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An update on Kimberly Rivera and other U.S. Iraq War resisters November 23, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, Peace, War.
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From: War Resisters Support Campaign Sent: 23 Nov 2012 21:45:35 GMT Subject: An update on Kimberly Rivera and other U.S. Iraq War resisters
    – please forward to all supporters! – Dear friends,

It has been a period of intensive work on many fronts since the Harper government told Kimberly Rivera and her family they had to leave Canada.

In spite of a national mobilization with events in 8 cities, an op-ed in the Globe and Mail by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in support of Kim, and tens of thousands of people writing letters, faxing, sending emails and phoning Immigration Minister Jason Kenney calling on him to let the Riveras stay in Canada, the Conservative government forced Kim and her family – including two children born in Canada – to leave this country.

But Kim’s case confirmed once again that there is a broad and deep support for the stand that Kim and other U.S. war resisters have taken in refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war. And we are more determined than ever to build on the support for Kim to give voice to that majority of Canadians who opposed the Iraq War and who want a provision made for US war resisters to stay in Canada.
Below is a brief update on Kim’s situation, and an APPEAL to help the War Resisters Support Campaign continue to mobilize in support of the many other U.S. war resisters who still face the threat of deportation.
On September 17th, Harper government representatives argued in Federal Court that the possibility of Kim being arrested by U.S. authorities was “merely speculative”. The Federal Court took the government lawyer’s argument at face value and denied a stay of removal on the basis that it was ‘speculative’ that she would be arrested and subject to court-martial. On September 20th, Kim and her family voluntarily left Canada, and Kim was immediately arrested at the border to the U.S. She is currently awaiting court martial on charges of desertion. As Kim’s lawyer Alyssa Manning had clearly stated, there was abundant evidence that Kim faced arrest and harsh punishment if returned to U.S. authorities.

Following her arrest, Kim was taken to Fort Drum, N.Y. and shortly after, to a county jail. After several days she was transported to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is separated from her husband and four young children who are in Texas and are missing Kim terribly. In a recent interview, Kim’s husband Mario Rivera explained how difficult it has been for himself and, especially, for the children to be separated from their mother.

“I explained to them that Mommy is away for a while and she will come back as soon as she can. Katie thinks she’s lost and wants to go rescue her. She is anxious and nervous about it. She closes herself off from people as she’s missing her mom real bad… Gabriel too. He misses his mom real bad. He holds a picture of her and kisses it and tries to reach through the picture to grab her.”

Kim and her family are receiving support from the U.S.-based organization Courage to Resist as well as the War Resisters Support Campaign, and there is a dedicated group of supporters in Colorado Springs who visit her regularly at Fort Carson. James Branum, who has worked on many U.S. war resister cases, is Kim’s civilian lawyer. Supporters in the U.S. have been working hard to facilitate Kim’s family visiting her in Colorado Springs.

• There are still many other U.S. war resisters and their families in Canada who are facing the threat of deportation, and we urgently need to continue to build support for them. The Harper government’s attack on the Rivera family has produced a groundswell of support for war resisters in Canada. Many people were disgusted and angered by the scene of Conservative MPs applauding the news that Kim and her family had been forced to leave the country on September 20th. In their push for increasing militarization of Canada, the Conservative government is criminalizing war resisters and silencing anti-war voices. Millions of Canadians disagree with this. The outpouring of support for Kim has shown once again that people care deeply about this issue, and many are prepared to take action for war resisters. We need to keep up the pressure to achieve what two votes in Parliament and a majority of Canadians have demanded: that Canada should enact a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.

Over the next weeks and months, the War Resisters Support Campaign will be initiating a broad outreach campaign to build on the mobilization of the past few weeks. A signature ad by prominent Canadians including Andy Barrie, Alexandre Trudeau, John Polanyi and many others will publicly call on the Canadian government to stop deporting U.S. war resisters. And we will continue to build the campaign to repeal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s discriminatory Operational Bulletin 202: http://resisters.ca/resources/
To do all of this, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Please consider making a contribution to the War Resisters Defense Fund, which will allow us to carry out this work. To donate on-line please click on this link: http://resisters.chipin.com

Or you can send a cheque to:

War Resisters Support Campaign 427 Bloor Street West, Box 13 Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

The stakes are high for those US soldiers who have risked their futures by refusing to participate in a war Canadians rejected. The Harper government threatens to rip apart their families and facilitate their ‘rendition’ to harsh punishment, as they did to Kim Rivera. The Conservatives are determined to close the door on the tradition of Canadian asylum for US war resisters, and to override the overwhelming opposition to the Iraq War, by driving Iraq War resisters out of Canada. But they have NOT succeeded in changing public opinion on either front. That is because of war resisters’ voices, and the movement of people who support them. We need to make sure those voices continue to be heard in the period ahead.

War Resisters Support Campaign – www. resisters.ca416.598.1222wrsctoronto@gmail.com Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s op-ed in The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/dont-deport-war-resister-kimberly-rivera/article4544856/


War Resisters Support Campaign
Web: http://www.resisters.ca/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WarResisters
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WarResisters

Ottawa turns its back to U.S. soldiers September 22, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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 By Jack Todd, Special to The Gazette September 22, 2012 11:57 AM
Supporters of U.S. war resister Kimberly Rivera stage an eleventh-hour protest against her deportation in Toronto on Wednesday. The demonstration failed to sway Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who refused to rescind Rivera’s deportation order. She returned to the U.S. on Thursday and was arrested.

Luc Rinaldi/THE CANADIAN PRESS Supporters of U.S. war resister Kimberly Rivera stage an eleventh-hour protest against her deportation in Toronto on Wednesday. The demonstration failed to sway Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who refused to rescind Rivera’s deportation order. She returned to the U.S. on Thursday and was arrested.

Photograph by: Luc Rinaldi , The Canadian Press

U.S.war resister Kimberly Rivera was deported on Thursday. She was arrested when she presented herself at the U.S. border point near Gananoque, Ont., and is reportedly being detained at Fort Drum, near Watertown, N.Y.

Rivera’s deportation and arrest brings to an end a lengthy legal battle to allow the mother of four to remain in this country. Despite an international outcry, including an open letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa pleading that she be allowed to remain in Canada, the Iraq War resister was sent back to the U.S. after Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney refused to halt her deportation order. The two youngest of Rivera’s four children were born in Toronto, where she lived with her family. The War Resisters Support Campaign, which has been fighting to convince the Stephen Harper government to allow Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada, estimates that she will have to spend at least a year in prison. Her husband and children crossed into the U.S. separately on Thursday, because Rivera did not want her children to see her being arrested by the military. Rivera, an army private who had already served one tour in Iraq in 2006, came to Canada in 2007 because she was about to be deployed to Iraq again. She was the first female American war resister to flee to Canada. Rivera’s deportation was a bitter and dispiriting defeat for those who have sought to reverse the government’s stance toward those who fled here because of their opposition to the war in Iraq. A potluck supper was also held in Vancouver this week to mark three full years that Rodney Watson, a decorated veteran of the Iraq War, has been living in sanctuary in a Vancouver church. Neither Rivera nor Watson were available for interviews this week. Rivera could not speak to the media, because interviews given by previously deported war resisters Robin Long and Cliff Cornell were used as evidence against them at their court martials. Watson, worn down by his three-year ordeal and depressed by Rivera’s fate, also was reluctant to talk. “Just because we end up on the losing side,” said Sarah Bjorknas, a Vancouver activist who has worked closely with Watson during the past three years, “doesn’t mean we’re on the wrong side.” It doesn’t. But overcoming the stubborn intransigence of Harper’s right-wing government may be impossible, no matter what international pressure is brought go bear. It’s a far cry from the precedent established under Liberal prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, who faced down the pressure exerted by U.S. presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard M. Nixon to allow an estimated 100,000 American war resisters (this writer among them) to come to Canada during the Vietnam War. Under Harper, the War Resisters Support Campaign has waged long but ultimately unsuccessful battles for one resister after another, only to see them deported to face court martials in the U.S. The difficulty, according to the campaign’s spokeswoman, Michelle Robidoux, is that Kenney “continues to intervene by telling immigration officers to red-flag U.S. soldiers who are applying for asylum as criminally inadmissible. We think that has tainted the whole process and the government should withdraw that directive.” Watson has worried publicly that the deportation orders will cause the eventual breakup of resisters’ families – which, he claims, is part of the reason he cannot leave the First United Church in Vancouver, because he doesn’t want to be taken away from his wife and son. Among the luminaries urging the Harper government to reconsider, the most prominent is Archbishop Tutu, who outlined the case for allowing conscientious objectors to remain in forceful terms: “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.” Harper and Kenney, however, turned a deaf ear to all objections. The news that she had been deported, in fact, drew an appalling cheer from the Conservative benches in Parliament on Thursday. “Our government does not believe that the administration of the president or the president himself in any way, shape, or form, is going to persecute Ms. Rivera,” said Rick Dykstra, Kenney’s parliamentary secretary. “In fact, she has had every opportunity in this country, despite the fact that not one of the applications from an American war deserter has been successful in Canada. Each and every one of them has been upheld by the Federal Court, in terms of the Immigration and Refugee Board denying them.” Ken Marciniec of the War Resisters Campaign, however, said that Rivera’s arrest proves exactly the opposite: that conscientious objectors are being persecuted. So, while the war in Iraq may have been based on a lie (the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal) and it may have been illegal, immoral, ruinously expensive and destabilizing to the entire region, U.S. soldiers whose conscience would no longer permit them to serve in that war are still not welcome here. Asked why the Harper government has followed a policy so at variance with the precedent established during the Vietnam War, Bjorknas said “that’s really a good question. I used to think they were just trying to appease (George W.) Bush. “But now that (Barack) Obama is president, I think it must be something else. Maybe it has nothing to do with the U.S. at all and more to do with delusions of grandeur. It seems they’re dismissing collaboration with the (United Nations) and trying to show off by going their own way on issues like Iran. They’re not following the U.S. now, they’re not following any lead but Israel.” An online poll taken by the CBC last week showed Canadians were in favour of allowing Rivera to remain in Canada, by a relatively slender margin of 51.6 to 46 per cent, with the remainder undecided. But it’s not an issue that is going to shift many votes, which is why Canada’s policy is likely to remain unchanged unless there is a change in government. Meanwhile, the image of Canada as a kinder, gentler, more compassionate version of the U.S. is taking an international beating. At no time in our recent history has a Canadian government so aggressively wrapped itself in the trappings of the Canadian Armed Forces. It should be noted, however, that while Rivera and Watson served in Iraq and Watson is a decorated combat veteran, neither Harper, Kenney nor Defence Minister Peter Mackay ever served in the military. jacktodd46@yahoo.com

Jack Todd is a U.S.-born war resister who left Fort Lewis, Wash., and made his way to Canada at the height of the Vietnam conflict.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Ottawa+turns+back+soldiers/7284940/story.html#ixzz27DtWzfBb

Amnesty Calls on Canada to Arrest Bush October 13, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, George W. Bush, Human Rights, Torture.
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Published on Thursday, October 13, 2011 by Agence France-Presse


OTTAWA – Amnesty International called on Canadian authorities Wednesday to arrest and prosecute George W. Bush, saying the former US president authorised “torture” when he directed the US-led war on terror.

Former US president George W. Bush speaks at the ceremony marking the opening of the Flight 93 National Memorial and the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in Shanksville, Pennsylvania September 10, 2011. (Photo: Reuters File)

 Bush is expected to attend an economic summit in Surrey in Canada’s westernmost British Columbia province on October 20.

In a memorandum submitted last month to Canada’s attorney general but only now released to the media, the London-based group charged that Bush has legal responsibility for a series of human rights violations.

“Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former president Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture,” Amnesty’s Susan Lee said in a statement.

“As the US authorities have, so far, failed to bring former president Bush to justice, the international community must step in. A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention Against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights,” Lee said.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blasted Amnesty for “cherry picking cases to publicize, based on ideology.”

“This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International,” he said.

Kenney said it will be up to Canadian border officials to decide independently whether to allow Bush into the country.

Bush canceled a visit to Switzerland in February, after facing similar public calls for his arrest.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International’s Canadian branch, told a press conference the rights group will pursue its case against the former US president with the governments of other countries he might visit.

“Torturers must face justice and their crimes are so egregious that the responsibility for ensuring justice is shared by all nations,” Neve said.

“Friend or foe, extraordinary or very ordinary times, most or least powerful nation, faced with concerns about terrorism or any other threat, torture must be stopped.

“Bringing to justice the people responsible for torture is central to that goal. It is the law… And no one, including the man who served as president of the world’s most powerful nation for eight years can be allowed to stand above that law.”

Amnesty, backed by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, claims Bush authorised the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “waterboarding” on detainees held in secret by the Central Intelligence Agency between 2002 and 2009.

The detention program included “torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (such as being forced to stay for hours in painful positions and sleep deprivation), and enforced disappearances,” it alleged.

Amnesty’s case, outlined in its 1,000-page memorandum, relies on the public record, US documents obtained through access to information requests, Bush’s own memoir and a Red Cross report critical of the US’s war on terror policies.

Amnesty cites several instances of alleged torture of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, by the US military.

The cases include that of Zayn al Abidin Muhammed Husayn (known as Abu Zubaydah) and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed , both arrested in Pakistan. The two men were waterboarded 266 times between them from 2002 to 2003, according to the CIA inspector general, cited by Amnesty.

© 2011 Agence France-Presse

Let Iraq War Resisters Stay in Canada May 28, 2009

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Published on Thursday, May 28, 2009 by The Toronto Star by Mary Jo Leddy

Jeremy Hinzman was a soldier in the United States Army’s elite infantry division, the 82nd Airborne. In 2002 and 2003 he served in Afghanistan in a non-combat role after applying for conscientious objector status. His application was refused and he learned that he would be deployed to Iraq. In January 2004 he drove to Niagara Falls, crossing the border with his partner Nga Nguyen and son Liam.

Hinzman was the first American Iraq war resister to seek refuge in Canada. Since then many others have joined him here realizing that were they to stay in the United States, they would be punished for their moral, political and religious beliefs.

In the coming days, Hinzman is expected to receive notice that he will be deported. Like Robin Long and Cliff Cornell, who were deported by the Harper government and sentenced respectively to 15 and 12 months in prison, Hinzman will be jailed as a prisoner of conscience.

For what crime were Long and Cornell sentenced to a year or more in prison?

During Long’s court martial, the only piece of evidence presented against him was a video of him speaking out against the Iraq war on Canadian television. For Cornell, it was a clip of him being interviewed on CNN.

Ninety-four per cent of U.S. military deserters are administratively discharged. Those who have had the courage to make their opposition to the war public, like Long and Cornell, are convicted as felons. In many states that means they will be stripped of the right to vote and in all cases it means they won’t be permitted to return to Canada.

Ever since the Nuremberg Trials, a new principle has entered the realities of modern warfare: the argument that one must follow orders in all circumstances is no longer justified. Following orders is not the ultimate test of patriotism. This is especially true in the case of an illegal, immoral and, in Barack Obama’s words, “a dumb war” like that which is still being fought in Iraq.

Our former prime minister Jean Chrétien refused to send Canadian troops to Iraq, in spite of all the dire consequences he was threatened with. To this day, Canadians continue to support that decision with what pollsters call “statistical unanimity.”

As a graduate student at the University of Toronto, I studied with many of those who came here because of resistance to the Vietnam War. They were allowed to stay and our country has been immensely enriched by this wave of immigrants who were willing to commit to the civil society that welcomed their ideas and values.

We would be a better country for welcoming Iraq war resisters, too.

In the last 11 months Parliament has twice voted for an end to these deportations. Our government has also been directed by the majority of MPs to establish a program to facilitate permanent resident status for Iraq war resisters.

Despite these democratic expressions of the will of the majority of Canadians, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney refuses to take action to accept Iraq war resisters’ requests to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

As citizens, Canadians have the choice of whether we are going to be a colony of empire or a country of conscience.

Our government emphasizes programs for immigrants who make money. We also need immigrants who make sense.

© 2009 The Toronto Star

Mary Jo Leddy is a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College and the founding editor of the Catholic New Times.

Terrorist organization advised Canadian government to ban MP George Galloway March 30, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Uncategorized.
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The JDL’s request was positively received by the Conservative government

By Scott Weinstein

March 27, 2009

An organization the FBI, the U.S. State Department and U.S. courts have branded a ‘terrorist organization’ has given advice to the Harper government that led Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to barring a British MP from Canada.

A Kenney spokesman said Kenney first heard about British MP George Galloway’s visit from a Jewish Defense League letter, and contacted departmental communications staff at Citizenship and Immigration to prepare media lines.

 The Jewish Defense League, categorized by the FBI as a “right-wing Jewish terrorist group”, was founded by US ultra-Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968. The Jewish Defense League (JDL) wrote to the Canadian government March 16 asking it to ban Galloway. Mr. Galloway is scheduled to speak in four Canadian cities from March 30 to April 2 on “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar”.

 In the late 1960s, Kahane also founded the Kach political party in Israel, which along with Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives) were declared terrorist organizations in 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet. Kahane was shot dead in a New York City hotel in 1990.

The US State Department designated the JDL’s Israeli affiliates, the Kahane Chai and the Kach as “foreign terrorist organizations” – a decision upheld by a US Appeals Court. (http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2006/82738.htm )

Kach member Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians praying in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The JDL is still active with Hebron’s Jewish settlers, most visibly remarkable for its hate graffiti such as: “Arabs to the Gas Chambers”.  (see http://www.cpt.org/gallery/slideshow.php?set_albumName=album03 )

 In a 1986 study of domestic terrorism, the US Department of Energy concluded: “For more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States….Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 persons and wounded at least 22.”

In 2001, the JDL’s leader, Canadian Irv Rubin and member Earl Krugel were convicted of planning a terror attack in California against an Arab American congressman. Rubin was also accused of planning bombing attacks on Concordia University and California mosques. Krugel was murdered in prison, and Rubin died in prison allegedly by suicide. This effectively was the end of the JDL in North America.

According to The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs there exists a network of radical Zionist leaders in North America who currently serve as primary fundraisers for the outlawed Israeli terrorist group Kahane Chai. Some tried unsuccessfully to revive the JDL in the US. (http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0799/9907081.html )


The JDL resurfaces in fertile Canada 

It is significant that the Conservative government for “national security” reasons bans outspoken anti-war critic and Palestinian supporter British MP George Galloway, while giving a known terrorist organization a free pass to operate in Canada and advise their policies. The Harper government is too connected to the security apparatus to be unaware of the Jewish Defense League’s terrorism designation. Perhaps the Conservative government is testing whether Canadians still care about their rights, or Canada’s policies in Afghanistan, the Middle East and inside Canadian boarders.

Canadian Jewish critics of Israel have noted the Harper government’s numerous unholy alliances to contain opponents of its Israel and Afghanistan policies. Certainly, the Conservatives have provided a political terrain that is now fertile for the JDL to operate.

The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and its Canadian Jewish News (CJN) has positively received the JDL and reports on some of its activities. The CJN wrote March 20, 2009 “CJC commends government for denying George Galloway entry to Canada”.  Last year CJC leader Bernie Farber’s opinion on the JDL was they have the right to exist.”

The right wing Jewish organization the B’nai Brith and the JDL both targeted the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) in 2007 to prevent them from debating a motion critical of Israel. Liberal aide Warren Kinsella appeared this week at a meeting organized by the JDL as a surprise guest. Other major news media fail to note the Jewish Defense League’s terrorist designation in their reports, but that is more likely due to ignorance.

In an interview this week on British Channel 4 TV with George Galloway, JDL leader Meir Weinstein threatened any Canadian who attended or supported Galloway’s presentation would be “monitored” by the Canadian government. (See: http://www.wikio.com/video/944540 )

For more information on the George Galloway Canadian tour:


(Ottawa)  http://ottawapeace.blogspot.com/ ;

(Toronto) http://www.nowar.ca/ ;

(Montréal) http://www.sphr.org

To individually or have your organization endorse a statement for Galloway to speak in Canada and denounce the attacks by the Conservative government against it’s critics, email : Galloway.Canada@gmail.com

To sign an online petition to let Galloway speak in Canada : http://www.petitiononline.com/galcan09/petition.html

30  –

This article may be distributed and reprinted without permission.

Scott Weinstein is a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada

He can be reached at : scott.montreal@sympatico.ca

Below is a report by the Canadian Press on the JDL advising Minister Kinney to ban Galloway:



Jewish group proud of role in barring Galloway

Updated Thu. Mar. 26 2009 8:00 AM ET

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Jewish Defence League of Canada is taking credit for lighting the spark that ultimately burned a British politician’s plans to enter the country.

The organization advised the federal government early last week about the impending speaking tour of George Galloway, the controversial British MP who has been a bitter critic of Israel.

A letter – sent March 16 to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, his cabinet colleague Peter Kent and opposition MPs – asked the government to keep that “hater” out of Canada.

“We asked that he not be allowed in,” said Meir Weinstein, national director of the Jewish Defence League of Canada.

“Whether or not that had an effect on anyone – well, he’s not in.”

Weinstein said the letter “lit a fire” under other Jewish community leaders to protest the visit, to contact Canadian politicians, and write to newspapers about Galloway.

Four days later, Kenney’s office confirmed the British MP would not be allowed into the country.

The government’s opponents have accused it of political interference and launched two cases in Federal Court over a ban they say has no legal justification.

Kenney’s office swatted away suggestions it was directly involved.

A spokesman said he first heard about Galloway’s visit from the Defence League letter, and contacted departmental communications staff at Citizenship and Immigration to prepare media lines.

Kenney stressed that his political staff never contacted the Canada Border Services Agency – which made the call that the veteran politician was inadmissible under national-security grounds.

“Neither I nor my office have been in direct touch with CBSA officials about it,” Kenney said in an interview.

“But the public servants in both ministries do correspond on a daily basis – on hundreds of files like this.”

Officials in various departments did liaise with each other over the course of the week.

Kenney was informed March 17 of the CBSA decision. He decided he wouldn’t use his extraordinary powers to overturn the ban. Finally, Canadian diplomats in London sent the five-time MP a letter late March 20 declaring him inadmissible.

British media were already on to the story. The previous day, Galloway’s office had received a verbal warning of the Canadian government’s decision.

Kenney spokesman Alykhan Velshi – who had begun preparing media lines on Galloway with departmental staff several days earlier – was suddenly fielding phone calls from the British press.

He sent them scurrying to their dictionaries with a memorable slag on Galloway as an “infandous street-corner Cromwell.”

Galloway’s supporters say the ban has no legal justification and is a politically motivated attack on free speech.

They say the Conservative government concocted an allegation that Galloway supports terrorism simply because they disagree with his pro-Palestinian views.

Lawyers for the Scottish-born MP are filing two separate motions in Federal Court: a request for a judicial review of the government’s decision; and a demand for an immediate injunction overturning it.

They say the full judicial review could take months, while the injunction would allow Galloway to enter Canada next week for a four-day speaking tour in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

One of his lawyers told a Parliament Hill news conference that the government has distorted the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to suit its political purposes.

“The act is being interpreted to restrict certain opinions and voices,” said Jamie Liew. “This is a dangerous precedent in terms of how we grant access.

“The decision by the government is rare and unprecedented. It’s stretching the interpretation to include humanitarian aid – or activities including humanitarian aid – being described as terrorist activity.

“The legal team is challenging that notion.”

The government says Galloway supported the terrorist group Hamas when he led a convoy to help Palestinians following the recent Israeli bombing of Gaza.

Galloway’s supporters say the convoy included clothing, diapers, medical supplies, and $45,000 in relief money that he handed to the elected Hamas government.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in Canada.

The Canadian government says the move to bar Galloway was based on the law – not politics.

Velshi said the CBSA informed Kenney’s office that – according to Section 34.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act – Galloway’s material support for Hamas rendered him inadmissible.

That legislation bars entry to anyone “engaging in terrorism,” or “being a member of a (terrorist) organization”

Galloway’s supporters call that absurd.

One of the organizers of his speaking tour said Galloway has never expressed support for terrorism and merely wanted to help Gaza’s suffering civilians.

“He was very clear that this is not about supporting Hamas,” said James Clark, who has been planning Galloway’s visit.

“This is about providing humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza. Canada . . . remains the only country in the world that is interpreting this gesture as a terrorist act.

“There are grounds for us to challenge this legally and politically.”

Kenney said he occasionally uses his power to overrule CBSA security assessments but will not do so in this case.

Galloway is currently on a speaking tour in the U.S. and has suggested he’ll still try entering Canada. His supporters plan to meet him at the border.

Amazingly, the final decision in a case that has involved several government offices, two national Parliaments, and drawn media attention on both sides of the Atlantic, will belong to one person.

A uniformed border guard.

“(People trying to enter) have an interview with a CBSA officer,” Kenney said.

“Someone who has been flagged with a preliminary assessment of inadmissibility is obviously going to get bigger scrutiny.

“But that border officer . . . makes what’s called a fresh decision. That border officer looks at all the information and makes a decision on admissibility.”

Support War Resister in Canada March 18, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, Peace, War.
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(Note from Roger: this letter, written by Norman Taylor, is a request for non-Canadians to petition the Canadian government on behalf of war resister, Kimberly Rivera.  I met Kimberly when I was in Toronto last year and was impressed by her sincerity, conviction and courage.  As a Vietnam War resister, I feel obliged to do whatever I can to support this generatin of peace warriors.  In my day we were welcomed by Canadians and the government.  Unfortanately, although the vast majority of Canadians support refuge for American war resisters, today’s mean-spirited Bush-oriented Canadian government is determined to deport them all)
Dear Friends
I’m writing to you as someone living outside Canada and to ask if you would  consider helping those of us here who are trying  to stop the deportation of Kimberly Rivera as a US Iraq war resister. These deportations are being done in spite of the will of our Parliament  [June 3, 2008]  to
 “…immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for

permanent resident status and remain in Canada.”

If you write and cc  [names / addresses below], please mention that you are writing from the country where you are living: the optics of this deportation can work for us internationally. 
Thanks for any help you can give us. These women and men need to be treated exactly as we did with Vietnam War Veterans — with the welcome mat out. 
[the website for War Resisters is at  http://www.resisters.ca/index_en.html  and Kim’s case is the 4th down.

On March 26, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney threaten to deport US Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family, against the will of Parliament.

TORONTO — Two members of Parliament who met Sunday with an Iraq army deserter court-martialed after fleeing to British Columbia are hopeful their San Diego prison visit reignites debate about allowing others to take refuge in Canada.

New Democrat Olivia Chow and Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj spent 45 minutes discussing the issues around Robin Long’s deportation and learning about his condition behind bars.

Long, 25, who the Toronto MPs call a “war resister,” was deported from Canada in July 2008 after fleeing to avoid serving in Iraq – the first deserter to be sent back to the U.S. by the courts.

“The (incarceration) conditions are acceptable, but what’s unacceptable is the fact that this young man, as a consequence of taking a principled stand, is spending 15 months of his life while he’s in his 20s in prison,” Wrzesnewskyj said from San Diego.

“It coincides with the key formative years of his young Canadian son who’s two years old. That’s a terrible thing to do to someone.”

Long’s deportation occurred one month after Chow initiated a motion urging that U.S. military deserters be allowed to stay in Canada.

Parliament passed the nonbinding motion but so far the Conservatives have ignored the directive.

With three more deserters facing the possibility of deportation, Chow plans to re-introduce the motion when Parliament resumes next week.

It comes almost exactly six years after the Iraq war began.

“Hopefully we can debate it again,” she said. “And we certainly hope that (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper will not ignore the will of Parliament one more time.”

When the two MPs and a representative of the War Resisters Support Campaign entered the barbed wire-enclosed Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar to speak with Long they discovered a young man who continues to hold an unshaken belief in the rightness of his cause, Wrzesnewskyj said.

“There didn’t seem to be any hint of anger or vindictiveness, he seems like a well-balanced young man and hopeful,” he said.

But there were several issues raised in the meeting that alarmed the group, who now believe Canada’s methods in deporting Long may have worsened his prosecution.

Long told them he was driven across the border in handcuffs and not allowed to enter the country and surrender on his own will, which potentially opened him up to more serious charges.

Long also alleged that citizenship and immigration officials had compelled him to hand over original military documents, stating they would be returned.

When instead he later only received copies, he faced charges of handing over military documents to a foreign power.

Finally, Long said that during his trial, a three-inch stack of documents quoting him speaking out against the war and captured by Canadian media were used as evidence against him.

The MPs said they hope details of the meeting give Parliament greater impetus to act, now that three more deserters face potential deportation.

Veteran Kimberly Rivera, in her late 20s, is a mother of three still breastfeeding her newest born, but she could be ordered to leave by March 26.

After her first tour of Iraq, she fled to Canada to avoid future assignments.

“She spoke of her disillusionment when she did her tour of Iraq, when she saw the destruction of property, of homes,” Wrzesnewskyj said.

“When she saw the loss of civilian life, when she saw young Iraqi children shell-shocked by what was going on around them, and as she saw them building hatred towards Americans.”

Also facing deportation are Jeremy Hinzman and Patrick Hart.

Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Israel, apartheid, anti-Semites March 6, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Racism.
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From Friday’s Globe and Mail

What is the sound of one side condemning? It’s the media rendering of Israel Apartheid Week, now under way. B’nai Brith ran full-page newspaper ads asking universities to “prevent” it and the attendant “anti-Semitism on campus.” There were no ads from organizers, so we didn’t hear them being anti-Semitic in their own words – or denying the charge.

Here’s the Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno: “That detestable, despicable annual campus hate-fest … Jew-bashing cloaked in self-righteousness … students who don’t recognize racism when they’re spewing it.”

I don’t know if she meant to be ironic, spewing hate at the spewers. But I’ve talked with friends, Jewish and non, about these claims. They’re disturbed, they don’t want to witness the rise of a new horror. Here’s my take.

Cabinet minister Jason Kenney calls Israel Apartheid Week “a systematic effort to delegitimize the democratic homeland of the Jewish people” by linking it to racism, a line virtually mouthed by Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff. That is way too cute. Any “settler state,” such as Canada, which took someone else’s land, can be seen as illegitimate. But it’s an abstract point. “Apartheid” became widely used in this context only when Israel began building what came to be called an apartheid wall, looming over Palestinians, sequestering more land, cutting them off from each other.

The usage grew as Israel expanded settlements, built Israeli-only roads and set up checkpoints so Palestinians would at best be left with “Bantustans,” such as those that apartheid South Africa offered blacks, rather than a true state of their own. A small but real Palestinian state would be accepted by almost everyone. The Arab League has offered peace in return for Israel just leaving the West Bank. Even Hamas has a (nuanced) position on living with Israel. You can look it up.

What of the “new anti-Semitism” that Jason Kenney says is “based on the notion that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland”? Well, who are these new anti-Semites? I never see names or quotations. Canada has always had anti-Semites, but they’ve felt no need to hide their hate behind a screen of anti-Israel criticism. Think of David Ahenakew. A cartoon banned from hallways at the University of Ottawa showed a helicopter marked Israel rocketing a kid in Gaza holding a teddy bear. It’s crude, but that’s cartooning. There’s no anti-Semitism in it. A front-page National Post cartoon showing CUPE Ontario’s Sid Ryan offering David Ahenakew a job was far more scurrilous. No one can say Sid Ryan embraces anti-Semites, though he criticizes Israel strongly. Opposition to Israel seems well delineated from anti-Semitism to me.

Most of the specifics come down to shouts at protests. As in: “Cries of ‘Die, Jew’ and ‘Get the hell off campus’ were heard.” The Canadian Jewish Congress’s Bernie Farber says he’s “never” seen it this bad “on the streets of Toronto and university campuses.” Well, I spend lots of time on streets in Toronto and it doesn’t look like Kristallnacht to me. But wait, that’s glib. It’s these images that scare my friends: They evoke Nazi Germany. I know that.

But Nazi Germany wasn’t about name-calling and group hate. Those will persist, perhaps always. The Holocaust occurred largely because anti-Semitism was historically rooted and respectable there: religiously, socially, intellectually, politically. Writers and politicians were proudly anti-Semitic. Here, anti-Semitism is unacceptable in all those ways. This whole debate proves it. We should be glad for that, and keep it in perspective.

Why does perspective matter? Because Israel is now a state among nations and must be held to account, not absolved for fear of igniting a new Holocaust. Israel Apartheid Week should be gauged on its critique of its subject, not anathematized due to shadows and terrors from another time.

An Important Message to the Government of Canada about U.S. Iraq War Resisters January 27, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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 The Honourable Jason Kenney 


Dear Prime Minister, Minister, and Members of the Government Caucus:




“…immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada.”



That motion further recommended that the government should:



“…immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.”



Since then, on July 15, you allowed Robin Long, a United States soldier who had fled to Canada after refusing to take part in the Iraq War, to be deported.

Upon his return to the U.S., Robin was punished for acting on his objections to this unsanctioned war by refusing to fight and for speaking out while he was in Canada.

He is now serving a 15-month jail sentence as a prisoner of conscience and was given a felony conviction that will cause him hardship for the rest of his life—including preventing him from visiting his Canadian son in Ontario—because you did not stop him from being deported.

Canada has a well-founded tradition of welcoming war resisters such as Robin and the estimated 200 other U.S. soldiers who have sought refuge here since the Iraq War began.



Now more than ever, it is obvious that Canada made the right decision not to take part in this unnecessary conflict and even you, Mr. Prime Minister, have agreed that the Iraq War is





“absolutely an error”




Amnesty International wrote to you, Minister Kenney, earlier this month to communicate its condemnation of the,





“…forced removal from Canada of individuals who conscientiously express their opposition to serving with U.S. forces in Iraq” because it “does not generally believe that there are reasonable options open to individuals who conscientiously object to military service with U.S. forces in Iraq.”



As a country, Canadians continue to face a major economic crisis that demands the utmost attention. Members of Parliament need not be distracted from the task at hand by matters that should have been solved previously, nor should time be wasted re-taking decisions that have already been taken by our democratically elected representatives and are supported by the majority of Canadians.

With five Iraq War resisters—Chris Teske, Cliff Cornell, Kimberly Rivera, Patrick Hart and Dean Walcott, most of them combat veterans—facing deportation before the end of this month, we write to respectfully urge you to take action on behalf of the 64 per cent majority of Canadians who agree to give these U.S. soldiers, their immediate families and all Iraq War resisters who are here, the opportunity to remain in Canada as permanent residents.

Please implement the June 3, 2008 motion in support of war resisters today.





Yours Sincerely,

Ursula M. Franklin, CC, FRSC



University Professor Emerita, Senior Fellow Massey College



Lawrence Hill






Anton Kuerti, OC, PhD






Michele Landsberg, OC



Writer, social activist and feminist



Mary Jo Leddy, CM, PhD



Writer, theologian and social activist



Tony Clarke



Executive Director, Polaris Institute



Michael C. Klein, MD



Emeritus Professor of Family Practice and Pediatrics, University of British Columbia



Elizabeth E. May, OC



Leader, Green Party of Canada



Judy Rebick



CAW Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University



John Hagan, PhD, FRSC



Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto



The Right Reverend David Giuliano



Moderator, United Church of Canada



Maude Barlow



National Chairperson, Council of Canadians



Jane Orion Smith



General Secretary, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)



Very Rev. Bill Phipps



Former Moderator, United Church of Canada



Antonia Zerbisias



Columnist, Toronto Star



Michael Lynk



Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario



Gina Barber



Contoller, City of London, Ontario



Martin Duckworth



Award-winning documentary film-maker



M. Jane Pritchard, MD, CCFP, FCFP


Réjean Robidoux, PhD, FRSC


Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa



Ann-Marie MacDonald



Novelist, playwright and actor



Shirley Douglas, OC






Ken Georgetti, CM, OBC



President, Canadian Labour Congress



Ken Lewenza



National President, Canadian Auto Workers



Ken Neumann



National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers



Paul Moist



National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees



James Clancy



President, National Union of Public and General Employees



Wayne Samuelson



President, Ontario Federation of Labour



Michael Byers



Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia



Alexandre Trudeau



Film-maker and journalist



Wayson Choy, CM






R H Thomson



Actor and director



Katherine Giroux-Bougard



National Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students



Cathy Crowe, RN



Author and street nurse



Janet Davis








Paula Fletcher,Joe Mihevc








, Gord Perks, Adam Vaughan

Councillors, City of Toronto, Ontario



James Loney



Member of Christian Peacemaker Teams held hostage in Iraq



Gordon Cressy & Joanne Campbell


Angus McLaren, PhD, FRSC


Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria





and many other prominent Canadians

For more information about, to help with or donate to the campaign to let U.S. Iraq War resisters stay in Canada, visit








, PC, MP, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and MulticulturalismHouse of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

n June 3, 2008, the House of Commons passed a motion calling for the government to:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, PC, MP, Prime Minister





U.S. female soldier who fled Iraq war ordered deported January 10, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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Kimberly Rivera, the first female U.S. Iraq war resister to come to Canada, is seen with her husband Mario, son Christian, 6, daughter Rebecca, 4, and newborn Canadian daughter Katie, 6 weeks. (Courtesy War Resisters Support Campaign)


Wed Jan. 07 2009 11:29:40 AM

CTV.ca News Staff

War resister Kimberly Rivera, the first female Iraq war resister from the U.S. to come to Canada, has been ordered deported.

Rivera, along with her husband and their three young children, must leave the country by January 27 or they will be forcibly removed.

Rivera served in Iraq in 2006 but fled to Canada in 2007 after refusing redeployment.

“After a huge awakening in the lives of civilians who don’t get to escape the trauma or the pain and loss of people they love, I was seeing the truth and it wasn’t what we’d been led to believe,” Rivera said in a press release Wednesday from the group War Resisters Support Campaign.

“My goal is to find a better future for my kids. Coming to Canada gave my family opportunities and hope.”

Rivera just gave birth to her youngest daughter Katie six weeks ago.

The family’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) applications and requests to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds were both rejected.

“During the last election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that the Iraq war was ‘absolutely an error,’ but he has so far refused to support the troops who have come to the same conclusion,” Lee Zaslofksy, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Wednesday.

The WRSC says four other war resisters and their families face deportation in January.

The group accused Immigration Minister Jason Kenney of trying to rush the deportations to avoid growing public pressure once Parliament resumes later this month.

The WRSC wants the Conservatives to implement a motion adopted by Parliament last June, which recommended that “conscientious objectors” to wars not sanctioned by the UN be allowed to stay in Canada and apply for permanent resident status.

With files from The Canadian Press

U.S. deserter faces deportation Christmas Eve December 17, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Iraq and Afghanistan, War.
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The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The War Resisters Support Campaign says Citizenship and Immigration Canada has told a U.S. deserter living in Nanaimo, B.C., that he must leave Canada by Dec. 24 or face removal by force.

Cliff Cornell, originally from Arkansas, arrived in Canada in January, 2005. He currently works as an assistant manager of a retail store near Nanaimo.

Mr. Cornell’s deportation order comes after similar orders for war resisters Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Patrick Hart and his family, Matt Lowell and Dean Walcott.

The group says in a release that another, Kim Rivera, will receive a decision on Jan. 7.

Ms. Rivera served with the U.S. Army in Iraq and came to Canada with her husband, Mario, and their two children in early 2007.

The War Resisters Support Campaign said it is calling on the federal government to implement a motion adopted by Parliament on June 3, 2008.

The motion recommended that “conscientious objectors to wars not sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations” be allowed to remain in Canada and apply for permanent resident status.

It was adopted by a vote of 137-110 and also directed the government to stop deportation proceedings against war resisters and deserters living in Canada.

The Federal Court is to hear an appeal by Jeremy Hinzman against his deportation order on Feb. 10, 2009.

“Minister Jason Kenney should stop all deportations, at least until the Federal Court has completed the Hinzman appeal,” said Lee Zaslofsky, co-ordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign. “It would be a travesty if war resisters were deported, especially over the holidays, only to have the court find that they should be given another chance to apply to stay in Canada.”