Thursday, July 03, 2008

Corey Glass

The man who has become the symbol of a movement to block the deportation of American soldiers avoiding Iraq service is not actually in the U.S. military, ABC News reported yesterday.
Corey Glass, an Iraq veteran who deserted the American National Guard and fled to Toronto in 2006, was apparently discharged later that year, ABC News said. Mr. Glass failed to secure refugee status earlier this year, and is currently facing deportation.
A rally on his behalf will nonetheless go ahead in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood today, organizers say.
Like thousands of other discharged American soldiers, once back in the United States Mr. Glass could still be called up as part of the Individual Ready Reserve, a program in which former soldiers can be forced to re-enter service.

The above is from Matthew Campbell's "U.S. veteran seeking asylum in Canada not technically a deserter, report says" (Globe & Mail) and Russell Goldman's "Canada Ready to Deport U.S. Deserters" (ABC News) and, as we noted yesterday, "Corey Glass should inquire about his IRR status before attempting to visit or return to the US." The War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky terms the military's statements to ABC "spin" and you have to wonder if he's hitting the issue no one's grasping and Campbell just doesn't get it? (That's the topic we're covering at Third this Sunday.) It is indeed "spin." Lee should know what he's talking about having lived through the period so let's assume Campbell's the one who dropped the ball -- in fairness, did anyone in Panhandle Media (US) bother to cover this?

David Wylie's "'Poster boy' of deserters not on U.S. wanted list" (Canwest News Service via Calgary Herald) notes:

Protesters are gathering in Toronto's Parkdale community tonight to oppose the Conservatives' decision to deport Glass, despite Parliament passing a non-binding motion on June 3 calling for an end to deportation proceedings against Glass and other war resisters.

That's at 7:00 pm, at the May Robinson Building (20 West Lodge) in Toronto.

Here's the press release from the War Resisters Support Campaign:

With no word yet from the federal government, neighbours, concerned citizens, residents of Toronto's Parkdale community, and
Iraq War resisters will hold a rally to stop the deportation of Corey Glass,
7 p.m., Thursday, July 3 at the May Robinson Building, 20 West Lodge (1 block
east of Lansdowne, north of Queen W.)
Glass joined the Indiana National Guard in 2002 and was told he would not
have to fight on foreign shores but in 2005 was sent to Iraq. "I signed up to
defend people and do humanitarian work such as helping out when there was a
hurricane or tornado. I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in
Iraq," he said.
"We have seen an outpouring of support from the residents of Parkdale for
Corey and all the conscientious objectors living in our neighborhood," said
Dirk Townsend, President, Parkdale Residents Association, one of the endorsing
organizations. "Many organizations and people have come together to help
organize this rally. We can only hope the government is listening and will
take action and bring a halt to the deportation order," he concluded.
The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on the federal government
to respect the democratic decision of the Canadian Parliament. On June 3rd
Parliament passed a motion calling for an end to deportation proceedings
against Corey Glass and other war resisters.
On June 27, AngusReid published its poll results showing three in five
Canadians (64%) in favour of giving U.S. soldiers the opportunity to remain in
Canada as permanent residents.

UPI notes the recent poll which found 64% of Canadians are in favor of allowing US war resisters safe harbor status. That's the poll noted Tuesday:

The Angus Reid Poll finds: "A majority of Canadians would agree with the decision to let American military deserters stay in Canada as permanent residents, a new Angus Reid Strategies survey reveals. . . In the online survey of a representative national sample, three-in-five Canadians (64%) say they would agree to give these U.S. soldiers the opportunity to remain in Canada as permanent residents. Quebec (70%) houses the highest proportion of respondents who agree with the motion, while Alberta (52%) has the fewest supporters. A gender breakdown reveals that while both males and females would agree to let U.S. military deserters remain in Canada, females are much more sympathetic (69% versus 57%)."

And this is largely dictated so organizations mentioned throughout this entry include
The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War, the War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist. (That can be copied and pasted from the snapshot. I've already done the links for articles before time ran out.) There are two layers of spin regarding Corey's discharge and the first is historical. The second is addressed in Brett Clarkson's "Army says soldier no longer a deserter" (Toronto Sun):

But John Schum, who has been practising military law in the U.S. since 1992, said last night Glass has only been discharged from the service's active duty, placing him in the reserves, and can be called back to fight at any time.
Schum also said that if the U.S. military is pursuing the return of Glass -- who faces deportation on July 10 -- there's a good chance there are already plans to deploy him back to Iraq.

Some you can count on for silence when the topic is war resisters, others you can count on to cover it. A few others, very few. One is Workers World which always makes the time. This is their "Iraq veteran faces deportation, wins support" and Braeden noted it.

The Canadian government is facing a surge of pressure and protest by supporters of U.S. war resisters in Canada as it moves to deport the resisters, even after a majority vote in Parliament that it "should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions." The pressure and protest campaign is having an impact: The first resister the Canadian government ordered to leave, Corey Glass, saw his deadline to leave extended from June 12 to July 9. Since then Glass and others facing deportation have publicly announced plans to stay, with widespread Canadian support.
Supporters across Canada and the U.S. have sent thousands of letters to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley (email demanding that the resisters be allowed to stay. In the U.S. the campaign is led by Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Courage to Resist and Project Safe Haven.
Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven noted that Amnesty International has also weighed in, stating that Corey Glass should be considered a conscientious objector and that if he were returned to the U.S. to be court-martialed and imprisoned, AI would consider him a prisoner of conscience.
Veterans for Peace is encouraging its 7,000 members to contact the Canadian government directly through a July 2 International Phone-In to Canadian Immigration Minister Finley. The War Resisters Support Campaign, based in Toronto and Vancouver, expects thousands of calls from both Canada and the U.S. on July 2. (See
In addition, vigils and delegations to Canadian consular offices throughout the U.S. are planned on July 9, led by VFP, Courage to Resist and Project Safe Haven.
Courage to Resist is also spearheading a letter-writing campaign. Find sample letters and contact information at
Camilo Mejia, national chairperson of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sent a powerful open letter to Canada supporting the resisters. He wrote on behalf of IVAW that “it is because of what we saw and experienced [in Iraq] that we support our brothers and sisters seeking a new home in Canada. They are avoiding participation in a criminal, illegal and immoral occupation so that other families can live in peace in their own land. They are doing the right thing!”
The letter concluded: "We call upon the Canadian government to implement the motion stopping all deportations of U.S. war resisters and allowing them to stay in Canada, not only because it is your duty to the people you represent to heed to their will, but also because it is a clear statement of support and solidarity for the people of Iraq."
In addition to the Parliamentary resolution, a poll in early June by Canada AM on Canadian television recorded that 63 percent of Canadians favor letting U.S. war resisters stay.
The struggle to make Canada a sanctuary for war resisters takes on greater importance as more soldiers refuse to return to Iraq. The increasing support for resisters demonstrates widespread opposition to the war and determination to stop it the simplest way: by helping the troops refuse to fight.
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Bill Moyers Journal will reair the program revolving around Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran and a member of IVAW, including interviews with Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue who made the documentary Body of War which tells Young's story which is strong way to note the Fourth of July. The Journal's Michael Winship shares his thoughts on the Fourth of July in an online essay entitled "What Patriotism Is, and Is Not" and below is an excerpt:

Which brings me to what I think was an unusual and especially fine expression of American patriotism. It's the June 19 closing argument of Air Force Reserve Major David J.R. Frakt, arguing for the dismissal of charges against Mohammed Jawad, a young detainee at Guantanamo, charged with throwing a hand grenade that wounded two GI's and their interpreter in Afghanistan. Frakt argued that Jawad should be released because sleep deprivation -- two weeks’ worth -- was used to torture him. You can read it on the website of the ACLU (
Frakt stood before the military commission upholding the inviolability of the American principle of due process, even for an alleged enemy of the United States. "Under the Constitution all men are created equal, and all are entitled to be treated with dignity," he said. "No one is 'undeserving' of humane treatment. It is an unmistakable lesson of history that when one group of people starts to see another group of people as 'other' or as 'different,' as 'undeserving,' as 'inferior,' ill-treatment inevitably follows…
"After six and a half years, we now know the truth about the detainees at Guantanamo: some of them are terrorists, some of them are foot soldiers, and some of them were just innocent people, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the detainees at Guantanamo have one thing in common -- with each other, and with us -- they are all human beings, and they are all worthy of humane treatment."
Thus, in the face of adverse public opinion and White House opposition, Frakt bravely defended a constitutional principle as all-encompassing, including under its protections even those who might seek to destroy us and the very constitutional principles for which we stand. In fact, he said, “It is a testament to the continuing greatness of this nation, that I, a lowly Air Force Reserve Major, can stand here before you today, with the world watching, without fear of retribution, retaliation or reprisal, and speak truth to power. I can call a spade a spade, and I can call torture, torture."
To me, that makes Major David Frakt a patriot and this a great country. Happy Fourth of July.

NOW on PBS notes:

A reminder: There is no NOW on PBS on July 4, 2008.

However, on the website we do have an insightful interview with a North Korea expert commenting on the thawing of relations between our country and North Korea, including a look ahead and analysis of McCain's and Obama's reactions.

Tomorrow is the Fourth. New entries will be posted here. I will do a snapshot of some form. It may got late in the evening. Kat plans to have a CD review posted (probably late -- and that's dependent upon her having time to write it when we all get on the plane later today) and that would be one of two (she says possibly three) CD reviews that would go up this weekend. Thank you to Elaine for grabbing a topic in "Barack's sweetheart deal" -- she did a wonderful job with it. Rebecca' "lies and truth" explores the illegal war and the presidential candidates. Marcia's "This and that" also explores the campaigns. As does Ruth's "Who called the Iraq War 'a severe scar on our democratic fabric'?" Mike notes Cedric's "Teaching 'progressives'" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TEACHING 'PROGRESSIVES' TO READ!" (joint-post) which is a reply to Tom Hayden's e-mail whine to Cedric. Also Ruth's "Ruth's Report" went up Sunday and Bonnie e-mailed to ask for it to be mentioned again ("Great report" enthuses Bonnie). I think that covers everything. All community newsletters will be published this weekend at their usual times.

Lastly, on the front page of the New York Times this morning is James Glanz and Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Panel Questions State Dept. Role in Iraq Oil Deal" which details Henry Waxman's House committee's findings that the US State Dept, despite denials to the contrary, actively assisted Hunt Oil in their contract with the Kurdish region of Iraq -- a contract called out by the central government in Baghdad and one that benefits Ray L. Hunt ("a close political ally of President Bush"). From the article:

In an e-mail message released by the Congressional committee, a State Department official in Washington, briefed by a colleague about the impending deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government, wrote: "Many thanks for the heads up; getting an American company to sign a deal with the K.R.G. will make big news back here. Please keep us posted."

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