Two years ago, almost to the day, US war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family were forced out of Canada by the Harper Government. Kim – peace activist, artist, mother, dreamer – crossed the border and was immediately taken away in handcuffs. She served more than a year in prison, separated from her husband and children. Her crime: refusing to kill innocent civilians in Iraq, and refusing to risk being killed and leaving her own children without a mother. When news of her removal from Canada was announced in Canada’s House of Commons, the Conservative MPs applauded.
Now it is (Read more…)
On Labour Day, I happened to see this on Twitter:
I am on my union’s labour-management committee, the group that meets monthly with management to discuss members’ concerns and try to resolve issues. I was intrigued and followed the link that Rank and File had posted.
To my surprise, the original “how to” advice was written by the late Charley Richardson, who passed away in 2013. I knew of Charley, mostly by his outsize reputation, from another part of his life: along with his wife Nancy Lessin, he co-founded Military Families Speak Out.
MFSO is now defunct, but the organization (Read more…)
The conversation was simple enough.
Teenage girl: “Where is the nonfiction?”
Me: “Nonfiction is upstairs, but it’s organized according to subject. There should be some nonfiction books on the Bingo display.”
Teen: “I think they’re all gone.”
Me: “OK, we’ll find you something. What would you like to read about?”
Teen: “So far I’ve read one nonfiction book. It was about a man who left the war in Iraq. It was called The Deserter’s Tale. I loved it.”
Why did this make me so unreasonably happy?
1. War resisters! Teens reading about moral choices! Teens (Read more…)
The Brockway family, 2013
I want to tell you about an exciting venture: an opportunity to help make art more accessible for all, to help a low-income woman start her own business, and to help the family of an Iraq War resister, all at the same time. I hope you’ll read about BrokenArt Mosaics and share Ashlea Brockway’s crowd-funding page.
Wmtc readers may remember my posts about the Brockway family. Jeremy Brockway is an Iraq War veteran with severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Denied medical leave and unable to return to combat, Jeremy and his family came to Canada. Wmtc (Read more…)
Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.
This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a a Christian crusade against Muslims.
None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits (Read more…)
Today in Let Them Stay Week 2014 is Social Media Thursday!
- Change your Facebook picture to the picture above to show support for US war resisters in Canada. You can also find the photo on our website, resisters.ca.
- Invite your friends to change their picture, too.
- Tweet your support for war resisters, using #LetThemStay.
- Follow @WarResisters and retweet our messages throughout the day.
Today we go old school. Take out a pen, or turn on your printer, and send some paper mail to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander. Tell him to stop deporting US war resisters in Canada, and to enact a provision to let them stay. Tell him why.
Find an envelope, and send your letter to:The Honourable Chris AlexanderHouse of CommonsJustice Building – 306284 Wellington StreetOttawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
If you live in Canada, you don’t even need a stamp.
Today is a very important day in Let Them Stay Week 2014. Today we flood some inboxes!
If you support US war resisters in Canada, please take a moment to call or email the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander. Ask him to ensure that no more US war resisters are forced out of Canada for their opposition to an illegal and immoral war, and to enact a provision to let them stay in Canada.
You can send an email from this Take Action page, or write your own message and email it to: Minister@cic.gc.ca and (Read more…)
Don’t you love it when everything comes together? It’s Let Them Stay Week 2014, I’m thinking about the US war resisters in Canada, and about war resistance in general. And I’m reading a terrific youth novel, Flight, by Sherman Alexie, both fast-paced and rich with insight and meaning. And I come upon this passage. And if this doesn’t qualify as a Revolutionary Thought of the Day, I don’t know what does. Without stopping, the white soldier reaches down and picks up Bow Boy. Cradles the child in one arm. And the white soldier keeps running. He’s running towards the (Read more…)
Let Them Stay Week 2014 kicked off yesterday with a flutter on social media. Today we get underway in earnest by writing letters to the editors of local newspapers.
Three ideas for letters are here on the War Resisters Support Campaign website.
An excellent list of email address, along with some tips for writing effective letters, is here, thanks to the good folks fighting for our public health care system.
Your letter might reference one of three events: the 10th anniversary of the first Iraq War resister to arrive in Canada, the recent release from prison of war resister (Read more…)
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of Jeremy Hinzman, the first US Iraq War resister to seek asylum here after refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war. Yet 10 years on, Jeremy and his family, and many other U.S. war resisters, are still living in limbo – not certain if they will be forced to return to the US, where they face harsh punishment for their courageous decision.
From January 12 to 19, join Canadians across the country in Let Them Stay Week 2014, to send a message that U.S. (Read more…)
Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), who risked her freedom and her life so that people would see the truth about the US occupation of Iraq, is spending another birthday in prison. This is Manning’s fourth birthday behind bars. She was held in solitary confinement (a recognized form of torture) for 10 months, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing the video now known as Collateral Murder and other information to Wikileaks. Not one person was harmed as a result of the information becoming public.
On the other hand, the men who cooked up the highly profitable (Read more…)
Maybe you thought we gave up and went away? Not a chance. The War Resisters Support Campaign is still working to make Canada a safe haven for people of peace and conscience.
Several US war resisters were forced out of Canada, court martialed, and given harsh prison sentences by the US military. Many more could no longer bear the uncertainty and surrendered themselves to the military. But some forty people who refused to participate in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, along with their families, are still living in Canada. And we are still fighting for them.
About a (Read more…)
At long last, Iraq War resister Kim Rivera is out of prison and reunited with her family. This is great news, the best news. I should be thrilled, but the whole situation makes me so sad that I can’t muster much joy.
Three days ago, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera gave birth to a son, Matthew Kaden, in a military hospital in San Diego. As soon as her hospital stay ends (which may have already happened), Kim will be taken back to prison. Her newborn baby will stay with his father and his siblings… but his mother will be forced to finish her prison term. Her release is scheduled for mid-December.
The US Army has rejected all appeals for clemency, and is insisting Kim serve the final weeks of her sentence, even though it means separating a mother and a newborn infant.
Today marks four years since Iraq War resister Rodney Watson requested sanctuary from the First United Church in Vancouver. Watson has been in sanctuary ever since.
We can honour Watson’s sacrifice and his commitment to peace by renewing our demand that the Canadian government allow Watson and all war resisters to live freely in Canada.
Abby Zimet reports on Common Dreams: Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted (Read more…)
Some of you may remember when wmtc was obsessed with the War Resisters Support Campaign, a fact that was noticed in some very interesting places. (Hi CIC! Are you still reading?) I joined the Campaign in 2007, then in 2009, I began school for my Master of Information degree.
I managed to stay active in the Campaign during my first two years of school, but by fall of 2011, night classes plus my library page job on top of my regular paid employment forced me to take a back seat. I thought I’d reactivate immediately after (Read more…)
Here are two important things you can do to help support Chelsea Manning.
1. Do whatever you can to work for her pardon. You can sign the petition to President Obama here.
You have to create an account, but that only takes a few moments, and the form accepts Canadian postal codes. Please sign and share widely.
2. Write her. According to her support team, she’s looking forward to being able to correspond with her supporters for the first time. The mailing address will say Bradley Manning, as that’s the only name the military will recognize. But you can and (Read more…)
A while back, I saw a blog post angrily asking why everyone referred to Bradley Manning as a man when it is “known” that he is trans. The answer is simple: out of respect. That’s how Manning was identifying. Period. Anything else was rumour.
Now that Manning’s court martial (fake trial) is over, she has come out as a transwoman. So now we can refer to Chelsea Manning with the same respect.
From Chase Madar, in The Nation: Update, 8/22/2013: Yesterday, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Today, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning announced through her lawyer (Read more…)
In case you haven’t seen it, this link at Democracy Now! has the transcript of Bradley Manning’s statement, read by his lawyer David Coombs, after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks (Read more…)
My thoughts on the Bradley Manning verdict at Socialist.ca: here.
Earlier this week, Bradley Manning’s defense ended its case in Manning’s sentencing hearing. Manning made a statement to the military court: an apology.
Reading it, I thought of 1984, when Winston faces the terror of being eaten alive by rats, and he tells his tormentors what they want to hear. I read the apology and I thought, They have crushed him.
Manning has been tortured – physically and mentally. He has been through an ordeal that few us can possibly imagine. No matter how much we admire him, no matter how we stand with him in spirit or in (Read more…)
Brandon Toy, writing in Common Dreams. I hereby resign in protest effective immediately.
I have served the post-911 Military Industrial complex for 10 years, first as a soldier in Baghdad, and now as a defense contractor.
At the time of my enlistment, I believed in the cause. I was ignorant, naïve, and misled. The narrative, professed by the state, and echoed by the mainstream press, has proven false and criminal. We have become what I thought we were fighting against.
Recent revelations by fearless journalists of war crimes including counterinsurgency “dirty” wars, drone terrorism, the suspension of due process, torture, (Read more…)
Revolutionary thought of the day: This war is murder, this conquest is robbery… If this war be called patriotism then blessed be treason.
Clarence Darrow, 1898, on the Spanish-American war