Successful Actions for War Resisters!
10 July 2008
Well, we had a great day overall! Thanks to the united efforts of many folks, we succeeded in mounting actions at the Canadian Embassy and Consulates in 14 U.S. cities! The reports from the various cities are still trickling in. There were reportedly 60 people at the vigil in New York, 50 in San Francisco, “50 some” in Chicago, and respectable showings elsewhere. There was significant media coverage of these vigils in both the U.S. and Canada. Veterans For Peace president Elliott Adams was interviewed on Canadian Broadcasting Corp. television this morning and CBC covered the vigil in Washington too. Associated Press showed up at several rallies. We had local TV and radio coverage here in Seattle, along with AP and Free Speech Radio News. And the beat goes on.
Thanks to the collaboration of Courage to Resist, Veterans For Peace and Project Safe Haven, these were easily the largest nationally coordinated actions in the U.S. on behalf of our war resisters in Canada.
And we gained another victory today! Corey Glass will not be deported anytime soon. A Federal Court in Canada granted him a stay of his deportation, at least for several months while his lawyers are given a chance to appeal earlier negative rulings.
This is related to the legal victory of Joshua Key on the 4th of July. According to the Federal Court, the regular abuse of Iraq civilians at the hands of the U.S. military are systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions, and should be a basis for granting refugee status. The mobilizations being coordinated between Canada and the U.S. are definitely creating positive momentum. And time seems to be on our side.
But now we are faced with another emergency! The police in Nelson, British Columbia are at it again, along with the Canada Border Services Agency. Yesterday, while all eyes were on Corey Glass, they arrested another U.S. war resister, Robin Long, for supposed violations immigration law. They threatened to deport Long immediately, but Canadian Immigration, under legal and political pressure, have given Long’s lawyer until Monday to file for a stay of deportation. Neither Robin Long nor his lawyer had been informed of plans to deport him, and thus he was denied his legal right to appeal.
So vigilance and political pressure remains important. To counteract their apparent eagerness to hand a war resister over as a prize to George Bush, the minority Conservative government needs to know that people in the U.S. and Canada are still paying attention.
Tomorrow is a National Day of Action in Canada. There will be rallies in several Canadian cities, including Vancouver, from where Robin Long could be deported as early as Tuesday. And people will continue to barrage the government with phone calls and emails.
We in the U.S. can continue to generate phone calls and emails to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Immigration Minister Diane Finley (See alert and contact information from the War Resisters Support Campaign, below).
And those of us who did not actually send delegations in to meet with the Canadian Consuls should consider doing so by next Monday or Tuesday (and later too). The more Consulates that have to report to their government, the better. Consider broad-based delegations.
The letter sent by Canadian religious leaders might serve as a good model for religious leaders in the U.S. (See also below.)
Tomorrow morning I will be interviewed on CBC Radio in Vancouver for 15 minutes. They are most interested to know what kind of punishment awaits Robin Long if he is handed over to the U.S. Army. I will tell them that those AWOL resisters who are the most vocal, including those who go to Canada, are most likely to face persecution – harassment, court martial, imprisonment and less-than-honorable discharges. A bad discharge can be a life sentence of job discrimination, and keep someone from having access to healthcare, which means something to Canadians.
The question of what amounts to “persecution” will be the next legal and political battleground for Joshua Key, Corey Glass, Robin Long and nearly 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada. At least, until the government decides to follow the will of the Canadian people and Parliament...
By the way, there will probably be a federal election in Canada in the fall. The Liberal Party, who now are solidly on the record supporting war resisters, could form the next government.
Please check out the following alert and reports from the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada. Or go to their website, www.resisters.ca.
And keep on keepin’ on!
for peace and justice,
another positive decision for U.S. war resisters in Canada, Corey
Glass was granted a stay of removal by the Federal Courty today.
While not reasons for the decision have been issued yet, it
reinforces the positive decision in Joshua Key's asylum case issued
on Friday, July 4th.