war resisters face deportation and recall to active duty in iraq

News release from the War Resisters Support Campaign:
With only six days remaining until the federal government's deportation order against war resister (James) Corey Glass takes effect, supporters across the country are intensifying efforts to protect Glass and others seeking refuge in Canada.

Rallies, lobbying and initiatives organized by faith, social justice, peace and citizens' groups are focused on urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to implement the will of Parliament expressed June 3rd with the passage of a landmark motion. It calls on the government to allow U.S. war resisters and immediate family members the opportunity to apply to remain in Canada as permanent residents; it also calls for an end to deportation orders against them.

A July 2nd article on the ABC News website caused some confusion by indicating that Mr. Glass was discharged from active military duty on Dec. 1, 2006. After careful legal inquiries in Canada and the United States, the War Resisters Support Campaign has found that the "discharge" has not substantially changed Corey Glass's situation, or that of any of the other US Iraq War resisters in Canada.

Glass has not received an official discharge paper from the Army – known as a DD 214. He has not gone through the normal discharge process, involving a host of paperwork, a physical examination, and other tasks. In the wake of the ABC News story, he has checked his status and found only an order posted to change his status from "active" to "inactive". This does not count as a full discharge from the military.

Glass's lawyer points out that, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he could still be charged with desertion and punished by imprisonment and a Bad Conduct discharge, equivalent to a felony conviction. As a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, he could be recalled to active duty, possibly in Iraq, at any time until July 2010 and be forced to serve past that date, through the "stop loss" program.

Given his objections to the Iraq war as illegal and immoral, Glass is most worried about this possibility. He would find himself in same position as when he came to Canada in 2006.

While the ABC News story about Glass has attracted much attention, what has been obscured are the other war resisters who are now being processed for deportation. For them, there has been no mention or indication of a discharge.

The War Resisters Support Campaign will continue to press the federal government to implement the June 3rd motion. That this motion expresses the will of a large majority of Canadians is shown by last week's Angus Reid poll result, in which three out of five Canadians polled said that the war resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada.

The more I think about a person being forced to serve in an invading and occupying army, the more it seems like slavery.

Are not our bodies and our lives our own? Should a government be allowed to force a citizen to kill, or to risk his own death or permanent disability? If a person volunteers for such duty, then changes her or his mind, for whatever reason, should that person be forced to participate, no matter what, for however long the government chooses?

Don't we all want control over our own life choices? Why should the war resisters have any less?

No government has the right to force us to kill or be killed.

Let Them Stay!

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