Monday, April 29, 2013

War resister Kim Rivera faces court-martial today

Daniel Chacon (Colorado Springs Gazette) reports that Iraq War veteran Kim Rivera is scheduled for a court-martial today.

 kim rivera

Kim Rivera opposed the Iraq War.  You know the one the myth tells you President Barack Obama did as well?  Of course, that myth overlooks all the votes supporting funding the war once Barack got into the Senate, overlooks what he told the New York Times in Boston and overlooks the fact that, not only did all US troops never leave Iraq, Barack sent more in since this fall for 'counter-terrorism' (which is covered in the DoD agreement signed with Iraq last November).

Kim Rivera was deployed to Iraq.  She's an Iraq War veteran.  She came back to the US and couldn't continue to participate in the illegal war.  So when she was ordered back to Iraq, she and her husband and their kids packed up the car in north Texas and drove to Canada where she sought political asylum the way many draft resisters and service members did during Vietnam.  Unlike then, Canada has (so far) refused to offer blanket asylum.

While the government couldn't offer her support, many others did.  Last SeptemberArchbishop Desmond Tutu joined the call to support Kim.  Erin Criger (City News) noted the support also included, "Amnesty International, the Canadian Labour Congress and the United Church of Canada have all supported Rivera."  In addition, many individual Canadians support her as well as organizations such as the United Steelworkers of Canada which issued a statement calling for the government of Canada to let Kim and her family stay  and  Canada's National Union of Public and General Employees which also issued a statement

Canada deported Kim and, September 21st, she was arrested.  KKTV reports, " She has been charged with two specifications of desertion under Article 85 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and a dishonorable discharge."

What a proud moment for 'anti-war' Barack, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, holding a court-martial for the mother of three (Christian, Rebecca and Katie are Kim's childrens).

Kim is part of a movement of resistance.  Steven Beardsley (Stars and Stripes) reports that Iraq War veteran Andre Shepherd who is seeking asylum in Germany: 

His personal life has settled in the meantime. Married to a German, finishing his education and working in an office outside Munich, Shepherd has come a long way from his life before the Army when, after failed efforts at school and work, he lived for a time out of the back of his car.
His attorney believes his current circumstances mean he’s unlikely to face deportation, even if he fails to win his case for political asylum.

We first noted Andre's case in the November 27, 2008 snapshot.  Andre self-checked out after serving in Iraq, while in Germany and he held a press conference explaining,  "When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing.  I could not in good conscience continue to serve. . . . Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders."   At the end of 2008, James Ewinger (Cleveland Plain Dealer) reported:

Shepherd said he grew up on East 94th Street in Cleveland, attended Lakewood High School and studied computer science at Kent State University until he ran out of money.
He enlisted in 2004 with the hope of flying the Apaches, but was urged to become a mechanic first.
Scharf said he doubts that Shepherd's expected order to return to Iraq would, by itself, constitute an unlawful order.
"His best argument would be that Apaches are used to kill civilians," Scharf said, but he still viewed it as a weak case.
The Military Counseling Network is among those who have been assisting Andre.  nd attorneys on that effort.  As AP's Patrick McGroarty observed in February 2009,  Andre is one of 71 US soldiers who has self-checked out from "European bases in 2008."   
So Germany may be able -- whether by intent or circumstance -- to help a US war resister but in America Kim has been betrayed by the governments of Canada and the United States.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Bride of Iran" and  Kat's "Kat's Korner: Holly Near, Go Away" went up yesterday.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Lynne Stewart, Miranda Rights, attorneys Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin discuss the findings in their book The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back from Liberals and Tariq Ali discussing Stalin's legacy.

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