Thursday, September 25, 2008

Retired Soldier Now In Fight Against War in Iraq/U.S. War Deserter Wins Stay of Deportation

Published on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 by The Virginia Pilot

Retired Soldier Now In Fight Against War in Iraq

by Bill Sizemore

Retired Col. Ann Wright was one of three U.S. diplomats to resign in protest over the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

NORFOLK - For Ann Wright, it's a badge of honor that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly once cut off her microphone midinterview.

"He was questioning my patriotism," Wright said in an interview this week. "All I had said was that the United States needed to follow the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of prisoners. I said, 'Bill, I was in the military 29 years and I was a diplomat for 16 years. What have you done for the country?' "

Presumably Wright, 61, won't have to worry about being cut off when she speaks tonight at the Naro Expanded Cinema about her unlikely odyssey from soldier to diplomat to full-time anti-war activist.

By her own description, hers was a "squeaky clean" life story. She grew up in Bentonville , Ark. , where she was a Girl Scout and her father was a banker who gave Sam Walton a loan that helped launch the Wal-Mart empire.

After retiring from the Army as a colonel, she joined the State Department and served in a variety of overseas posts, including reopening the U.S. Embassy in Kabul , Afghanistan , after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Over the decades, she said, she had often disagreed privately with U.S. policy but kept her mouth shut, believing she could serve best within the system.

"But it all changed when President Bush decided that he would invade and occupy an oil-rich Arab Muslim country that had not attacked the United States," she said. "It was such a dangerous move for the United States that I felt I could not be a part of it."

Wright was one of three U.S. diplomats to resign in protest over the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Since then she has been arrested 15 times for raising her voice in a public and indelicate manner. Once, after lecturing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from the gallery, she was sentenced to three days in jail.

Wright has co-written a book, "Dissent: Voices of Conscience," a collection of profiles of men and women in government who have publicly criticized the Bush administration's foreign policy.

Appearing with Wright tonight will be Jonathan Hutto, a sailor and co-founder of Appeal for Redress, an organization that encourages active-duty personnel who are against the war in Iraq to speak out.

© 2008 The Virginia Pilot

U.S. War Deserter Wins Stay of Deportation

Linda Nguyen

Canwest News Service

September 22, 2008

The Federal Court of Canada on Monday granted a stay of deportation to U.S. war deserter Jeremy Hinzman to allow time for the court to decide whether to hear his appeal on humanitarian grounds.

No date has been set for a decision on whether the court will hear the appeal.

Hinzman, 29, along with his wife and two young children, were ordered to leave Canada Tuesday.

However, he will be able to stay in Canada while the court decides on the case.

"We are very happy that the Court has granted this stay of deportation," said Lee Zaslofsky, of the War Resisters Support Campaign in a statement Monday. "Jeremy and his family will be allowed to remain in Canada at least until the Court decides whether to hear his appeal."

That may take anywhere from several weeks to several months.

Olivia Chow, NDP incumbent for the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, said Monday that she was thrilled with the stay and hopes Hinzman will be permitted to remain in Canada .

On June 3, Chow's non-binding motion to not deport war resisters went through the House of Commons. It was approved by the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc, but the Conservatives opposed it.

"It's a minor victory and a step in the right direction," Chow said. "It's unfortunate it takes the court to do it and not the democratic process, which (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper is ignoring since Parliament stood up very clearly in support of my motion.

"I'm really happy for Jeremy and his family, especially the new baby. Now I'm going to find some flowers and bring to the family."

On Sunday, about 100 protesters travelled to Immigration Minister Diane Finley's southern Ontario constituency office, begging her to stop the deportation.

Hinzman joined the U.S. army in early 2001. Soon after, he sought status as a conscientious objector, which was denied.

He then fled to Canada with wife and son in 2004.

In August, Canada Border Services ordered Hinzman, his wife, son and daughter to leave the country by Sept. 23. The order came after Citizenship and Immigration denied two of his applications to stay, one made under the pre-removal risk program and the other on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

The group says Hinzman and his family are the first Iraq war deserters to seek sanctuary in Canada .

U.S. deserters who are returned to their country can face penalties including criminal charges, being required to complete their military contract or being given an undesirable administrative discharge from army service.

In July, Canada deported war deserter Pte. Robin Long, who following his return to the United States, had a Colorado court martial in August and was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

© Canwest News Service 2008

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center , 325 E. 25th St. , Baltimore , MD 21218 . Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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