Chuck Wiley crossed the border into Canada during a snowstorm last winter with little more than a car chock full of belongings and a hope he would one day become a Canuck.
The former U.S. navy chief petty officer and his wife now live in Canada with an uncertain future.
Wiley, 35, is one of an estimated 200 American soldiers who have moved to Canada after deserting their homeland to avoid serving in Iraq. Many have found refuge in Toronto, where they are members of an organization called the War Resisters Support Campaign, which is working to find a way to allow them to legally stay in Canada.
Yesterday, he spoke to students and faculty at Queen's University to drum up public support for a motion expected to go before the House of Commons that would allow war resisters and their families to seek asylum in Canada. The motion, from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, also calls for an immediate halt to deportation proceedings in these cases.
Wearing jeans and a black T-shirt emblazoned with "Say Yes to Soldiers Who Say No," Wiley told the crowd that he would like to see Canada become "a refuge for those who don't want to participate in an unjust war."
Currently, there are no known resisters living in Kingston. But that may soon change if federal politicians pass new legislation to permit war resisters to stay in Canada.
As a border city, Kingston could become a popular new home for American war resisters as it did during the Vietnam War. During the 1960s and 1970s, many of the 65,000 draft dodgers who came to Canada ended up in the Limestone City.
The above is from Jennifer Pritchett's "Soldier seeks refuge from war; Former U.S. navy officer fled country to avoid serving in Iraq" (The Whig Standard). Who has covered this? In November, when the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear appeals, the legilsative route became the only route available. It's now February. Who in Little Media has covered it? The Nation? Nope. The Progressive? Nope. Democracy Now!? Amy Goodman reduced protests in Canada and the US to a single headline -- and still managed to get it wrong on when the protests in the US took place -- and that was it from the alleged "war and peace report." They all three made time to lie for War Hawk Barack Obama. To lie non-stop. They all had time to suck up to the powerful. But they didn't have time to do what they're supposed to, what Little Media supposedly exists for: To cover the stories that need covering.
We've got a pathetic and ineffective 'independent' media in the US. You don't have to emulate them. You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
Meanwhile the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorializes "Iraq Refugees: Bring Iraqis here:"
It's quite something to see how short a government can fall even when the standards it fails to meet are its own tragically low ones. Case in point: The Bush administration admitted on Monday that it probably won't meet its promised goal of settling 12,000 Iraqi refugees in the U.S. in this fiscal year, which ends in September.
The refugee crisis is a big deal, no matter how Little Media tries to ignore it to provide non-stop We Love Bambi coverage. (Didn't work out too well for them, did it?) Charley Keyes and Elise Labott (CNN) report:
Despite comments by U.S. officials to the contrary, Foley challenged reports from last year that the United States had planned to admit 7,000 Iraqis for the financial year ending last fall, saying an official misspoke.
Although the State Department said it has received 17,000 referrals of Iraqi refugee cases, only 1,608 made it to the United States last year.
He called the slow process "a capacity problem," both within the agencies that refer the cases, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and within the United States itself.
[. . .]
"A year ago, the United States made a pledge to address the Iraqi refugee crisis and we have failed to keep that promise," said Refugees International Senior Advocate Kristele Younes in a statement e-mailed to reporters. "In the president's last year in office, a real effort should be made to resettle the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees and provide assistance for those still in the region."
In Baghdad, they've walled off the city (creating death spaces) and it's an 'answer.' The most telling passage in Waleed Ibrahim's report for Reuters is this one:
But Major-General Qassim Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military in Baghdad, said the walls were "absolutely fundamental" to security and there was no plan to tear any down.
"Who would want to remove these walls? Can you imagine a house without a fence. These walls will remain until we have imposed security in all of Baghdad," Moussawi told Reuters.
Notice the term "imposed." Goes a long way towards explaining the puppet government's attitude towards the Iraqi people.
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