Joe and Clare Glenton refuse to
Now this British soldier
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT JOE GLENTON
· Write to Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Take action on the day of L/Cpl Glenton’s court martial - provisionally in January 2010. Contact us for details: email@example.com
· Share this information with your friends and relatives
First British soldier to speak out
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, joined the Army in 2004 and was sent to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2006. Whereas the army and politicians claimed that British troops were there to help, he was shocked to find that the Afghan people were against them. Ashamed and disillusioned, he went AWOL in 2007. He handed himself in two years later. Charged with desertion and other charges, he faces up to ten years in prison if convicted at his court martial. He has spoken out about discontentment in the ranks (see video from Channel 4 news, 24 October). Currently the army is trying to gag him by jailing him while he awaits trial. News of his stand is spreading internationally.
“Dear Gordon Brown,
I am writing to you as a serving soldier in the British army. It
is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow
soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy. The war
in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from
improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to
their country. Britain has no business there.”
Joe Glenton (Aug 2009)
"As the number of British deaths reach 204 in
eight years of conflict, I ask myself; 'How many more, Prime
Minister?' I urge the British Government to put an end to all
the pain and suffering of the brave men, women and their
families... My husband and I stand united in this. All I ask is
that each man and woman search their own conscience and come to
their own conclusions."
“There are the occupation forces from the sky, dropping cluster bombs and depleted uranium, and on the ground there are the fundamentalist warlords and the Taliban, with their own guns... With the withdrawal of one enemy, the occupation forces, it [will be] easier to fight against these internal fundamentalist enemies."
Malalai Joya, Afghani MP, expelled from Parliament
Occupation is the crime
British troops occupy the country as part of NATO to defend Western and especially US corporate interests. Although there is no oil in Afghanistan, controlling this country is key to dominating a region with the world’s largest untapped oil and gas resources. The US has plans to route a pipeline through Afghanistan to counter Russian and Iranian ambitions to supply Europe and elsewhere with natural gas.
Afghanistan – devastated by war
▪ Eight years of NATO occupation has worsened the lives of Afghani people. In 2009 the UN Human Development Index (health, education, life expectancy, living standards etc) ranked it 181 out of 182 countries.
▪ Only 14% of women are literate; pregnancy-related deaths are 60 times higher than in industrial countries; 50% of children under five suffer chronic malnutrition.
▪ President Karzai (internationally condemned for rigging the recent elections) introduced a law that effectively legalises rape and threatens women with starvation if they deny sex to their husbands.
▪ The majority of war casualties have been women. Of the estimated 1.5 million people killed in two decades of conflict, 300,000 were children;
▪ Ten million land mines have disabled hundreds of thousands of Afghanis.
The British government has spent £4.6 billion/year on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet both Tories and Labour say there is no money to pay for benefits and public services.
Joe Glenton is not alone
Other men and women have refused to be accomplices of war and occupation. In 2005, more than 380 UK soldiers went AWOL and are still missing.
In 2006, Ehren Watada (pictured) was the first US officer to refuse to go to Iraq and faced seven years in jail. Backed by an international campaign which included his mother and father and serving soldiers, vets and supporters, Lt Watada was never imprisoned and last month he won his discharge from the army.
Want to join the Armed Forces?
· They take a lot of our money to kill more of us: World governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on upgrading their armed forces last year, almost half of this by the US alone. At least 753,399 people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
· You can also be killed: 4,368 US and 179 UK soldiers killed in Iraq; 934 US, 237 UK, and 367 soldiers from other countries killed in Afghanistan.
· Or wounded: 4,139 US and 2,864 UK soldiers wounded in Afghanistan; 31,514 US and 11,750 UK soldiers wounded in Iraq.
· Or kill yourself : In the UK 264 Falklands veterans committed suicide after the war, while 255 were killed in the war. In the US, at least 6,200 veterans kill themselves each year.
· Or become physically ill, perhaps fatally: 6,000 UK and an estimated 210,000 US soldiers (30%) developed Gulf War Syndrome after the first Gulf War.
· Or mentally ill: More than 1,500 British Iraq veterans have been diagnosed with mental health disorders. About 300,000 (20%) US veterans suffer from major depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
· Or homeless: 1,100 UK veterans sleep rough or in hostels every night in London. In the US, one out of every three homeless men are veterans.
· Or get into trouble with the law: 8,500 UK veterans are in prison – 10% of the prison population! In 2004, there were 140,000 veterans in US prisons - 23% of them for a violent crime, including for sexual assault.
· Or kill or rape: Murders committed by UK active-duty soldiers rose 89% from the pre-war period. Domestic violence is five times higher among US military families than among civilian families.
· Or be raped or bullied: Who can forget the sexual abuse and sadism towards young recruits in UK Deepcut barracks? In the US, 30% of women ex-soldiers have reported rape or attempted rape within the military.
Is it worth it?
men’s network working with the
To see model letter, click here
To add your signature to the model letter click here