Germany.  Nathan Peld, an IVAW member, arrived after a long train ride from Vienna, Austria, where he is working with the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).Young German women and men mixed easily with Vietnam-era friends. Political discussions were lively and interesting.  Live music was provided by two young men, one German and one American, who sang and played guitars and were joined by guests in a sing-along.Chris Capps-Schubert, an Iraq veteran and war resister, and his German wife Meike, an organizer-extraordinaire and member of Military Families Speak Out, have been working very hard for the past two years to make their dream of opening a GI coffeehouse in Germany a reality. Their efforts have been supported by the Military Counseling Network, Connection-EV, the Center on Conscience and War, the German Mennonite Peace Committee, members of IVAW and Veterans For Peace, and many other German and American friends and activists.Meike and Chris are both counselors with the Military Counseling Network, the European branch of the GI Rights Hotline.  Chris has been a member of IVAW for several years and went on a speaking tour around Germany to gain support for The Clearing Barrel project.   Chris and Meike and other counselors will be available to help soldiers who are seeking to be discharged from the military, facing other difficulties with the military, or seeking help dealing with military trauma.Meike said, “Having this space available allows us to bring together in one place what we do personally, socially, culturally, and politically.  I am very grateful for all of the help and support that we have received from the peace community and we hope that they will continue to support us.”Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon representing Veterans For Peace spoke of the importance of supporting alleged Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, and GI resisters like André Shepherd, an Iraq veteran who refused to redeploy to Iraq and is seeking political asylum in Germany. Dave Blalock, a Vietnam-era GI organizer who lives in Heidelberg, Germany, said “This is the beginning of resistance.”GI coffeehouses were a mainstay of GI resistance in the Vietnam era, providing safe, alternative spaces for soldiers to socialize, learn about their rights in the military, receive counseling, engage one another in political discussions, and organize themselves to resist illegal wars and occupations.  The coffeehouse movement grew throughout the 60sand 70s.  Today’s veterans have revived the coffeehouse tradition in order to build community and resistance.  There are two successful GI coffeehouses in the U.S., Coffee Strong just outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis McCord in Washington State, and Under the H[...]

In Munich with Malalai Joya and GI Resister André Shepherd


My partner Helen Jaccard and I are in Munich now, where we marched yesterday with Malalai Joya of Afghanistan and Iraq veteran / GI resister André Shepherd, who is seeking political asylum in Germany. Today I had the honor of representing Veterans For Peace in a press conference where the main speakers were Malalai Joya, André Shepherd and me. 

Malalai Joya was great. Of course, she called for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. She also expressed her sympathy for US and NATO soldiers who "are also victims of their governments' war policies." She thanked soldiers who are resisting illegal wars and occupations and she gave encouragement to GIs who are revealing the reality of war crimes.

Building the Campaign to Defend GI Resisters


Is It Time To Call for Amnesty? by Gerry CondonThis article was published in the June 2011 issue of ON WATCH, the newsletter of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. It continues the discussion of GI resistance in recent On Watch articles concerning AWOLs, the Coffeehouse movement and the case of Bradley Manning. Further articles and letters on the topic are welcome.U.S. OCCUPATIONS WINDING DOWN?Ten years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, nearly 100,000 U.S. troops remain there, with a roughly equal number of “contractors,” or mercenaries. The Taliban insurgency has grown, along with broad, diverse resistance to the U.S./NATO occupation, and large majorities of people in Afghanistan, the U.S. and Europe think it is time for all foreign troops to leave. In Canada, popular opposition has forced the hawkish Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, to pledge that all Canadian combat troops will soon be withdrawn. The same goes for Britain, where another Conservative prime minister has promised to withdraw British troops. Similar pressures are being felt by all the European governments that have contributed troops to the occupation of Afghanistan.Responding to strong public opposition to the costly U.S. occupation of Iraq, President Obama, who campaigned for the presidency on a platform of ending the U.S. war there, has committed himself to withdraw all but a small residual force from Iraq by the end of 2011. However, sustained insurgencies in both Afghanistan and Iraq are giving the U.S. security establishment pause – and/or an excuse – to extend the timetable for withdrawal. Furthermore, the construction of large permanent U.S. military bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan have raised doubts about the ultimate intentions of the U.S. Nonetheless, a variety of external and internal pressures – including the pending U.S. presidential election in 2012 – may lead to an actual winding down of both U.S. occupations.In the wake of the U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden, 52% of adults in the U.S. believe it is time to pull out of Afghanistan, per a June 8, 2011 BBC World News America poll (35% believe the US should stay according to exiting plans, but only 14% are confident that U.S. policies in Afghanistan will be successful, per the same poll). The White House and Pentagon are now involved in a very public debate about just how fast to draw down troops. President Obama has pledged to begin a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan beginning in July of this year (2011), with all troops to be withdrawn by the end of 2014. The President is said to be considering deeper cuts, but Defense Secretary Gates is publicly calling for a more gradual reduction, so as not to lose the very tenuous gains that the U.S. military is claiming.TOLL ON TROOPS:  6,400 DEAD;  40,000 WOUNDED;  330,000 VETERANS WITH PTSDThese unpopular U.S. occupations have taken a heavy toll on the U.S. military, particularly on the largely working class men and women who have been sent to fight against entrenched resistance movements. Over 6,400 U.S. troops have been killed and well over 40,000 have been wounded, many with critical, life-altering losses of multiple limbs, eye-sight, and hearing, as well as serious brain damage.These numbers do not include hundreds of thousands of active duty GIs and veterans who suffer from the psychological trauma of the violence of war and/or undetected brain injuries from the explosion of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the weapon of choice of anti-occupation resistance fighters. According to the RAND Corporation, over 330,000 veterans of the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from seri-ous Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Roughly an equal number suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), with a large number suffering from a combination of the two, many of whose symptoms are similar. It is widely understood that neither [...]

Ottawa moves to make Canada less inviting to U.S. military deserters - Winnipeg Free Press


Here is the latest outrage from Stephen Harper's Conservative, pro-war, anti-immigrant government in Canada.

Ottawa moves to make Canada less inviting to U.S. military deserters - Winnipeg Free Press

Fateful Day for U.S. War Resisters in Canada


by Gerry CondonTuesday, May 25, was a very important day for the 200 U.S. war resisters who are seeking sanctuary in Canada. The case of Jeremy Hinzman, the first to do so, was argued in Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals. The outcome may decide the fate of Jeremy, his wife Nga Nguyen and their two young children. The court's decision, expected to take several months, may also determine the fate of other young men and women who are facing deportation to the U.S., followed by courts martial and imprisonment. Also on Tuesday, May 25,, the Canadian Parliament held a debate on a bill that would allow Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada. The House of Commons is expected to vote on the bill, C-440, in September.According to several polls, nearly two-thirds of Canadians want their government to allow U.S. war resisters to have legal status in Canada. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, does not agree. The Conservative government has already deported several war resisters and is aggressively pursuing the deportation of others. Last weekend, USA Today published an excellent article on U.S. war resisters in Canada, including Vietnam War resisters. It is very much worth reading. There is also a short video on the USA Today website. war resisters and Iraq war resisters toast one another at Grossman's Tavern in Toronto.YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR WAR RESISTERS IN CANADAThe War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada is a national network of churches, labor unions, activists and artists, including Vietnam War resisters who are now Canadian citizens. The War Resisters Support Campaign has been supporting our war resisters ever since early 2004, when Jeremy Hinzman arrived in Toronto. The Campaign is very much in need of donations at this moment, so that they can continue their legal defense of war resisters facing deportation. We recommend that you send them a note at this time thanking them for taking care of U.S. war resisters. And give them a donation while you are at it. It is very much needed and will be very well spent. Please visit their website and make a donation today.For more information on Rodney Watson, an Iraq War Resister who has taken refuge in a church in Vancovuer, British Columbia, you can visit the website of the Vancouver War Resisters Support Campaign,Check out Rodney Watson's interview with me below on this blog.[...]

GI Resister Marc Hall Is a Free Man!


VFP and IVAW helped to anchor successful campaignGI resister Marc Hall is now a free man. Under pressure from his supporters, the U.S. Army has backed down from their plans to give him a kangaroo court martial in Iraq. Instead they have granted him a discharge. Marc Hall is known as the GI “rapper” who recorded a song against the Army’s “Stop-Loss” policy last July. But his real troubles began in December when he filed a formal complaint with the Army’s Inspector General about the poor quality of the Army’s evaluation and treatment of his PTSD. Five days later, the Army arrested the Iraq veteran and charged him with 11 counts of violating the good order of the Army (Article 134), including “threatening violence against fellow soldiers.”The GI resister support group Courage To Resist found him a lawyer near his base, Fort Stewart, Georgia, and the Army sent him 8,000 miles away to a prison in Kuwait. Marc’s mother worked with Courage To Resist and members of VFP and IVAW to form the Family and Friends of Marc Hall, which rallied political support and raised funds to send a lawyer and doctor to the Middle East. The presiding military officer at Marc Hall’s arraignment (Article 32 hearing), threw out 5 of the 11 charges against Hall, finding them totally without basis or evidence to support them. She recommended that Spc. Hall be given a Special Court Martial, which can give a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a Bad Conduct Discharge. But the Army command, clearly wanting to make an example of Marc Hall, insisted it would give him a General Court Martial. Marc Hall was facing a sentence of up to 6 years in prison and a Dishonorable Discharge. Finally, though, the Army appears to have come to its senses. Veterans For Peace played a significant role in supporting Marc Hall. When VFP called for emails to be sent to the Army on behalf of Spc. Hall, 643 members of VFP did so. One hundred and ten VFP members forwarded the action alert to friends, and 113 contacted newspapers on behalf of Hall. Iraq Veterans Against the War also mobilized its members in support of Marc Hall.VFP members Russell Brown, of Buffalo, New York, and Gerry Condon, of Seattle, Washington, participated in weekly strategy sessions of the Family and Friends of Marc Hall, along with Jeff Paterson, a VFP member who heads up Courage To Resist. Courage To Resist raised and spent $7,100 for Marc Hall’s defense fund, and has another $1,500 of outstanding expenses at this time.Marc Hall’s lawyer, David Gespass, who is president of the National Lawyers Guild, will now work to get Hall’s Other Than Honorable discharge upgraded, and to insure that Hall, who saw 14 months of combat in Iraq, will get treatment for his PTSD from the Veterans Administration.Veterans For Peace has supported GI resisters for several years, and will soon be launching a GI Resistance Working Group, in order to provide timely information to VFP members about how they can support GI resisters in their time of need.Read Dahr Jamail’s excellent article on the Marc Hall case at, and find out about another GI resister, Eric Jasinsky, whom the Army has jailed with untreated PTSD. [...]

Iraq Vets: Coverage of Atrocities is Too Little, Too Late


by Dahr Jamail

The WikiLeaks video footage from Iraq taken from an Apache helicopter in July 2007 showing soldiers killing 12 people and wounding two children has caused an explosion of media coverage. But many Iraq vets feel it is too little and too late.

In contrast to most of the coverage that favors the military's stated position of forgiving the soldiers responsible and citing that they followed the Rules of Engagement (ROE), Iraq war veterans who have spoken to the media previously about atrocities carried out against innocent Iraqis have largely been ignored by the mainstream media in the United States.

GI Resistance - Then and Now


Check out this story and discussion on the Daily Kos, with a link to a great newsletter by the Washington Peace Center.

Berkeley Calls for War Resister Amnesty



March 30, 2010

Berkeley City Council Recommends Universal And Unconditional Amnesty For
Iraq, Afghanistan, And Pakistan War Military Resisters And Veterans

Contact: Bob Meola (510) 644-1102 ; bob@couragetoresist .org

On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, the Berkeley (California) City Council passed Resolution No. 64,803 N.S. recommending "Universal and Unconditional Amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan War Military Resisters and Veterans Who Acted In Opposition to the War for Matters of Conscience." It was adapted, with some changes, from the original resolution passed by the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission on November 2, 2009.

The resolution recommends that all military personnel, serving since October 7, 2001, be granted Universal and Unconditional Amnesty amounting to forgiveness for all convictions or pending charges of desertion or Absence Without Leave (AWOL) or Unauthorized Absence (UA) if such leave or absence is determined to be caused by matters of personal conscience in opposition to the illegal wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan and/or Pakistan.

It also recommends that military personnel who have been convicted of charges stemming from their exercise of free speech regarding their opposition to the wars in Iraq and /or Pakistan since October 7, 2001 be granted amnesty for those convictions.

And it supports granting amnesty for all veterans with less than honorable discharges for absence offenses determined to be due to personal conscience regarding opposition to the wars commencing on or after October 7, 2001 and that those veterans have their discharges automatically upgraded to honorable discharges or to general under honorable conditions and that those veterans be granted all benefits otherwise due to them.

This is the first time the subject of Universal Unconditional Amnesty has been brought up since President Jimmy Carter granted Unconditional Amnesty amounting to "full, complete and unconditional pardon" to draft resisters following the Vietnam War. Universal Unconditional Amnesty had been the demand of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Berkeley's resolution called for copies of it to be sent to President Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Congressperson Barbara Lee.

Bob Meola, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner and immediate past Commission Chairperson, who wrote the original draft of the resolution, stated,

"I hope this resolution will serve as a model and inspire cities and towns across the United States to pass similar resolutions and ignite a movement which will result in Universal and Unconditional Amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan war resisters and veterans. The troops who have had the courage to resist have been traumatized enough. They have followed their consciences and deserve healing and support and appreciation from people everywhere. The GI Resistance movement is growing. Its members are heroes and sheroes and should be treated as heroes as they are welcomed backinto civilian society."

Berkeley has been a sanctuary city for conscientious objectors since 1991. In 2007, it became a sanctuary city for military resisters to immoral and illegal wars, even if those resisters were not traditional conscientious objectors, and for draft registration resisters and for draft resisters if the draft should be reinstituted. May 15th is International Conscientious Objectors Day. In 2007, Berkeley also proclaimed May 15th of every year as Berkeley CO and War Resisters Day.

Iraq Veteran Finds Sanctuary In Canadian Church


Rodney Watson Tells Why He Would Not Be "Stop-Lossed" Back to Iraq by Gerry Condon Rodney Watson is one of the bravest and nicest men I have had the pleasure of meeting. He is an African American from Kansas City, Kansas. He is a very religious young man, 32 years old. His dream was to one day have his own restaurant. In 2004, when an Army recruiter told him he would be trained as a cook, he signed up for a three year hitch. When Watson was deployed to Iraq in October 2005, his superiors told him he would be supervising the dining facility. Instead, he was given an M16 rifle and told to search for explosives on the perimeter of his base in Mosul. The Army had not trained Watson to inspect or detonate explosives, so he was unhappy with this assignment. But this was not all that was bothering him. He was appalled at the blatant racism of some of his fellow soldiers in Iraq. He saw U.S. soldiers spitting upon and kicking the Koran and beating Iraqi, even civilians. “I had to sit there and watch it,” he told the Vancouver Courier, “and my hands were tied.” He did not report the abuses. “I didn’t want to be labeled a snitch – not with people walking around with machine guns.” Watson finished his twelve-month tour of duty in October 2006 and returned home, only to be told he would be going right back to Iraq. His three-year contract with the Army would have ended in the spring of 2007, but the Army was unilaterally extending it so that he could complete another tour of Iraq. Rodney Watson was being “stop-lossed.” On a two-week leave, Watson pondered his situation and decided he would not be a slave to the U.S. Army or cannon fodder for the war in Iraq. Instead, he left a goodbye note in his father’s bible and made his way to Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. The Army has since charged him with desertion. With the aid of the War Resisters Support Campaign in Vancouver, Rodney Watson sought sanctuary in Canada as a political refugee who would be persecuted for his beliefs if he were forced to return to the U.S. Despite widespread support in Canada for U.S. war resisters, Watson was denied refugee status and the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered him deported. The Canadian people have been much more welcoming than the Canadian government. So Rodney spoke with the Ric Matthews, the pastor of the First United Church in downtown Vancouver, a progressive congregation that opens its doors every night to homeless people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. Canadian churches have a long tradition of granting sanctuary to refugees who are rejected by the politicized refugee board but who truly do face persecution in their homelands. Two U.S. war resisters who have been deported from Canada, Robin Long and Clifford Cornell, were court-martialed by the U.S. Army, convicted of desertion, and sentenced, to 15 months and 12 months in prison, respectively, as well as dishonorable discharges. Pastor Matthews spoke with his congregation and they agreed to provide Watson with sanctuary, the first time a Canadian church has done so for a U.S. war resister. Since mid-September, Watson has been living in a custodial apartment in the church, where he has received a steady flow of supporters, journalists, and even Members of Parliament. So far the Canadian government has respected his church sanctuary. Last week Gerard Kennedy, a Liberal MP from Toronto, flew to Vancouver to meet with Watson. Kennedy has introduced a bill in the House of Commons that would grant sanctuary to U.S. war resisters who would not fight in the illegal U.S. war and occupation of Iraq. If his bill passes, it will be legally binding, unlike two similar parliamentary motions that the Conservative governme[...]

We Won't Go Back






By Maggie Gilmour, Toronto Life

To avoid serving in Iraq, 300 American soldiers have left their homes and families and fled to Canada, 75 of them to Toronto. Many assumed they’d get a visa, settle down and live a normal life. But the federal government has rejected their refugee claims and ordered them deported. Some go into hiding; others wait for appeals and judicial reviews of their cases. In the meantime, they’ve put down roots, taking temp jobs and raising children, nostalgic for a time when Canada was a haven for conscientious objectors.

See Full Story

Canada Reconsiders Iraq War Veteran's Plea For Political Asylum



Like other U.S. war resisters seeking sanctuary in Canada, Joshua Key was wrongfully denied refugee status. But in his case, a Federal Court agreed with him and ordered the Immigration and Refugee Board to give him a new hearing. The hearing took place this Wednesday in Toronto.

With Canadian author Lawrence Hill, Joshua wrote a best-selling book, The Deserters Tale, in which he details the systematic abuse of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military.

Follow this link to a detailed report on Joshua Key's new refugee hearing, written by Laura Kaminker, "L-Girl," in her award-winning blog, "We Move To Canada."

You Can Help to Free Lt. Ehren Watada


End the U.S. Army’s Prosecution of Lt. Ehren WatadaThe Justice Department Can Say No to Army’s Legal AppealIn June 2006, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada refused orders to Iraq on the grounds that the war was illegal and immoral. His court martial in February 2007 ended in an Army-contrived mistrial. In October 2007, the Army attempt to have a second court martial was stopped by a Federal judge who ruled that a second court martial would be double jeopardy. But the Army has not allowed Lt. Watada to leave military service. Instead, they have notified the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit of their plans to appeal the double jeopardy ruling. The Army has also threatened to revive old charges stemming from Lt. Watada’s speech in Seattle to the 2006 convention of Veterans For Peace. Justice Department to Decide If Army Will Appeal Double Jeopardy RulingThe U.S. Solicitor General’s office in the Department of Justice will soon decide whether the Army can go ahead with its plans to appeal Federal Court rulings in Lt. Watada’s favor.A campaign of public pressure is being called by Lt. Watada’s supporters in the peace movement. The ad hoc campaign is being spearheaded by two Vietnam War resisters, Mike Wong and Gerry Condon, who are active members of Veterans for Peace in San Francisco and Seattle. The Call to Action is being issued in the name of Asian Americans for Peace and Justice, formerly the Watada Support Committee, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Project Safe Haven, a war resister support group.We are sending out this email alert to all our contacts and organizations - including Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, United For Peace and Justice, ANSWER, Code Pink, American Friends Service Committee and others. We ask you all to phone, write, and email Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Deputy Attorney General Neal Katyal immediately.1. Ask the Solicitor General: Tell the Army to drop the appeal and any other charges against Lt. Watada, and to release him from the Army with an honorable discharge. If we all act quickly, we can flood the Solicitor General’s office with hundreds of phone calls, letters and emails, which could tip the balance in Ehren Watada’s favor.Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 202-514-2201Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, 202-514-2206 Send letters to: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530. E-mails to will reach the Solicitor General and Attorney General Eric Holder. A sample letter is included below. Feel free to edit as you wish, or to write your own.It is possible that both the Solicitor General and her Deputy may be open to our plea. Please be respectful and polite in all your communications with these Obama appointees. 2. Please forward this alert to all activists, friends, and organizations you know that would be supportive. If you are involved in an organization, please ask that it forward this alert to its entire membership..3. We will approach the friendliest of our allies in Congress and ask them to make inquiries to the Justice Department. If you or your organization has contact with any members of Congress, please email Gerry Condon at so we can coordinate our Congressional outreach.4. Various groups may also wish to mount demonstrations, press conferences, lobby, or use other means of peaceful political pressure. You may also call for an end to the persecution of all war resisters.Mike Wong, Vice President, SF Bay Area Veterans For Peace; Asian Americans for Peace and JusticeGerry Condon, Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace; Project Safe HavenSample letter: DateSolicitor[...]

The Contract


by Robin Long from inside the Miramar BrigMarch 12, 2009IN 2004, when military resister Jeremy Hinzman applied for refugee status in Canada, the Conservative government stepped in to his Refugee hearing and stated evidence challenging the legality of the War in Iraq can’t be used in his case. However, the U.N Handbook for Refugee’s and the Nuremburg Principles states: a soldier of an Army that is involved in an illegal war of aggression has a higher international duty to refuse service. Said soldier also has the right to seek refugee protection in any country that is signatory to the Geneva Convention. By refusing to allow him- and by precedent ALL other claimants the right to use that argument, they closed the door on that legal avenue for refugee protection.THE US invasion of Iraq was clearly an illegal war of aggression. The US was not under attack, or the immanent threat of attack from the nation of Iraq, nor was the war approved by the UN Security Council. By taking the stance it did, the Canadian Government implicitly condoned the invasion & continuing occupation of Iraq. Is that what Canadians want? A majority of Americans want it to end and have come to realize it a mistake, at best. Canadians have long known it to be wrong. Why is the minority Conservative government still holding on to the idea, and still deporting war resisters? Why are they separating families and aiding in the imprisonment of morally strong men and women? IN JUNE 2007, Canada’s Parliament voted on a non- binding resolution to allow war resisters and their families permanent resident status. That vote passed, and in agreement with that vote, a poll of Canadian opinion showed overwhelming support for the resolution. In defiance of parliaments intent and the will of the people, the Conservative minority government, led by Prime Minister Steven Harper and Immigration Minister Diane Finley ignored the bill. The Government stated: All refugee claimants are given a fair chance to plead their case before the Refugee Board, and special treatment to these Iraq resisters were unfair to other claimants. Further, they stated that we are not legitimate claimants because we are from the US, and that the US has a fair and transparent justice system, and that we wouldn’t be singled out for being political.ON JULY 14th, 2008, in my final attempt to stay in Canada, where my son and community is, Federal Judge Ann Mactavish stated that I didn’t prove I would be treated harshly by the US military for being a politically outspoken opponent to the War in Iraq and Bush Administration policy. She predicted my punishment would be minimal, 30 days in the brig, perhaps. She then cleared the way for my deportation/extradition. She noted only10% of these cases go to Court Martial.A MONTH later, I was tried in a Court Martial presided over by a judge, a Colonel in the US Army, who has President Bush in her chain-of-command. (She was later appointed by Bush to oversee trials at Guantanamo Bay, no doubt because of her political credentials.THE ONLY aggravating evidence the Prosecution presented was a 6 minute video of me stating, among other things, that I believed my President lied to me. A political statement. The fact that this was found admissible in court for the charge of Desertion is beyond me. There were no character witnesses brought against me. The ONLY factors the Prosecution wanted shown in determining my sentence was the fact I was political and exercising my freedom of speech in criticizing my Commander-in-Chief.IT SEEMS like a conflict of interest to have a judge determine my fate when she has to ultimately answer to the President, while I was[...]

Army Charges Cliff Cornell with Desertion


AWOL GI Was Denied Sanctuary in CanadaThe U.S. Army has charged war resister Clifford Cornell with desertion. Specialist Cornell, 28, surrendered himself to authorities at Fort Stewart, Georgia on February 17, after being denied refugee status in Canada. The Arkansas native left Fort Stewart four years ago, when his artillery unit was ordered to Iraq. According to family and friends, Cornell did not want to kill civilians, and said that Army trainers told him he must shoot any Iraqi who came near his vehicle.Cornell’s attorney and supporters believe the Army’s charges are excessive. “Cliff Cornell is a conscientious objector who voluntarily turned himself in to Army authorities,” said attorney James Branum.. “The Army is engaging in overkill in order to make an example of my client.”Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson disputed Spc. Cornell's claims that he would have been expected to kill civilians. ''Indiscriminately shooting people is not what the Army does,” Larson told the New York Times. “That's not how we train and not how we fight.” The Army is leaning toward trying Cornell in a General Court Martial, which could sentence him to years in prison.“This is outrageous,” said Jeff Paterson of Courage To Resist, a war resister support group that has established a legal defense fund for Cornell. “The U.S. war against the Iraqi people remains illegal today, just as when George Bush and Dick Cheney started it,” said Paterson. “President Obama should bring all our troops home now. And he should grant amnesty to Cliff Cornell and hundreds of GI’s who refused to take part in an occupation that has killed untold tens of thousands of men, women and children.”U.S. war resisters in Canada were distressed to hear of the serious charges against Cornell, as were many Canadians who have been pressing their government to provide sanctuary to the war resisters. “Cliff Cornell is a very gentle man who made many friends in Canada,” said Michelle Robidoux of the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto. “Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is absolutely wrong to claim that war resisters do not face persecution in the United States.”A large majority of Canadians, 64% according to several polls, want to provide a safe haven for soldiers who refused to fight in the Iraq War, just as Canada itself refused to do. Most Members of Parliament also support the resisters. In June of last year, the House of Commons passed a motion calling on their government to provide sanctuary to “conscientious objectors who refuse to fight in wars not sanctioned by the United Nations.” But the minority Conservative government ignored the non-binding motion and began to deport war resisters.War resister Robin Long was the first to be deported last July, and is now serving a 15-month prison sentence in the Miramar Naval Consolidated Brig near San Diego. Cliff Cornell was being threatened with deportation when he left Canada. Several other AWOL soldiers and their families are appealing their deportation orders in Canada’s Federal Courts.“Cliff Cornell should not be the one who is going to jail,” said Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace. “He had the guts to follow his conscience, and unlike President Bush, he obeyed international law.”An estimated 250 U.S. war resisters are now living in Canada, and AWOL GI’s continue to arrive there. “You can still apply for refugee status and expect to remain legally in Canada for at least one year,” said Condon. “It may not be easy, but it beats going to war or going to jail.”CONTACT:James Branum, GI Right Lawyer, 866-933-2769, www[...]

A "People's Amnesty" for War Resisters


by Gerry CondonLast week the Customs and Border Police in Blaine arrested a young American who was returning home from Canada. Cliff Cornell, 28, was arrested because he is AWOL from the U.S. Army. He fled to Canada four years ago after realizing he had been lied to when he joined the military. The Army recruiter lied to him when he said he would never be deployed overseas. And President Bush lied to him when he said Iraq was connected to the terror of 9-11. The next thing Cornell knew, he had orders to deploy to Iraq and “shoot to kill anyone who gets near your vehicle.”In 2002, Cliff Cornell raised his right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution. He swore to defend the U.S. from all enemies, foreign and domestic. He didn’t swear to invade other peoples’ countries on behalf of Exxon Mobil or Halliburton. “He signed a contract,” some people declaim emphatically. But it was President Bush who broke that contract when he lied to the American people about why he was sending their sons and daughters into harm’s way. And it is Cliff Cornell who is being punished.After spending the night in the Whatcom County Jail, Cornell was released on his own recognizance on Thursday . He then hopped on a Greyhound bus for a sleepless, three-day ride across the U.S. On Tuesday, he surrendered himself to Army authorities at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Cornell hopes the Army will just discharge him “for the good of the service,” as they do to many returning AWOLs. But Cliff Cornell has been a vocal opponent of the Iraq War. The Army will likely court-martial and imprison him, as it did Robin Long, another Iraq War resister who was deported from Canada in July. Long was convicted of desertion and is serving a 15-month prison sentence.The American people became disenchanted with the U.S. war in Iraq a long time ago. Almost everyone knows the war was based on lies. Candidate Obama called it a “dumb war” and promised to end it promptly. But the dictates of empire may see U.S. troops fighting and dying in Iraq for years to come. President Obama will attempt to manage a gradual draw-down of U.S. troops in Iraq, while simultaneously escalating the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Obama inherited these twin wars from George Bush, but they could easily drag down his own presidency.President Obama should immediately withdraw all U.S. troops, mercenaries and contractors from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Both wars are unjust and un-winnable. Both wars target civilians with weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. military is torturing prisoners and violating human rights in both wars. And the vast majority of the people in both countries want U.S. troops to leave.Uncle Sam has also failed on a massive scale to care for his own soldiers who have been physically and psychologically wounded, and are now caught up in an epidemic of suicide, murder and spousal abuse. President Obama must act to ensure adequate medical care and benefits for all veterans.President Obama should also do the right thing by those troops who refused to be part of this madness. With the stroke of a pen, he can grant amnesty to Cliff Cornell and thousands of young men and women who are fugitives from injustice. Presidents Ford and Carter granted measures of pardon and leniency to Vietnam draft resisters and deserters. President Obama can do the same.And the American people should not be lulled into passivity by the changing of the guard at the White House. We must continue to demand that our leaders end these horrible wars immediately. Not one more day of war will undo the damage we have already done.There will be [...]

President Obama: Grant Amnesty to All War Resisters


War Resister Group Calls on Obama to Grant Amnesty

Free Speech Radio News
Headlines for Wednesday, January 21, 2009

· Length: 5:20 minutes (4.89 MB)
· Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

* Israel Out of Gaza, Investigates Use of White Phosphorous
* UK Unemployment Rate Hits 12 Year High
* Mexican Tycoon Bails out NY Times
* Supreme Court Declines to Review Online Porn Law
* War Resister Group Calls on Obama to Grant Amnesty

On Barack Obama's first day in office, a war resisters support group based in Seattle is calling on the president to grant amnesty to US soldiers who refuse to fight in Iraq.

Mark Taylor-Canfield has more from Seattle.

Hundreds of US soldiers have relocated to Canada, Europe or LatinAmerica after choosing not to serve in the US war and occupation in Iraq. Many of the soldiers have gone into Canada by crossing the border between Washington State and British Columbia, which also served as a point of entry for conscientious objectors escaping toCanada during the US war in Vietnam.

Now Project Safe Haven is calling on President Barack Obama to grant immediate amnesty to all US war resisters who have refused to serve in Iraq.

The group is also calling for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and an end to the war in Afghanistan. Other demands include reparations for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and full benefits and healthcare for US military veterans.

According to Project Safe Haven organizer Gerry Condon, the petition was circulated among national anti-war and veterans groups and was delivered to the President-elect's transition team.

This is Mark Taylor-Canfield for Free Speech Radio News in Seattle.

Click here for audio,

Coalition Government Would Not Deport U.S. War Resisters


MPs Say Canada Should be a Refuge from Militarism

January 21, 2009

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Liberal and New Democrat MPs pledged Wednesday that U.S. war resisters would not be deported under a coalition government.

Five Americans could face deportation by the end of the month unless there's a last-minute court reprieve or an unexpected policy change by the federal government.

Liberal Mario Silva and New Democrat Olivia Chow said their parties would protect war resisters if Stephen Harper's government were to fall after next week's budget.

Silva invoked the words of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who during the Vietnam War said "Canada should be a refuge from militarism."

"To all those brave men and women who have in fact objected to (the Iraq) war we say, bravo. We say welcome, you should be here in Canada," Silva said at a news conference in Toronto, which was attended by several war resisters and their young families.

The House of Commons passed a motion last June 3 calling for a stop to deportations of war resisters and Silva urged the government to respect that vote.

One war resister, Robin Long, has been deported since the vote and was separated from his Canadian partner and infant son. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison in the U.S.
New Democrat Olivia Chow said Canada must stop deporting war resisters and breaking up families.

"We are a nation of compassion and of peace," she said. "We really should not deport war resisters into American jails."

This week, Christopher Teske, 27, lost his last court bid to stay in the country and faces deportation within days.

Teske, who has been living in British Columbia for two years, said in a statement that he's proud of his decision not to take part in the war in Iraq and wishes he could stay in Canada permanently.

Writer Mary Jo Leddy, a member of the Order of Canada, said the trials in Nuremberg after the Second World War established that soldiers are responsible for their actions, and should be allowed to opt out of conflict if they don't believe in the mission.

"The argument that one must follow orders in all circumstances is no longer justified," she said.
"Following orders is no longer the ultimate test of patriotism."

Island Community Supports Cliff Cornell


Islanders off Coast of British Columbia Show Love for War Resister

Chris Teske Faces Deportation on Inauguration Day


1.19.2009Chris Teske, a war resister who lives in BC, is scheduled to be thrown out of Canada and sent back to the US tomorrow. Chris and his lawyer will be in federal court today, asking for a stay of deportation.Here's Chris's story in his own words. January 4th, 2009Hello,My name is Christopher John Teske. I am a former paratrooper and infantryman in the United States Army. I enlisted prior to the September 11th attacks on the world trade center for patriotic reasons and to fund the completion of my college education.As I finished my training as a soldier, my country was attacked on September 11th, 2001. I was deeply upset that that civilians were specifically targeted. Shortly after the events of 9/11 I volunteered for combat assignment and was immediately deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division.While there I took part in the largest ground offensive of the war: "Operation Anaconda". When I returned from my deployment I was deeply troubled with the morality of armed conflict. I was also not convinced that the US Military's objectives and long term goals in Afghanistan were transparent, honest, or even attainable. Before I was able to personally sort out my feelings I was redeployed to Afghanistan, this time to the Waziristan Region to conduct counter insurgency operations.Deciding to return to Afghanistan for a second tour of duty was the hardest decision of my life. And now, in retrospect was wrong. I based my decision to deploy based on fear. I failed to listen to my conscience because I was scared of what the Army would do to me if I did not follow orders.Ultimately, I was more scared of official punishment than I was of losing my life in combat. I have always paid deeply for that decision. I am haunted by that decision.After my second tour of duty, I was honorably discharged from the Military and tried to move on with my life. I continue to be haunted by my military experiences in Afghanistan. I am very guarded about discussing what has happened to me and what I have seen. For me it was a time best left forgotten. To make peace with myself I decided I would never repeat what I had been through with the Army and I would never try to harm anyone, anyone ever again.I was unaware that the Army had placed me into the "Inactive Ready Reserve" until two years after my discharge from Afghanistan, when they ordered me to report for a physical exam as I was to be reactivated for combat service, this time in Iraq. I had already made the personal decision to not participate in any armed conflict based on my personal belief that it is immoral.It soon became apparent that I was trapped in the Army, escape was impossible and my only intended purpose was to “engage and destroy the enemy”, IE: kill. Period.At this point I made the only decision that seemed logical. I researched desertion and stumbled across the War Resisters here in Canada. In a sea of madness I made the only sane choice available. I deserted my unit and came to Canada.I have lived and worked in Canada for over 2 years now. I call the Kootenays my home. I came here to start fresh and make a new life for myself. I do not discuss my military past with anyone, most people I know or work with have no idea I am from the United States, was in the Military, or served in a War.As I said, for me it was a time best left forgotten.However, it seems as hard as I try to forget the institution which enslaved me, they have not forgotten about me. I have been denied at every turn in my immigratio[...]

Vietnam, Afghanistan, and GI Resistance


RESIST HOW YOU WILL - BUT RESISTOne of the lessons of the Vietnam antiwar movement is this: ALL forms of resistance are valid. It’s okay to advocate one or another form of resistance, as long as you understand that ALL forms of resistance WILL take place. It is a big mistake to play one form of resistance off against another form of resistance. Resisting deployment orders and/or going AWOL, for example, should not be played off against joining the military to organize soldiers against the war. Even if one chooses to re-deploy to Iraq and document the war, some good may well come from that action.We should especially try to avoid getting too moralistic about individual choices. There is no “pure” or “correct” form of resistance. There is only resistance. Furthermore, the various forms of resistance will form the whole of a multi-faceted resistance movement.Having said that, I too have been concerned about a culture within the GI resistance movement that says it’s fine to remain part of the war machine. Should we be telling antiwar soldiers they can resist illegal wars while following military orders? Can soldiers resist war while protecting their military careers and their prospects in civilian life? Hmmm...Resistance generally means taking some risks and dealing with some consequences. It means going AGAINST, not going WITH. In the context of soldiers of imperialism, it generally means withdrawing their participation from, and/or acting against military missions.What can be more powerful than a soldier saying, “NO, I will NOT participate in this illegal slaughter and oppression of entire peoples.” To roughly paraphrase Arlo Guthrie in his epic anti-draft song, Alice’s Restaurant: If one person does, it, they’ll think he’s crazy, or a coward, or a hero. If two people do it together, they’ll think they are gay. And if three, four, five, twenty or one hundred people do it together, they’ll think it’s a movement. And that’s what it will be – a real resistance movement strong enough, along with the ferocious resistance of the Iraqis, the Afghans, and the Palestinians, to frighten the imperialists into pulling back.The incoming administration is signaling a HUGE, LONG-TERM commitment to war and occupation in Afghanistan and the surrounding countries. This is a recipe for ongoing death and destruction on a massive scale. What would be a quicker, more effective way to pour water on this dubious mission than the public refusal of U.S. soldiers to deploy to that war? What a strategic victory that would be to build upon!How many GIs are ready to publicly refuse to go to Afghanistan, individually or together? Maybe only a few at this point. But if they are encouraged, (de-) mobilized and supported, others will follow their example.I hope I am not guilty of wishful thinking. I know I am impatient. But I think one of our biggest moral failings as an antiwar movement is that we have been way too patient. If organizations can help build the resistance, then we should build those organizations. But the main thing is to build the resistance.Most of us are not in the shoes of the GIs or even in a position to take their pulse. So, clearly, we must be somewhat humble with our advice. But there are a number of ways that we can demonstrate our support for GI resistance. We can defend every GI resister in every way we can – with money, with publicity, with legal support, political support, and moral support. We can advoca[...]