Monday, July 14, 2008

Robin Long hearing takes place today

************* PLEASE CIRCULATE FAR AND WIDE *****************
Greetings everyone, Robin Long is scheduled to be transported to the Lower Mainland from Kamloops sometime tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the hearing for his application for a stay of deportation will be at 9:30 am in Vancouver.
We will gather at 8:30 am at 701 W. Georgia St. (north side of W. Georgia between Granville & Howe St.)
After drawing the support from the morning commuters, we will attend the hearing on the 7th floor.Please come out to support Robin and all the War Resisters if you able, and spread the word!For more information about the campaign please visit:

The above is from the War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver and "tomorrow" is today.
From Andy Iven's "Deportation looms for U.S. deserter seeking asylum in Canada" (The Province):

Long's lawyer, Shepherd Moss, will ask the Federal Court this morning to grant a stay of his deportation order.
Ages and others are urging Long's supporters to attend a rally outside the courthouse on Georgia Street at Granville Street at 8:30 a.m., calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to halt Long's deportation.
Ages said Long was shocked that no one from Canadian Border Services Agency told him that a decision in May on his pre-removal risk assessment went against him.
A Canada-wide warrant for his arrest was issued.
Long, 25, who had been living in Nelson since moving from Ontario, thought a July 4 hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board was going to be a routine detention hearing.
He has been in jail since then.
"Without the decision [being communicated], how do you know you are supposed to appeal?" Ages asked.

Bob Ages is the chair of War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver. Friday afternoon, Liam Lahey (Inside Toronto) reported on Thursday's protests in support of Long and other war resisters:

With similar events taking place on July 10 across Canada, Lee Zaslofsky, spokesperson for the Toronto-based U.S. War Resisters Support Campaign, said there is a tremendous amount of concern for the incarcerated Long.
“We’re worried because this is Robin’s second arrest on these trivial immigration type things and (the Canadian Border Services Agency) may not have too much tolerance left,” he said. “He was couch-surfing and he figured ‘I’m in the same area; it’s Nelson, B.C., it’s a small town. Do I really need to call in every single day I’m moving to another friend’s house?’
“When they issued a warrant for him ... they knew where to go. He’s not playing games, they’re playing games.”
Zaslofsky said Citizenship and Immigration Canada is spoiling to “score a deportation so bad” after two stays of removal were awarded by the Federal Court to Glass and fellow US Army deserter Joshua Key.
“They really want to get (Long) and put a smile on the faces of the guys in the U.S. Pentagon,” he said. “It’s really a disgrace and I agree with the NDP MP from Robin’s riding, Alex Atamenko, who regards Long’s arrest as despicable.”
Zaslofsky, a Vietnam War deserter who arrived in Canada in 1970, added when he came here there was overwhelming support from the Canadian public for U.S. soldiers and the same sentiment, by and large, prevails today.
“I don’t think the Canadian people have changed one iota (in attitudes towards war resisters),” he remarked. “What’s changed is our government and some of the elite associated with them who are far more interested in cuddling up to the Bush Administration than most Canadians are.”

Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio will feature Sarah Bjorknas (of Vancouver's War Resisters Support Campaign) as a guest this evening. She will be speaking about Robin Long. It airs live on 101.9 FM in Canada ond online from five to six p.m. PST and archives should allow for podcasting but that's usually the next day and, if I remember right in one case, it was Wednesday one week.

The Los Angeles Times offers the editorial "Seeking asylum in Canada: The case of U.S. Army deserter Joshua Key should prompt the U.S. to do some soul-searching" and this is from the opening:

While Americans were watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, a Canadian federal judge fired off a legal Roman candle by ruling that an immigration panel had erred in denying refugee status to a U.S. Army deserter named Joshua Key. The sparks are still flying Up There, though, as usual, most Americans haven't taken note. They should. The judge ruled that Key may be entitled to asylum in Canada because of evidence that the U.S. may have violated the Geneva Convention in the conduct of its counter-terrorism operations in Iraq.
Because of the sympathetic reception that Canada gave U.S. conscientious objectors and deserters during the Vietnam War, Americans may assume that our gentle northern neighbor will grant refuge to the perhaps 200 Iraq war deserters who have fled to Canada and thus spare us the agony of prosecuting them. But times and Canadian laws have changed. Although Canada declined to help the U.S. invade Iraq and its public largely opposes the continuing U.S. operations there, its courts have consistently ruled that U.S. deserters have no right to asylum. The courts have sensibly concluded that Americans who volunteer for military service cannot claim to be conscientious objectors merely because they oppose the war in Iraq, and that soldiers who wish to challenge the conduct of the war can do so through established legal procedures at home without fear of persecution.
In June, a more lenient Parliament passed a resolution saying the U.S. war resisters should be allowed to stay. But that resolution was nonbinding, and the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Bush administration ally, has announced that it will begin deporting the deserters as early as this week.
Key won't be among them. He was trained as a combat engineer and spent eight months in Iraq kicking down doors in house-to-house searches for terrorists. He says that he fled to Canada with his wife and children after he told a military lawyer his qualms about what he believed were human rights abuses by U.S. forces, and that he was told his choices were to return to Iraq or go to prison. The judge ruled that Key need not have witnessed war crimes to qualify for asylum. Rather, "officially condoned military misconduct falling well short of a war crime may support a claim to refugee protection.”

In political news, Durham Gal notes Rachana Dixit's "Nader talks issues he feels Obama, McCain are neglecting" (Charlottesville Daily Progress):

Anti-corporation sentiments flourished at Gravity Lounge on Sunday afternoon, where White House hopeful Ralph Nader stopped by on his independent presidential campaign tour.
"[Corporations] were never designed to rule us," said Nader, who first appeared on the presidential ballot in 2000. "They were designed to be our servants, now they have become our masters."
Nader drew nearly 3 percent of the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election, when he was the Green Party nominee. He was not on the ballot in 2004.
Speaking for roughly 45 minutes, the candidate presented 12 "on the table" issues that he said neither mainstream-party hopeful, Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, has
addressed. Among those were cutting the military budget, adopting single-payer national health insurance, completely reversing the United States' policy in the Middle East, impeaching President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and cracking down on corporate crime and welfare.

And Micah notes this from Team Nader:

We need your help to build our campaign online

We need your help to build our campaign online .

Dear supporters,

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It'll only take five minutes and it will make a huge difference. Showing a groundswell of support online is key to breaking through the mainstream media blockade, and puts us one step closer to those Presidential debates.

I'll update you on our progress over the coming days.

Thank you!

Jacob Sweeney
Social Networking Coordinator
Nader for President 2008

P.S. So far we have raised over $22,000 towards our July 20th fundraising goal of $60,000 to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in five more states. Please contribute whatever you can to help out, and spread the word as far as possible.

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