1.15.2010

free at last, cliff cornell is free at last!

Today, Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, war resister Cliff Cornell will be released from prison!

It's fitting that Cliff sees freedom on King's day, as Dr King made the connection between racism and the US's imperialist wars, between poverty and the draft, between peace and justice.

Cliff joined the US Army in 2004 but refused to deploy to Iraq. He came to Canada in 2005, and lived for several years on Gabriola Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island.

In February 2009, the Harper government deported Cliff, despite the expressed will of the majority of the House of Commons, who twice called on the government to allow US war resisters to stay in Canada.

In the US, Cliff was arrested, court-martialed and sentenced to a year in military prison. His crime: refusing to participate in a war of aggression against a civilian population.

It's been a long road, more difficult than we know, I'm sure. But he's a survivor, and he made it through. He's had steadfast support from the Quaker and peace communities in North Carolina, from the war resister communities in both the US and Canada, and from his family in Arkansas. The campaign recently heard from Cliff's mom, and she was brimming with love and thanks for all of us in the movement.

Welcome home, Cliff! We hope to see you in Canada as soon as possible.

[My story about three activists' visit to Cliff in prison is here; long version of my interview with them is here.]