Thursday, September 20, 2012

Will Kim leave Canada today?


This morning CBC News: Morning featured a report on Kim Rivera.  If you can't stream or if you need closed captioning to benefit from a stream, here's a transcript of what's said in the video.

Heather Hiscox:  The first female war resister in Canada is scheduled to be deported today but there's still a last gasp effort underway to keep the US Army Private in this country and some well known people are rallying behind her.  Michael Serapio has the details.  Michael, this deportation order looming for Kimberly Rivera?

Michael Serapio: That's right Kimberly is an America, you see here in the photo and also in this video here.  Now Kimberly Rivera, we should point out, is originally from Texas and when she was 24-years-old, she joined the US Army.  Now this was in the wake of 9-11.  And she joined the US Army thinking she could help make the United States a safer place.  She was -- after enlisting -- deployed to Iraq and to Baghdad and after serving time there and spending more and more time there, she -- It occurred to her that the casualties were really mounting in terms of civilian death numbers and so she figured she could no longer fight this war with any conscience so she, in 2007, came to Canada.  She came as a conscientious objector, asking to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds.  And after  a number of years of fighting back and forth, the Immigration Ministry has decided to deny her request to stay in this country and it is that denial of application that has led to the protests that we've seen in the last 24 hours trying to maybe have some kind of an 11th hour rescue for Kim Rivera.  Now we should point out that she has been ordered to leave Canada today.  She says that she and her family will comply.  This despite that Parliament has twice voted to allow War Resisters like her to stay in Canada and despite human rights activists -- some fairly famous ones -- advocating on her behalf, including the Bishop Desmond Tutu out of South Africa.  Take a listen to what he has to say about Kim Rivera: "The deportation order given to Ms. Rivera is unjust and must be challenged.  It's in times when people are swept up in a frenzy of war that it's most important to listen to the quiet voices speaking the truth.  Isn't it time we begin to redress the atrocity of this war by honouring those such as Ms. Rivera who had the courage to stand against it at such a cost to themselves?"  But despite that, Heather, she will be deported today.

Heather Hiscox:  Yeah, interesting to read the words of the government saying it doesn't consider these to be international -- like not genuinely refugees under the internationally accepted meaning of the term.  So it looks like this will go ahead despite these high profile supporters.  What will happen to her, Michael, when she return to the US?

Michael Serapio:  Well there is a group called War Resisters Canada that have been rallying not only for Kim Rivera but for other American soldiers that came here as conscientious objectors.  They note that the last two Americans sent to the United States were both given prison sentences.  In Kim Rivera's case, they expect her to be court-martialed, to spend at least one year in prison.  And she says the hardest part of it is the separation she will face -- separation from her family, not only her husband but her four children, as you see here in this photo, two of whom were born right here in Canada.

The Record reports on a protest in Waterloo, outside Canadian MP Peter Brand's office, by supporters of Kimberly Rivera (below), Iraq War veteran and US war resister.  Historians Against the War's Luke Stewart explains, "We're here basically demanding that Kim Rivera be granted permanent residency in Canada.  I think war is itself a crime unless it's in self-defence.  I think Kim is someone we should be giving the Order of Canada to."

kim rivera

Kim went to Canada at the start of 2007.  She couldn't return to Iraq, not after what she saw there.
Yves Engler ( reports:

While Rivera expected to spend her time unloading equipment at a Colorado base she soon found herself guarding a foreign operating base in Iraq. It was from this vantage point that she became disillusioned with the war. Riviera was troubled by a two-year-old Iraqi girl who came to the base with her family to claim compensation after a bombing by U.S. forces. “She was just petrified”, Rivera explained. “She was crying, but there was no sound, just tears flowing out of her eyes. She was shaking. I have no idea what had happened in her little life. All I know is I wasn’t seeing her: I was seeing my own little girl. I could imagine my daughter being one of those kids throwing rocks at soldiers, because maybe someone she loved had been killed. That Iraqi girl haunts my soul.’”Rivera had begun to empathize with the millions of Iraqis displaced by the war or whose families lost a loved one. On leave in the U.S. a few months later, Rivera was told she would be re-deployed overseas. Not wanting to participate in a war she now opposed and fearing that her young children might grow up without a mother, she fled north. In February 2007 Rivera and her family applied for refugee status in this country.

Kim and her family went to Canada.  That's where they've made their home.  She and her husband arrived with two children, they had two more, the youngest is 18-months-old Gabriel.  Canada is her children's home but the Stephen Harper government is forcing her out of the country.  The government is supposed to help families and keep them safe.  Someone might want to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper how he thinks his actions accomplish that.

Support rallies took place around Canada.  The Canadian Press notes of the Toronto rally, "Wednesday evening's rally in Toronto also attracted faith groups, local activist organizations and veteran associations. David Milne, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, said he attended the protest because he had witnessed the brutality of war in three trips to Iraq."  Miles Howe (Halifax Media Co-op) covers the Halifax demonstration and notes, "The contingent had gathered over 200 signatures from Nova Scotia supporters of Rivera and her quest to remain in Canada, where she has resided since 2007 with her husband and four children, the two youngest of whom were born in Canada. Rivera, who signed up for the United States military when she was 24, has built a life with her family in Canada. She has been an active member in her community, doing volunteer work and educating others about the Iraq War."

CBC has a video report, noted at the top, and in the comments people are sounding off.  One of the best comments so far is, "So we'll let criminals from all over the globe who can't speak either official language and abuse the system come to Canada, but we won't let a lady from our closest neighbour who has Canadian kids stay ? Disgusting."

The following community websites -- plus The Pacifica Evening News,, Susan's On the Edge and Adam Kokesh -- updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is