Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cory Glass is an ex-member of the US National Guard who, after serving five months in the American occupation force in Iraq, deserted during a brief at-home leave and fled to Canada. Glass, along with many others who recognize the war and occupation as illegal and immoral, have sought sanctuary in Canada. Last June 3rd Canada's Parliament passed a motion saying that the war resisters presently in Canada should be allowed to stay. The Conservative government has refused to act on this motion and has continued deportation proceedings against Glass and others. This coming Thursday, the day Glass is due to be deported the War Resisters Support Campaign will be holding a demonstration in Ottawa to protest the deportation. This follows numerous demonstrations and other actions at Conservative Constituency Offices across the country. One, halfway between a sit-in and a vigil, was held here in Winnipeg on July 3rd at the offices of Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge.

Here's the announcement from the War Resisters' Support campaign....
Human Chain stretching from the Federal Court to U.S. Consulate
-- Human Chain stretching from the Federal Court to U.S. Consulate
Thursday, July 10th
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Northwest corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

The Harper government is refusing to respect the will of Parliament and attempting to deport Iraq War Resisters.

A motion passed in the House of Commons June 3rd called for a provision to allow war resisters to stay and to stop removal proceedings against war resisters in Canada. The Harper government is refusing to implement that motion.

Sgt. Corey Glass has been asked to leave Canada on July 10th. Many other resisters face a similar fate if the Harper government continues to ignore Parliament and the majority of Canadians.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on all supporters to join U.S. Iraq War Resisters to create a human chain from the Federal Court building on Queen Street to the U.S. Consulate.

Supporters are encouraged to bring placards, signs, organization banners, and their friends and family to show that the majority of Canadians want war resisters to stay.

For more information:
416 598 1222
The case of another war resister also highlights the questions surrounding why the Harper Government is in such a rocket-propelled "firecracker-up-the-ass" hurry to get their dirty deeds done before it becomes impossible to do them. Last Friday, July 4th, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of Josua Key (see left) that the Refugee Board erred in law by refusing Key status as a refugee. This ruling could affect the cases of all of the US war resisters presently seeking asylum in Canada. The following story from the CBC tells about this decision. Consult another in the Toronto Star for even more details on this case.

U.S. deserter could qualify as refugee: court

An American war deserter could have a valid claim for refugee status in Canada, the Federal Court ruled on Friday.

I n a decision that may have an impact on dozens of refugee claimants in Canada, Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes said Canada's refugee board erred by rejecting the asylum bid of Joshua Key. He ordered that a new panel reconsider the application.

Key was sent to Iraq in 2003 as a combat engineer for eight months where he said he was responsible for nighttime raids on private Iraqi homes, which included searching for weapons.
He alleged that during his time in Iraq he witnessed several cases of abuse, humiliation, and looting by the U.S. army.

When Key was back in the U.S on a two-week leave, he said he was suffering from debilitating nightmares and that he couldn't return. A military lawyer told him that he could either return to Iraq or face prison.

Instead, Key took his family to Canada and applied for refugee status.

While the immigration board concluded that some of the alleged conduct by the U.S military included a "disturbing level of brutality," it said the conduct did not meet the definition of a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Barnes said the board erred “by concluding that refugee protection for military deserters and evaders is only available where the conduct objected to amounts to a war crime, a crime against peace or a crime against humanity."

Citing a case from the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal, Barnes said officially condoned military misconduct could still support a refugee claim, even if it falls short of a war crime.

"The authorities indicate that military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non-combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim where that is the proven reason for refusing to serve," Barnes wrote.

Barnes said the board imposed a legal standard that was "too restrictive" on Key, who lives in Saskatchewan.

Key's lawyer, Jeffry House, said the ruling expands a soldier's right to refuse military service.
"It's a huge victory for numerous soldiers who are here and maybe others who are thinking of coming here," House said.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Diane Finley said they were reviewing the court decision.

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