Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Other Items

A Kentucky soldier facing his second tour of duty in Iraq said in a jailhouse interview Monday that he was seeking mental help at a veterans hospital when police showed up in the middle of the night to arrest him.
Spc. Justin Faulkner, 22, of Stanton, Ky., is accused of being absent without leave, even though he insists his superior officers at Fort Campbell knew about his mental problems but refused to provide adequate treatment.
Instead, he checked into a VA hospital Thursday in Lexington, and doctors there told him they wanted to keep him until Monday for observation. He wouldn't make it that long as police showed up at the hospital shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday to take him to jail.
"It's humiliating, degrading," Faulkner said in an interview with The Associated Press Monday afternoon, just minutes before his release from the Fayette County Detention Center. "It's made me lose respect for the military. To come and arrest me at the VA, it wasn't like I was trying to hide, trying to run. I was getting help. I am being punished for getting help."

The above is from the AP and remember that the US military just feeds names into a data base and the only way that anyone gets picked up is if they're pulled over in a traffic stop. That is the lie and it's the lie the military regularly trots out and the press usually dutifully prints without question despite the fact that the above and other incidents are well known publicly.

Turning to US war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey whose appeal the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear last Thursday. BBC offers a report in text and audio form by Lee Carter which concludes:

In response to the latest rebuff by the Supreme Court, the men's lawyer and a political support group are appealing to Canada's Conservative government to issue a special permit that would allow the men to stay in Canada. But it is far more likely that the Canadian authorities will begin deportation proceedings. At least one of the men faces a court martial and a possible five-year prison sentence if he is returned to the US.

Meanwhile Heather Mallick (CBC) offers:

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by American war resisters that they not be sent back to the U.S. for prosecution and has thrown the matter back to Parliament. The principle is "refugee asylum" and it’s odd that the court suddenly won’t recognize the nature of the dispute.
Here’s what Pierre Elliott Trudeau said during the Vietnam War: "Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war … have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
Look at us now.
In the 1960s, those fine young Americans brought energy, drive, and decency to Canada; they did good things here. But suddenly it isn’t fashionable for justices to take a stand against the bullying of these boxed-in people.
True, the court has accurately taken Canada’s moral measure. The House of Commons is not going to tell the absurd Bush that we’ll offer refuge to those who don’t want to fight his wretched war, even if most American citizens would admire us for it.

And Judith Siers-Poisson, writing of Kimberly Peirce's new film Stop-Loss, notes:

The option of going to Canada to avoid prosecution for desertion -- which is addresses in the film -- is not a good possibility judging by a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, the court declined to hear the appeals of two American soldiers who deserted in 2004, who "refuse[d] to participate in what they call an immoral and illegal war." They applied to live in Canada through the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2005, but their applications were rejected.
The board ruled that they would not be at risk of their lives if they returned to the United States, nor were they at risk of “cruel and unusual treatment or punishment." While they would face prison time if they return to the U.S., "the board ruled that they would not be at risk of their lives if they returned to the United States, nor were they at risk of 'cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.'" Not all Canadian politicians agree. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said Canada should not "facilitate the persecution of American war objectors by deporting them to the United States."
All of these issues make "Stop-Loss" an important film to see and to further discussion, particularly among young people that may be considering military service. The film may not be "political" enough for some, and too political for others. It does not take a position on whether the War in Iraq is just or not, whether the answer at this point in time is to stay or leave. But it does provide rare insight from the soldiers' perspective.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

jeremy hinzman
brandon hughey