10.27.2008

war resister matt lowell has received a stay of deportation

After a long day - and evening - of waiting, we've learned that US war resister Matt Lowell will not be deported tomorrow. WHEW!

As in the cases of Jeremy Hinzman and Corey Glass, a federal court has ruled that Matt should not be forced to return to the US at this time. Matt can now ask the court for leave to appeal. If granted that leave, he can then appeal the decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Many, many thanks to the wonderful Alyssa Manning for successfully arguing Matt's case, and to all Matt's supporters, especially the crew in London who has spearheaded the fight.

Another victory! Let them stay!

29 comments:

Kim_in_TO said...

Yay!

I thought I would see you on University today. Were you in London?

Sarah Gates said...

Hooray!

L-girl said...

Yeah!

I thought I would see you on University today. Were you in London?

I had to sit this one out - it would have been too many nights in a row for me.

What a day, not hearing until 8:00 or so. Poor Matt! But thank goodness it was good news.

David Heap said...

A night to celebrate peace, and then work for a real political solution so all the resisters can stay in this country if they want -- so that we don't have to keep going to the brink of almost seeing them deported, piecemeal.

Alyssa Manning is awesome! Please, if you possibly can, help us by making a donation towards Matt's legal costs . Updates to follow as more info becomes available.

Cornelia said...

Wow!!! Yay, that's great news!!! Congratulations!!! I am so glad and relieved.

Cornelia said...

I guess it is important always to keep in mind that sometimes there are actually victories at times since that is encouraging and makes the ongoing work for the cases and a political solution easier!

Kevin said...

It is my hope that we can end this stupid war and get a presidential pardon for those war resistors, so that those that wish to stay in Canada may do so; and those who wish to come back to the states may do so.

L-girl said...

get a presidential pardon for those war resistors

This is extremely unlikely to happen, no matter what happens with the US occupation of Iraq. I'm sorry to say, your hope is unrealistic in this regard.

Soldier Say No! said...

A couple years ago, some of the experts were saying that Canada would never grant sanctuary to Iraq War resisters. But after almost five years of struggle, war resisters and their supporters have won over Canadian public opinion, they have gained the support of the Parliament, and they are beginning to have a measure of success in Canada' Federal courts.

The next Canadian government (after the minority Conservatives) may well declare sanctuary for war resisters. In the meantime, there is a de facto sanctuary of at least a few years for all war resisters who wish to come to Canada. This is something that is being secured by Canadians at the community level.

The possibiliites for a U.S. presidential pardon - or "amnesty" for war resisters, can be looked at in the same way. In 1977, Jimmy Carter's first act as president was to grant an unconditional pardon to Vietnam-era draft resisters. This came after several years of serious organizing and coalition-building.

President Carter also ordered the military to establish a quick, non-punitive discharge program for AWOL soldiers (who were required to turn themselves in within a several month window), and to begin a case-by-case review of less-than-honorable discharges.

Carter's pardon program was far from perfect, but it allowed tens of thousands of war resisters to legalize their status and get on with their lives.

A presidential pardon for AWOL GIs will require a lot of hard organizing. But it is not impossible. Furthermore, amnesty is a righteous demand that will help educate the public and military personnel about international and domestic laws. Soldiers have the legal right and responsibility to resist illegal, immoral wars of aggression.

In the United States, the movement to support war resisters is spawning efforts to establish "Sanctuary Cities," where war resisters will be welcome and where city resources, such as policing, cannot be used to apprehend AWOL GIs. This grassroots movement may well become the foundation for an eventual push for a presidential pardon, or amnesty.

But amnesty for war resisters will not come easily or soon. For one thing, both McCain and Obama are promising to escalate the U.S. "war on terror" in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The antiwar movement in the U.S. will be stronger if it includes a clear demand that nobody who resists illegal wars should be punished for doing the right thing.

Gerry Condon
Project Safe Haven
(206) 499-1220
www.SoldierSayNo.blogspot.com

David Heap said...

I tend to agree with L-girl that the possibility of a presidential pardon in the U.S. is rather remote at this time -- it took Carter until something like 5 years AFTER the end of the Vietnam war to get around to pardoning draft resisters (but not deserters, if memory serves), so let's not hold our collective breath.

That said, no harm in signing the petition for a Obama to pardon Robin (please!) in the meantime.

L-girl said...

pardoning draft resisters (but not deserters, if memory serves)

I think that's correct. According to the US, there is no draft, these people voluntarily signed a contract, etc. The political climate would have to change drastically for war resisters to be allowed to come home without charges.

That said, no harm in signing the petition for a Obama to pardon Robin (please!) in the meantime.

I posted it here.

I hope no one is fooling themselves that Obama wants peace. He's already talking about ramping up the war in Afghanistan, and he won't rule out invading Iran.

redsock said...

. According to the US, there is no draft, these people voluntarily signed a contract, etc.

According to the US Army's own statements, 10% of the troops in Iraq have been stop-lossed.

A least 1 out of every 10 soldiers in Iraq is there against his or her will. (Because if they had wanted to stay, they would have reenlisted.)

L-girl said...

A least 1 out of every 10 soldiers in Iraq is there against his or her will. (Because if they had wanted to stay, they would have reenlisted.)

Right. And that doesn't count the poverty draft, the lies told in recruiting, the choking-off of all other options for health care and education.

And it doesn't count people's experience in the war, through which they learn that the idea of war and the reality of war are two very different things, and develop a moral objection to what they're doing.

Cornelia said...

I also think getting amnesty for the current war resisters stateside will not be easy and unfortunately seems really unlikely right now. It id take a lot of protests to get it after the disaster back then with the Vietnam war and the draft and there were way more protests and contestation back then, I guess, and still it had not been easy. Of course I know the stop loss stuff is a horrible problem! It would have been much wiser to accept that the Iraq war is deeply unpopular and to end it but - we know what kind of policy is that...Of course, I signed up to the petition for release for Robin Long, too and I hope it will help somehow. Otherwise, probably he will be released on parole after 2/3 of the sentence due to no problems with conduct and the fact that he is safe and they have no reason to be scared of what he might do when released...I mean, he is in the stockade merely due to that Iraq war disaster but not because of having done something wrong and dangerous and abusive...

Cornelia said...

Yep, it is not only the stop loss but also the lies of the recruiters and above all, the horrid lack of sufficient social security stateside.

L-girl said...

Yep, it is not only the stop loss but also the lies of the recruiters and above all, the horrid lack of sufficient social security stateside.

I see Cornelia and I had the exact same thought. :)

Cornelia said...

Yep!!!

Soldier Say No! said...

President Carter granted an unconditional pardon to draft resisters, actually about 4,400 mainly white, middle class men. The 9,000 men who had already been convicted and punished for draft evasion were not pardoned, and their felony records remained.

Carter also established a program for AWOL soldiers to turn themselves in and be quickly discharged in a climate of leniency. But it was case-by-case, at the disposition of the military brass. And the window for participating in this program was only a few months.

Nonetheless, it is historically significant, all the more so now, that a sitting president, on his first day in office, did establish a pardon program for war resisters, including provisions for a non-punitive "clemency" discharge for AWOL GIs.

I know about this because I was actively involved with the struggle for amnesty, along with AMEX-Canada, the war resister magazine and political collective in Toronto.

As far as there being no draft now: I think the most significant impact is that we do not have the huge base of middle-class families, and therefore not the mainstream Democratic Party support for amnesty that we enjoyed in the 70's.

U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam in 1972-73. The war continued until April 30, 1975, when the North Vietnamese Army walked into Saigon, virtually unopposed. Carter' pardon came 2-1/2 years later.

The amnesty movement and the Hayden-Fonda led movement to defund the “Vietnamesed” war were what remained of the U.S. antiwar movement post withdrawal of U.S. troops.

This history and how it may apply to the peace movement today is very much on my mind these days. It there can be a movement for sanctuary for U.S. war resisters in Canada, then certainly there can and must be a U.S. movement for sanctuary and amnesty for war resisters. Such efforts on opposite sided of the border should, ideally, be very complementary.

Thanks for giving me the chance to articulate these ideas. I intend to begin sharing this discussion with many others.

for peace and justice
Gerry Condon

www.SoldierSayNo.blogspot.com
(206) 499-1220

Cornelia said...

Of course getting a political solution would have been way easier if the Harper Government had fallen at the recent elections. But we will see what we can do. And at least there are successes from time to time...

Cornelia said...

Yep, Carter did a pretty good job with the pardon although there were some points that were still not sufficient. Thanks so much for the info, Gerry, it is good to know exactly. Of course it would be great if another amnesty came to pass again...It 's just that it seems very difficult to achieve right now. But of course if it does happen, we would more than welcome it, right?

L-girl said...

Gerry, thanks so much for this information. You are an invaluable resource. Thanks for all your great work.

L-girl said...

As far as there being no draft now: I think the most significant impact is that we do not have the huge base of middle-class families, and therefore not the mainstream Democratic Party support for amnesty that we enjoyed in the 70's.

That's what the anti-war movement in the US is suffering from most of all. It's not effecting the middle class, so for most people, it's simply not happening.

L-girl said...

Of course getting a political solution would have been way easier if the Harper Government had fallen at the recent elections.

In fact, it would have been done, period.

But we have not given up, and will not.

Soldier Say No! said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Laura. And thanks to you and Cornelia for this interesting discussion.

Did you know that I often link to your posts on my blog, www.SoldierSayNo.blogspot.com?

I do this because you often post the latest news about war resisters in Canada and how to support them, even before the War Resisters Support Campaign, and usually in a more colorful manner ;-)

Does Google's Blogspot notify you when I link to your posts?

I have two more comments about organizing for amnesty in the U.S.

1) Power concedes nothing without a demand and a struggle.

2) If a demand is righteous, and if the struggle to achieve it educates and mobilizes people, that may be more important than how the government ultimately responds to it.

Cheers,
Gerry

Cornelia said...

Of course getting a political solution would have been way easier if the Harper Government had fallen at the recent elections.

In fact, it would have been done, period.

But we have not given up, and will not.

Exactly!!!

Cornelia said...

I think Vietnam and particularly the draft were even much worse (and therefore the need for amnesty was very evident) but the situation nowadays is definitely bad enough...Hopefully something to remedy it can be achieved politically.

L-girl said...

Did you know that I often link to your posts on my blog, www.SoldierSayNo.blogspot.com?

Yes, I do!

I do this because you often post the latest news about war resisters in Canada and how to support them, even before the War Resisters Support Campaign, and usually in a more colorful manner ;-)

Ha, thank you! Because I can blog from anywhere, and am so often at a computer, I can usually post resister news sooner. For the official WRSC site to be updated, someone has to come into the office, which can't always happen right away. So I've become the de facto resister news source for a lot of people, which is fun.

Does Google's Blogspot notify you when I link to your posts?

Blogger has a function that shows any links to the post. If you click on the post title and scroll down, you'll see your post listed there. I also see it in my Statcounter.

If a demand is righteous, and if the struggle to achieve it educates and mobilizes people, that may be more important than how the government ultimately responds to it.

Very true. Both statements are true, of course, but this is a very important corollary, often forgotten.

Cornelia said...

1) Power concedes nothing without a demand and a struggle.

That is very often so, Gerry, I do know. My personal version is: Might is not more than right, but right without might stays very often simply theory.

L-girl said...

1) Power concedes nothing without a demand and a struggle.

I posted a fuller version of that excellent quote long ago on this blog: Frederick Douglass on power.