U.S. War resisters in Canada need our help
Hundreds of AWOL GI's are currently living in Canada, many already having served in Iraq. With the support of many Canadians, they are struggling to create a home and a sanctuary.

"Where is the rage?" asks Iraq veteran
Army National Guard Spc. Justin Cliburn declares, "No, I am not going back to participate in that war."

How Private Hess resisted Iraq War
After his conscientious objector discharge was denied, Derek Hess threatened to kill himself if deployed—and he was serious about it.

March on Washington DC this Saturday

Message from Dahlia Wasfi, M.D.
Iraqi American peace and justice activist. Please donate.


U.S. War resisters in Canada need our help

Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, resisters fighting to remain in Canada. Photo: Andre Souroujon

By Gerry Condon.
September 12, 2007

Thousands of young men and women are AWOL from the U.S. military. Away Without Official Leave. Also known as “deserters.” But they are not AWOL from their own consciences. And they have not deserted their moral upbringings or the law. Quite to the contrary. At considerable personal risk and inconvenience, they have made a conscientious decision to separate themselves from an illegal and immoral war. They are our antiwar heroes. They very much deserve our support. And they very much need it.

A couple hundred AWOL GI’s are currently living in Canada. They are from the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. Many of them served one tour in Iraq and then refused to go back again. Instead, they and their families have moved to Canada. With the support of many Canadians, they are struggling to create a home for themselves and a sanctuary for war resisters.

Nearly fifty of the resisters have asked Canadian authorities to allow them to remain in Canada as political refugees. They strongly believe they are doing the right thing by refusing to fight in an illegal war. They look to UN refugee law, which states that soldiers should be considered as refugees if they face persecution for refusing to fight in wars that are “widely condemned by the international community as contrary to standards of human conduct.”

These absentee GI’s are upholding the Nuremberg Principles, which were adopted as U.S. law after World War II. By refusing to fight in illegal wars or to commit war crimes, they are exercising their rights and responsibilities as soldiers.

Tell the Canadian government: Let them stay!

It is urgent that everyone who supports the right of US war resisters to stay in Canada immediately contact both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley and request that they make a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Fax: 613-941-6900
Email pm@pm.gc.ca

Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley
Phone: 613-954-1064
(between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.)
Email: Minister@cic.gc.ca

For more information or to donate to the vital work of the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada, visit their website at www.resisters.ca.

So far, the war resisters’ refugee claims have been rejected by the political appointees on Canada’s refugee boards, who say that war resisters had legal avenues in the U.S. they could have pursued. They say that prosecution for being AWOL does not amount to “persecution.” They are reluctant to call the U.S. war "illegal."

But the war resisters are fighting for their rights and for international law. They are appealing in Canada’s federal court system. The first two U.S. war resisters to apply for refugee status, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear their appeals. Their lawyer, Jeffry House, is optimistic that the Supreme Court will overturn the negative decisions of the refugee board and the lower courts that have upheld them. In November, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear the war resisters’ appeals.

But Canadians are not waiting for the Supreme Court decision. Tens of thousands of them have signed a petition calling on their government to create a sanctuary policy for U.S. war resisters. The War Resisters Support Campaign, with support from organizations like the Canadian Labour Congress and the United Church of Canada, are helping war resisters in cities all across Canada.

Now is the time for people in the U.S. to make their voices heard. Tell the Canadian government that our war resisters need and deserve a safe haven in Canada. The Canadian people and government said no to the Iraq War. And, according to a recent poll, they are saying yes to war resisters. Now it is time for the Canadian government to do the right thing.

Read this report and view new video


"Where is the rage?" asks Iraq War veteran

supporting gi resistance
Justin Cliburn joins anti-war march in St. Louis 8/19/07 following Vets for Peace convention. Photo: Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist

By Army National Guard Spc. Justin Cliburn. September 10, 2007

I had drill this weekend. Drill has been a forever-evolving presence in my life for the past six years. I went from looking forward to drill to hating it to missing it while I was in Iraq and back to looking forward to it when I returned. I used to hate drill, but found myself liking the weekends where I was reunited with those that I spent a year with in Iraq. Over the past few months, that has turned into dread, and I am questioning whether or not I can remain an effective member of the military.

Over the course of our many bullshit sessions at drill, the topic of Iraq inevitably came up. We exchanged stories and shared laughs as the new guys who didn't deploy looked on with wonder. Stories about clandestine drunken nights, the anger that comes with being kicked out of the chow hall for being sweaty, and getting to the point where you ignore gunfire took up most of the time, but not all of the stories were so innocent. The same set of soldiers that in 2005 said they couldn't wait to kill "ragheads" were now bragging about times they scared Iraqis, bent the rules of engagement, and generally enjoyed playing bully for a year. I like these guys a lot, but I don't know why I was surprised. I had thought that maybe being there for a year would eventually change them and open their eyes to how their actions were inhumane, but I was wrong.

Someone who had not deployed before asked if we would go again. "In a heartbeat!" one soldier replied. Others assured him that they would have no problem going back. Now, the eyes were on me.

"No, I am not going back to participate in that war."

Read Justin's complete story


How Private Derek Hess resisted the Iraq War

army of none
Derek Hess and girlfriend Tara

Courage to Resist.
September 12, 2007

Derek Hess is an Army veteran who was recently discharged after resisting deployment to Iraq. While tens of thousands of servicepersons have simply gone AWOL in the last few years, Derek’s story is one of nearly infinite versions of passive-aggressive resistance. He ended up with a medical discharge, under honorable conditions. After his conscientious objector discharge was denied, Derek threatened to kill himself if deployed—and he was serious about it.

"Like most veterans, I believe that the war in Iraq is an illegal, lying, and immoral war," says Derek summing up his opposition to deploying. “By refusing to fight this war, I believe I upheld the US constitution by refusing to participate in actions that could possibly open me up to a court martial for war crimes. And I believe it is my choice as a human being to deny my participation in the slaughter of innocent human beings.”...

Derek came to believe that the real purpose of the war is to "keep rich people rich," and his conscience would not allow him to fight in such a war. In January of 2007, he applied for conscientious objector status. Like most applicants, his application was denied....

He told his superiors "that I would kill myself if I was sent to Iraq—so there would be no way I could used as a weapon of mass destruction for the US government." Because Derek had a history of anxiety and depression induced by his experiences in the military, the Army took his threat seriously, had him examined by a psychiatrist and ultimately discharged him for "failure to adapt" to the military. He ended up with a medical discharge that’s classified as “honorable in character.”

Although his family doesn’t understand his actions, “I can talk to them till I'm blue in the face, I don’t think they realize what is really happening,” his girlfriend Tara offers, “I think what Derek did was not an act of cowardice but of being extremely brave. By speaking out, and refusing to fight in an illegal war, rejecting an illegal order from his highest ranking superiors, he did what was right."

"...My plans now include being active to bringing my brothers and sisters home—those that were not as lucky as I was. I want to be part of the anti-war movement, and I hope others will have the courage to resist and say NO to Iraq.”

Read Derek's complete story


A message from Dahlia Wasfi, M.D.

Dahlia Wasfi, M.D.

Iraqi American peace and justice activist

May God bless the troops with the courage to resist and their brave supporters. These young men and women, with a wisdom far beyond their years, are the key to ending the U.S.-led genocide in Iraq. Their credibility and strength is irrefutable. Let them lead us to justice. In solidarity with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist.

Please make a donation to support the work of Courage to Resist.