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A Different Kind Of 'Route Irish'

category international | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Wednesday February 09, 2005 18:30author by 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Project Report this post to the editors

Can Shannon Airport be Transformed into a Sanctuary for War Resisters?

The 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Project: Webpage

Other Links...
Harry Browne writes: 'Don't Get Back on that Plane' Soldiers: Seek Asylum in Ireland - CounterPunch.org

CBS News: ''The Pentagon says more than 5,500 servicemen have deserted since the war started in Iraq.'' (Dec. 8, 2004)

Frida Berrigan writes: 'Meet the New Conscientious Objectors' - Voices In The Wilderness


The 1951 Convention
''....a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of ... political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country ... owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.'' - 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees - History of the 1951 Convention

Criteria for the Determination
of Refugee Status

Scroll down to 'B. Deserters And Persons Avoiding Military Service' and read paragraphs 167 to 174

The Dublin Convention
Under the Dublin Convention, the Republic of Ireland will be the EU member state responsible for processing Asylum claims from Americans as Shannon Airport will be their first port of entry: ''The Member State responsible for controlling the entry of the alien into the territory of the Member States will be responsible for examining the application for asylum....''

San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994
''If the inspection reveals that the aircraft is not a medical aircraft, it may be captured, and the occupants shall, unless agreed otherwise between the neutral State and the parties to the conflict, be detained in the neutral State where so required by the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, in such a manner that they cannot again take part in the hostilities.
- Paragraph 183

In 2004 more than 158,000 US Troops flew through Shannon Airport, most on their way to Iraq. During much of that same period of time approximately 5,500 US Troops have deserted, gone into hiding, sent to jail and some have escaped to Canada.

What if the funnel to Iraq, called Shannon Airport, were to be transformed into a sanctuary for US Troops resisting the Iraq War by requesting asylum in Ireland?

Audio of the press conference on launch of invitation to make Shannon a Sanctuary of Peace for US Military Resistors.(32/2005)

This is the new effort by the Dublin Catholic Worker and other anti-war activists and politicians announced in Dublin on Feb 3rd - the second anniversary of the Pit Stop Ploughshares disarmament of a US Navy Plane at Shannon.

Damien Moran of the Dublin Catholic Worker said ''We encourage members of the US Military refusing to participate in this illegal war to seek asylum in Ireland. We encourage members of the US Military landing at Shannon Airport to refuse to reboard the planes bound for Iraq.''

Irish activist Michael Birmingham, back since last May after 20 months in Iraq, believes that the Irish people can use their close connections with Americans to help end the war: ''It is very important that we here in Ireland do what we can through our many contacts in the United States to get the message out to the soldiers that there is an opportunity for them not to go to Iraq.''

Ed Horgan, former Irish Army Commandant and anti-war activist explained, ''As a former soldier I am very slow to recommend that any soldier should desert his army or his country. But this is an exceptional case, the war in Iraq is unlawful and it is immoral.''

The Dublin Catholic Worker will be coordinating with groups such as the Limerick based Midwest Alliance Against Military Aggression and Dublin based Residents Against Racism to connect them to legal assistance, housing and help in escaping from Shannon Airport. Offers of pro-bono defence have also been offered by a number of lawyers.

North-Central TD, Finian McGrath, speaking at the press conference, said ''It is incumbent on Gardaí to respect the asylum requests by US Soldiers at the airport. We need to have the follow up support, legal advice to ensure that that person is well after when he's here and going through the asylum process.''

Ed Horgan was optimistic and believes there will be popular support for US Soldiers staying in Ireland: ''Obviously, the Irish Government shouldn't allow US Troops to pass through Shannon, at all. But the Irish people and those in this effort will provide facilities and contacts and help for US Soldiers that jump ship at Shannon.''

Senator David Norris agreed but predicted difficulties for the Irish Government if US Troops apply for asylum in Ireland, ''I guarentee you that the Irish Government will be leaned on in an unmerciful way by the Pentagon and the US State Department.''

Furthermore, Norris believes there will be strong support from many politicians but would be afraid to say so publicly, ''A large number of party members who would be sympathetic to what we are saying on an individual basis but they are 'whipped in' from the top [of their parties] and the impetus is shamefully a financial one.''

''This is not in any way an 'Anti-American' suggestion.'' Michael Birmingham explained, ''This is very much about showing solidarity also with young American men who, as soon as they leave Shannon Airport and land in Baghdad Airport and drive down 'Route Irish' - will be in a war zone with no way out and will be forced to do things that they and their families would be absolutely apalled by if the knew the truth of it.''

Damien Moran, following up, stated ''As St. Patrick's Day approaches we appeal to the Irish government to extend a 'Céad Mile Fáilte' to the brave military resisters in the U.S. refusing to participate in this illegal war.''


American Refugee Claimants and US Prisoners of Conscience

Brandon Hughey - Applied for refugee status in Canada.

Jeremy Hinzman - Applied for refugee status in Canada

Camilo Mejia - On May 21, 2004, 28-year-old Sgt. Camilo Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq.

Pablo Paredes - On December 6, 2004 he reported to for duty and refused to board the ship to protest the current US war.

Kevin Benderman - faces a possible court-martial after failing to deploy with his unit.

author by NTRpublication date Thu Feb 10, 2005 00:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coupla points.

The UN convention applies to those who would be persecuted, tortured etc in their Country of origin.

One example here lists a punishment of a year in jail for one deserter. If this applies - then surely any activity that enjoys a similar or worse sentence (that can claim conscienable grounds - like the Unabomber or Mr. Bin Laden for example) has legitimate grounds for claiming asylum.

US soldiers are not conscripted.

The desertion of duty may have fatal consequences for those who do not desert. Is this treason or not?

Moving further outside of the box:

Would for example - a UN soldier who deserts his duty to say - stop genocide - be entitled to refugee status under UN Conventions if he felt the cause was unjustifiable for any or whatever reason?

If not, why not?

Allowing that status is awarded (in theory) until the relevant Country becomes safe - what would constitute safe? In this case - would it mean a disbandoned army or a democrat government?

author by Sandra Gpublication date Thu Feb 10, 2005 15:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Q. The UN convention applies to those who would be persecuted, tortured etc in their Country of origin[?]

A. The UN Declaration applies to those who “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

However, the UN Handbook on Refugees defines as "convention refugees," soldiers who refuse to fight in wars that are "condemned by the international community as contrary to the basic rules of human conduct."

In Britain this has been used to win asylum for a Russian soldier who refused to fight in Chechnya, for example.

This is now a major issue in Canada, where many US soldiers are claiming asylum on the grounds that they don’t want to fight in an illegal war (ie. Iraq).

See: http://www.nodraftnoway.org/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1093969526&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&

Q. One example here lists a punishment of a year in jail for one deserter. If this applies - then surely any activity that enjoys a similar or worse sentence (that can claim conscienable grounds - like the Unabomber or Mr. Bin Laden for example) has legitimate grounds for claiming asylum.

Would for example - a UN soldier who deserts his duty to say - stop genocide - be entitled to refugee status under UN Conventions if he felt the cause was unjustifiable for any or whatever reason?

A. The Convention states:
F. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that.
(a) He has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;
(b) He has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;
(c) He has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
See: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_c_ref.htm

Q. The desertion of duty may have fatal consequences for those who do not desert. Is this treason or not?
According to the US Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.(Article III)

Therefore, treason is very hard to prove, and doesn’t cover simple desertion or refusal to fight. Desertion and treason are legally two different things.

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A3Sec3

For more info:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article03/24.html

author by NTRpublication date Thu Feb 10, 2005 19:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks Sandra G for a well argued and intelligent response.

However I am unconvinced.

You quote the UN Handbook on Refugees as defining as "convention refugees," soldiers who refuse to fight in wars that are "condemned by the international community as contrary to the basic rules of human conduct."

Do you suppose this mean the tactics employed or the war itself?. A US or any soldier surely swears allegiance to his country first and not the international community.

What are the basic rules of human conduct?

To my question of "Would for example - a UN soldier who deserts his duty to say - stop genocide - be entitled to refugee status under UN Conventions if he felt the cause was unjustifiable for any or whatever reason?"

Following your understanding of the caveats - is your unvarnished answer yes or no?

I still think that the question of enlisting voluntarily is not addressed.

I also think that argument that wars that heretofore generated POW's - now generate convention refugess is unsustainable.

The net effect may well be to undemine international law as Countries simply pull out of the provisions that undermine their ability to defend themselves - not to mention the collateral damage to relationships between Countries.

author by A10publication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 00:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

realistic or just more idealistic campain or just somthing by the anti war movement to be seen to be "doing somthin"?
5,500 GIs have run off to Canada,out of a army of 2.5 MILLION[inc every manjack in the entire US armed forces].do the maths yourselves. Every army is going to have wasters and slackers.
Witness the remarkable increase in pregger cases in female GIs before Desert Storm and Afghanistan.It is calculated in to combat loss.5,500 is nothing.
Do you know how many GIs deserted in WW2 over the entire theatres where the US fought?Over 90,000 in France and Germany alone after the liberation of Paris.And that didnt stop the invasion of the third reich.
Korea it was lower,and despite everything it was not a contributing factor to the Vietnam debacle.

Good book on the subject is Johnny sold his gun,check out amazon.com it is written by a US deserter and the reason most troops deserted in ww2 was nothing to do with consience.they were making more on the black market and were of a more criminal bent than wanting to get killed fighting Nazis
Soo you would have to ask why are these 5K GIs deserting?

author by Sandra Gpublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 17:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Q. You quote the UN Handbook on Refugees as defining as "convention refugees," soldiers who refuse to fight in wars that are "condemned by the international community as contrary to the basic rules of human conduct." Do you suppose this mean the tactics employed or the war itself?.

A. It’s worth looking at the relevant passage in full (you can access the entire document via http://www.hrea.org/learn/tutorials/refugees/Handbook/hbpart1.htm ). The criteria here is that ‘the type of military action’ be condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct. When that is the case, a person who stands to be punished for refusing to be associated with the action is to be regarded as subject to persecution.

171. Not every conviction, genuine though it may be, will constitute a sufficient reason for claiming refugee status after desertion or draft-evasion. It is not enough for a person to be in disagreement with his government regarding the political justification for a particular military action. Where, however, the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct, punishment for desertion or draft-evasion could, in the light of all other requirements of the definition, in itself be regarded as persecution.


Q. What are the basic rules of human conduct?

An interesting discussion of how this provision should be applied (based on the attempt to gain refugee status by a Russian who refused to fight in Chechnya on these grounds) can be seen at: http://www.iaa.gov.uk/2004_ukiat_00294_ak_russia.pdf

Basically actions contrary to relevant International Conventions (eg. On rights of Civilians, conduct of war, treatment of POWs etc) are taken to be a breach of the basic rules of human conduct. It is not necessary to prove that the specific action in question has been condemned by the international community (eg. to prove that the UN, US etc. actually condemned, for example, the Chechen war), but instead it is assumed that any action in violation of International Conventions is an action condemned by the international community as contrary to the basic rules of human conduct.

So, to be recognised as a refugee in such a situation requires three things:

1. That the conflict involves combatants being required on a sufficiently widespread basis to act in breach of the basic rules of human conduct generally recognised by the international community (ie International Conventions).
2. That the person claiming refugee status can prove he will be punished for refusing to do so.
3. That disapproval of such methods and fear of such punishment is the genuine reason for motivating the person to refuse to serve in such a conflict.

In the case of Iraq, the key question is whether the invasion/occupation is contrary to International Law. Clearly there are many grounds for believing that the invasion and conduct of the occupation were/are not.

See: http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/lawindex.htm


Q. A US or any soldier surely swears allegiance to his country first and not the international community [?]

A soldier swears allegiance to his country, but that does not exempt them from international law. Particularly when their countries have recognised the international statutes in question. However, whether their countries adhere to international law in practice is an entirely different matter (eg. US treatment of POWs, Guantanamo Bay, etc).


Q. To my question of "Would for example - a UN soldier who deserts his duty to say - stop genocide - be entitled to refugee status under UN Conventions if he felt the cause was unjustifiable for any or whatever reason?" Following your understanding of the caveats - is your unvarnished answer yes or no?

A. It depends on whether the War was being conducted according to international law, and whether the person was being forced to serve in the army.

Firstly, there are no UN soldiers. Soldiers belong to national armies and are posted with the UN. Eg. Irish soldiers serving in Cyprus or Lebanon under the UN. Therefore, desertion is subject to domestic punishment (as are all other aspects of military discipline). A person claiming refugee status on the basis that they did not want to serve in a conflict that was undertaken in accordance with international law would not be entitled to refugee status, as such a conflict would not be a breach of the basic rules of human conduct. (The aim of the war is not the important issue as much as whether military actions are undertaken within international law).

However, if the person was forced to join the army, the situation would be different. In that case, the person could claim that ‘the performance of military service’ amounted to persecution, as it forced them to act in violation of their beliefs (eg. pacifism, religious views, etc). Presumably someone who volunteered to join an army would have a hard time trying to prove this, though.The relevant article is:

170. There are, however, also cases where the necessity to perform military service may be the sole ground for a claim to refugee status, i.e. when a person can show that the performance of military service would have required his participation in military action contrary to his genuine political, religious or moral convictions, or to valid reasons of conscience.

So, if the person volunteered to join an army (and couldn’t prove that the performance of military duty was a violation of their beliefs), and the conflict was conducted in accordance with international law, then No.


Q. I still think that the question of enlisting voluntarily is not addressed.

This article addresses this point (in relation to those claiming refugee status on the grounds of an objection to‘the performance of military service’) :
174. The genuineness of a person's political, religious or moral convictions, or of his reasons of conscience for objecting to performing military service, will of course need to be established by a thorough investigation of his personality and background. The fact that he may have manifested his views prior to being called to arms, or that he may already have encountered difficulties with the authorities because of his convictions, are relevant considerations. Whether he has been drafted into compulsory service or joined the army as a volunteer may also be indicative of the genuineness of his convictions.
[See also Articles 172 and 173]

However, if the objection is made on the grounds that the War violates International Conventions, then whether the person volunteered or not would have no bearing on the case.


Q. I also think that argument that wars that heretofore generated POW's - now generate convention refugess is unsustainable.

POWs are not accorded refugee status. They are given rights under various POW Conventions. The same with people displaced by the war (unless specifically victims of persecution).


Q. The net effect may well be to undemine international law as Countries simply pull out of the provisions that undermine their ability to defend themselves - not to mention the collateral damage to relationships between Countries.

The US and UK show little respect for international law anyway. They simply pick and choose which parts they want to adhere to. This is far more damaging to international law, than the minimal demands made by refugee statutes.

author by yankpublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quote from above:
Q. A US or any soldier surely swears allegiance to his country first and not the international community [?]

A soldier swears allegiance to his country, but that does not exempt them from international law. Particularly when their countries have recognised the international statutes in question. However, whether their countries adhere to international law in practice is an entirely different matter (eg. US treatment of POWs, Guantanamo Bay, etc).
====

US Soldiers swear allegiance to the US Constitution - not to country nor to the president - there are good reasons for this.

And the US Constitution, of course, is legally connected to International Treaties as they have been passed by the US Senate.

It is the Bush Admin that is the criminal here, not the soldier - the soldier applying for asylum would be trying to prevent his own involvement in a crime.

author by NTRpublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 20:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks again Sandra G but I think we risk getting bogged down in the minutia of complex and easily misinterpreted conventions that are not strictly binding in the first instance.

May I try another tack.

Can you name any military intervention that has been universally lauded by the international community at any time in history?

To my point: I also think that argument that wars that heretofore generated POW's - now generate convention refugess is unsustainable.

Let me retry. What if all POW's simply claimed asylum on capture? Are they entitled to processing or not? Clearly this would be a mockery but it is perfectly catered for in your understanding of grounds for asylum.

Finally you state: The US and UK show little respect for international law anyway. They simply pick and choose which parts they want to adhere to. This is far more damaging to international law, than the minimal demands made by refugee statutes.

I'm not sure how you quantify minimal demands. If 250,000 soldiers deserted armies globally and claimed asylum in Ireland (or the US)- we would find little comfort in preening ourselves as unthinking adhererents to "International law" nor would we be thanked by those Countries that see their armies undermined and demoralised.

Mr. Yank: It would help a lot if you read the oath that US soldiers swear before imploding with misplaced indignation.

Excerpt follows:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

No exceptions for Bush you might note.

author by Sandra Gpublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 21:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quote: ‘we risk getting bogged down in the minutia of complex and easily misinterpreted conventions that are not strictly binding in the first instance’.

In general, international law is, as you say vague and not strictly binding. For example, the Geneva Convention on Refugees simply defines who should be a refugee, but does not oblige states to accept refugees (it does oblige them not to return refugees or asylum seekers to situations in which their lives would be in danger). However, most countries have agreed to accept the Convention standards as the basis for their own domestic asylum legislation. Therefore, this is taken to be the legal definition of who will be accorded refugee status under domestic law. This makes the Refugee Convention difficult to get around.

The problem, however, is that it is up to states themselves to assess if asylum applicants conform with these criteria – ie. they test themselves whether the person can prove that they have a well-founded fear of persecution. In practice, states just don’t accept that this is true. For example, in Ireland, only around 10 percent of applicants are accepted as meeting this criteria (a decision which is made on political grounds, rather than objectively). Further the criteria themselves were chosen by Western states because of their narrowness. For example, the applicant has to prove ‘persecution’ – living in a civil war, etc. is not enough. And many grounds of persecution are ignored – eg. Economic oppression, oppression against women (though it is being debated whether they qualify as a ‘social group’), and oppression by non-state actors.

This takes me on to the next point – why I described the demands of refugee law as ‘minimal’. Basically, the criteria for achieving refugee status are very tight. And the receiving states themselves are the judges of whether the applicant meets these criteria or not.

In the case of your hypothetical example of 250,000 soldiers arriving in Ireland to claim asylum, we would probably find our government very reluctant to accept these people as refugees, especially given the pressure the US government would be bound to exert (presuming we mean US or allied soldiers), and our government’s generally spineless response. However, at the end of the day whether they got to stay or not would be a political battle to be won or lost. Upholding the right to asylum of soldiers who refuse to take part in wars that are contrary to the basic rules of human conduct (whether we define this legally or morally) might cost us. But surely it is a value worth upholding? And in such situations, surely the fact that offering asylum would undermine and demoralise the armies involved would be a bonus, even if their governments are aggrieved?


Q. Can you name any military intervention that has been universally lauded by the international community at any time in history?

A. The point is that the military action doesn’t have to be universally lauded. If it breaks International Conventions, those who refuse to participate are entitled to be defined as refugees under international law, and (if states can be persuaded the claim is true) under domestic law in countries that uphold the Convention definion.


Q. What if all POW's simply claimed asylum on capture? Are they entitled to processing or not? Clearly this would be a mockery but it is perfectly catered for in your understanding of grounds for asylum.

A. Everyone is entitled to claim asylum under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, given POWs are prisoners, they cannot fall under the Convention definition (that a refugee would face persecution in his homeland) – that is, unless they were being released or deported home (in which case they would cease to be POWs). Presumably, if a POW is to be sent home, he can claim there is a threat of persecution, and that he is entitled to stay in the capturing state as a refugee.

Re: Yank:

Yank is right on this one. The oath is to obey the constitution, and to obey the President (who is himself subject to the constitution). International treaties are ratified by the President with the ‘consent’ of two-thirds of the Senate (the Senate can pass approval but not ratify them). As the US has broken several of the Conventions it has previously ratified, and acted illegally under international law ( see: http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/law/2003/1120hawk.htm ), from an international law perspective, the US government is acting criminally. As several commentators have pointed out, this could, potentially leave US government personnel open to charges of war crimes (which is why the US is so against the International Criminal Court): http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/law/2003/0706uscrimes.htm

author by NTRpublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 23:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1 The problem, however, is that it is up to states themselves to assess if asylum applicants conform with these criteria – ie. they test themselves whether the person can prove that they have a well-founded fear of persecution. In practice, states just don’t accept that this is true. For example, in Ireland, only around 10 percent of applicants are accepted as meeting this criteria (a decision which is made on political grounds, rather than objectively).


- The figure is closer to 6%. The decision is made under UNHCR guidelines and so it is misleading to claim a political bias. Claims are also submitted to due process after three tiers of decision and appeal if there are lingering doubts. Ireland is not the first safe country the overwhelming majority of it's asylum applicants encounter. remarkably - the largest nationality claiming asylum (Nigerians) in Ireland enjoy a success rate of 1%.

It is not good enough to prove a fear - it is also required that that fear cannot be dissipated within the Country of origin. A country such as Nigeria (the size of France and Germany combined) should have little difficulty accomodating the victims of local strife (IDP's). Also, Nigeria is literally surrounded by bordering states - all of which are signatories to the UN convention on refugees as it is itself.

At some point it is necessary to accept that far flung countries with concentrated numbers of citizens falsely claiming asylum thousands of miles from the first obvious safe countries - may be the result of well organised, trafficking rings that are criminally exploiting the provisions of the asylum system to circumvent normal immigration paths. It is prudent to adapt to that situation so as not to debase the entire system.

You are of course right that the terms of convention status are narrow but that is necessarily so. For example - victims of the recent Tsunami disaster do not have carte blanche to hand pick the "best" country to reside in - even as de facto (non-convention) refugees. The underlying principle of asylum is one of temporary refuge. It is certainly not relocation.

2 Q. Can you name any military intervention that has been universally lauded by the international community at any time in history?

Let me reword.

Can you name any military intervention that did not break any International Convention at any time in history. It's a very specific question. I don't believe you can provide the very specific answer I am looking for.

Your answer to the POW question underlines the absurdity of the relevant laws taken to their logical conclusion. It is noteworthy that deserters can claim asylum and not those that risked their lives.

If the war in Iraq is truly illegal in international terms - why would we not arrest US soldiers as POW's in the scenario originally outlined? Surely allowing them claim asylum is simply the picking and choosing of laws that you accuse the US and UK of. We could process their claims after the war no?

I still claim Yank is wrong. Ask the majority of Americans to name one International Law never mind disregard their own in favour of it. The lack of true and pure democratic mandate is the hallmark of much International law which is arguably why National laws trump international "ratified" laws.

Canada is the recipient of US soldiers claiming asylum as the orginal article shows. The maintainenance of the border between those Countries is arguably helped by this debacle.

Surely this runs counter to the one world utopia envisaged by much "international law"?

author by Sandra Gpublication date Sat Feb 12, 2005 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Re. Asylum Process:

Sure, appeals can be made, etc. but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. Irish government policy is about 1. making sure as few asylum seekers as possible can get here, and 2. accepting as few as possible of the claims that are made. Notice how politicians’ predictions that many refugees are ‘bogus’ somehow always end up being matched in the figures. Of course, you could believe that they are simply describing reality, but FF and PD politicians are hardly known for their honesty.


Re. First ‘safe country’:

Ireland is not the first ‘safe country’ most aslum seekers reach, some travel across the world before claiming asylum. Point taken. But this raises a deeper question, of resources. Surely there is a moral obligation to share the burden of the world’s refugee crisis? Surely the richer, more able countries should take their share (or at least finance other nearby countries who are taking the refugees)? If we say refugees should go to the nearest country, we end up justifiying the situation whereby poor countries are taking in literally millions of refugees (think of Pakistan, Iran, or Jordan), and rich countries are justifying spurious refusals simply on grounds of location. I think the best principle here is ‘from each according to ability to each according to need’!


Re. Traficking:

Maybe trafficking is a large part of this. But we can’t use this to justify denying access to the refugees (as governments tend to). Remember, claiming asylum is a universally accepted human right. It shouldn’t matter how the person got here. Besides, again there is a resource issue. If we paid for refugees to be brought to our countries (remember we have accepted an obligation in international law to help them), or at least to some kind of ‘safe haven’, we would eliminate the need for trafficking. This is one problem of the Convention definition – to be a refugee you have to be in exile, therefore you have to find a way to leave your country.


Re. Convention definition:

I don’t think the Convention definition is narrow for reasons of necessity as much as convenience. Logically, if we are willing to accept that victims of political persecution should be helped, surely we should accept that all people who face oppression because of political reasons should be helped? This should include, for example, victims of poverty (which is the result of national and international political decisions) victims of national disasters (when their governments are unable or unwilling to assist), victims of group-based oppression, rather than just individual persecution, victims of political persecution who haven’t managed to leave their country, and those suffering from general threats to safety (eg. from war etc.).

Of course help doesn’t have to mean permanent relocation, but as things stand most victims of these situations can only access help by going abroad. The reason such people are not included as refugees, and so helped, though, is because we don’t want to pay for it!


Q. Can you name any military intervention that did not break any International Convention at any time in history?

No. But I don’t know the area that well. In any case, there’s no such thing as a humane war.


Q. If the war in Iraq is truly illegal in international terms - why would we not arrest US soldiers as POW's in the scenario originally outlined? Surely allowing them claim asylum is simply the picking and choosing of laws that you accuse the US and UK of. We could process their claims after the war no?

I like the idea! Basically, the reason we don’t arrest American soldiers is political. We’re afraid to piss off the Americans. The reason America wants to undermine the International Criminal Court is to reduce the chances of some country being able to do this.

However, I think the asylum issue is seperate. Those who participate in unjustifiable military acts should be held accountable. Those who refuse to do so should be protected from persecution (as is their right).

author by NTRpublication date Sat Feb 12, 2005 01:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Re. Asylum Process

FF & PD's do not manufacture the figures on asylum. The system under the auspices of the UNHCR does. Any complaint on the scope of convention refugees lies firmy in their court. No party in Ireland would interfere with that base mechanism.

Re. First ‘safe country.

If asylum is an issue of resources - then I can think of no more efficient utilisation of same than by allowing the UNHCR to adjudicate claims at source and allocate individuals from there. I dont think any reasonable person rejects genuine refugees. Michael Mc Dowell recently made a significant comparison with UNHCR global expenditure on refugees at source compared to the bloated cost of highly localised processing of bogus asylum claims in this Country alone. It makes for depressing reading for anyone truly interested in the issue of effective utilisation of resources.

Re. Traficking: Again I agree with the acceptance of refugees. I think we differ again on the larger contemporary issue of bogus refugees. For instance, the Conservatives in the UK (like Australia) proposes crackdowns on bogus refugees - balanced by legitimate routes for recognised refugees as adjudicated nearer to points of origin. I would have no problem with that. I suspect you might.

Re. Convention definition:

My argument on this is really quite simple. I am told that recognised refugees in this country are fleeing persecution as defined. Their very lives are in danger. I accept this as a genuine plea for help. I don't equate murder or torture with unemployment or opportunism and I dont think this should be diluted. If it is to be diluted - then the first step is to withdraw from the 1951 Convention and seek democratic mandate for whatever replaces it. I especially dont advocate asylum for poverty. Put simply - the poor simply cannot afford to claim asylum here. The equivalent spend (on comparatively wealthy, but bogus refugees) in the Countries of origin would aid thousands more.

Your quote: In any case, there’s no such thing as a humane war.

Is a surprise. You don't think genocide should be prevented for instance?

Was US intervention in WW2 "inhumane"?
Should they have sat back and let the refugees pile in for a hundred years?

This is not a leading question. There are those who think the Hutus have a right to butcher Tutsi's in Rwanda and vice versa. Where are you when the killings begin?

To your final point "The reason America wants to undermine the International Criminal Court etc.

Do you think the reason for this might lie in the construction of the UN?

Rogue states chairing Human Rights commissions - oppresive Governments lecturing free Governments not to mention the scandals like the ransacking of the Iraq oil for food scheme by UN officials to the highest echelons.

You may not be wary of the pompous, grandiose platitudes - yet contradictory ways and schemes of our brethern in the UN.

I am.

author by pcpublication date Sat Feb 12, 2005 18:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml
author by NTRpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sandra G,

You may have some thoughts on this link - that follows this thread discussion neatly.

It stems from a UN report on asylum trends in Britain and finds:

(Iraq used to be the biggest national group, but the numbers of Iraqi asylum seekers has fallen by nearly two-thirds since the start of the year and the end of the formal conflict in that country. )

Isn't that ironic?

The war in Iraq has reduced the number of asylum seekers!

I think if you do a search you will find the same phenomen applies to asylum seekers from Afghanistan and the constituent Countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Perhaps a handful of US soldier "refugees" is a price well worth paying to make sure the others actually continue to go there.

Just think - a few more of these "illegal" wars - and we could truly claim to be doing something that yielded an actual, positive result for bona fide refugees - by removing the perpetrators of persecution instead of tending to the inevitable victims, only after their lives have been destroyed.

Related Link: http://www.europaworld.org/week156/russians51203.htm
author by Sandra Gpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If only things were so clearcut.

The number of Iraqi asylum seekers may have gone down at this point in time. But your argument doesn't hold up:

1. You're assuming that the decline can be attributed to a decline in persecution (rather than say, a change in migratory patterns, people no longer having means to travel because of the economic effects of the war, or even the possibility that most who wanted to leave have by now left). You’re probably going to deny this is true.

2. But if the previous exodus of Iraqi asylum seekers was being caused by persecution, then why were they not receiving refugee status? In 2003, Britain gave refugee status to 1% of Iraqi applicants, and in 2002 to 6%. (See: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/hosb1104.pdf - you’ll have to scroll down to the tables at the end). Okay, most of these were given exceptional leave to remain, but arguably this was on political grounds – it would have looked bad to be returning asylum seekers to Saddam while claiming he needed to be removed by war.

3. So, either these people are refugees or not. The UK government cannot claim any credit for reducing the number of asylum seekers arriving in Britain, if they were previously saying that these people weren’t genuine refugees.

Secondly, the argument only holds up in selective cases of US intervention. What about Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, etc.? These interventions generated refugee movement. We could even extend the argument to US support for Israel and its other allies.

Thirdly, in the case of Iraq, we are looking at the figures in a particular time. At the moment, most Iraqis seem to have adopted a policy of wait-and-see. How do we know what will happen in the next year or two? It seems likely that if the US wants to maintain its position in Iraq (or at least to ensure that a friendly government is in power) and that significant proportions of the Iraqis disagree, then either the US is going to have to enforce its preferred government, or be removed by force. The result is likely to mean an increase in refugees either way.

Finally, by your logic, the US should invade Russia, therefore putting an end to the Chechen War, and reducing the number of asylum seekers. Strangely, I don’t think this will happen, and I doubt the plight of asylum seekers is high in the list of US government priorities.

author by Sandra Gpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to generalise the point made above. If we acknowledge that the asylum seekers who have left Iraq in the last ten years are victims of persecution who are entitled to our assistance, but at least 94% of them are failing to meet the refugee criteria set out in the Geneva Convention, this surely supports the argument I made above that the Convention criteria are too narrow.

It’s not enough to say that being given leave to remain in Britain is enough. This status is entirely at the discretion of the Home Secretary, and does not involve the person in question being acknowledged as a refugee.

Keep in mind that to be given refugee status, an Iraqi would have to prove (the onus of proof being on the individual, who would have to supply evidence) that they as an individual (not as a group) were being persecuted by the Iraqi state. It’s not enough to belong to an oppressed ethnic group, or to suffer because of decisions made by the regime, or to have no access to the basic necessities of life, or to have to live in a war situation, or to suffer from environmental catastrophes created by the regime, or that the persecution comes from non-state actors, or from other regimes (such as would be the case with victims of the US embargo). The person has to prove that they personally are being persecuted by the regime.

If only 1% or 6% of Iraqi asylum seekers in Britain were able to prove this, then either:

1. The other 99% or 94% were not victims of persecution who are entitled to our assistance (in which case why did the British government feel unable to deport them?). If this is the case then the fact that less of these Iraqis are coming to Britain does not entitle the British government, or anyone else, to claim that they are improving the situation for potential ‘refugees’, by preventing the persecution that forced them to flee.

Or

2. The other 99% or 94% are genuine refugees according to the Geneva criteria, but the asssessment process used by the British is flawed, meaning that many who are entitled to refugee status are not being given it.

Or

3. The Geneva criteria are too narrow and leave out many who ought to be treated as refugees.

Whichever is the case, something is going wrong.

author by NTRpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sandra G.

At the risk of getting lost in multiple variables, I will try stick to the kernel of the arguments and would make the following points:

1 A reduction in bona fide refugess from 6% to 1% is a reduction of 500%. This is a huge decrease whatever about the numbers abusing the system. The lack of deportations can be easily explained by the reluctance of Mr. Hussein to take his citizens back at the request of the British. This is a universal problem. Any Country experiencing unrest produces refugees. I would argue that bringing democracy to those Countries is a deterrent to those flows and is proven in Iraq. I don't believe the contempory phenomen of "asylum seeking" was an issue during Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, etc. nor do I believe there is a clear cut solution to the issue of Checnya.

2. Your argument that the convention terms are too narrow is not sustainable. The 1951 Convention followed the chaos of WW2 where genocidal practices were underway. We should not dilute and trivialise the 1951 convention simply because it is subject to wholesale abuse by making its provisions fit the profile of the abusers. I would argue that to do so would simply increase the scope for abuse expotentially.

3. I am not sure why you cannot quite grasp this point. The UNHCR adjudicates on convention refugee claims and not the Governments. The Governments are left with the mess created by abuse of the system and the dirty work of deporting bogus applicants. Arguably, the lack of these deportations is the true siren call to those who set morals aside and falsely claim asylum in the first place which might explain the bizzare scenario of asylum claims thousands of miles from Countries of origin.

I proposed a solution to process claims solely at points closer to origin so as to discourage human trafficking and such abuse. Do you have any thoughts on this?

author by Feel a Draft?publication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Return of the Draft
With the army desperate for recruits, should college students be packing their bags for Canada?
By TIM DICKINSON
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/6862691?rnd=1108223794795&has-player=unknown

"The Army's maxed out here," says retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, who served as Air Force chief of staff under the first President Bush. "The Defense Department and the president seem to be still operating off the rosy scenario that this will be over soon, that this pain is temporary and therefore we'll just grit our teeth, hunker down and get out on the other side of this. That's a bad assumption." The Bush administration has sworn up and down that it will never reinstate a draft. During the campaign last year, the president dismissed the idea as nothing more than "rumors on the Internets" and declared, "We're not going to have a draft -- period." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an Op-Ed blaming "conspiracy mongers" for "attempting to scare and mislead young Americans," insisted that "the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."


That assertion is demonstrably false. According to an internal Selective Service memo made public under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency's acting director met with two of Rumsfeld's undersecretaries in February 2003 precisely to debate, discuss and ponder a return to the draft. The memo duly notes the administration's aversion to a draft but adds, "Defense manpower officials concede there are critical shortages of military personnel with certain special skills, such as medical personnel, linguists, computer network engineers, etc." The potentially prohibitive cost of "attracting and retaining such personnel for military service," the memo adds, has led "some officials to conclude that, while a conventional draft may never be needed, a draft of men and women possessing these critical skills may be warranted in a future crisis." This new draft, it suggests, could be invoked to meet the needs of both the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.


The memo then proposes, in detail, that the Selective Service be "re-engineered" to cover all Americans -- "men and (for the first time) women" -- ages eighteen to thirty-four.

-------

Even military recruiters agree that the only way to persuade average Americans to make long-term sacrifices in war is for the children of the elite to put their lives on the line. In a recent meeting with military recruiters, Moskos discussed the crisis in enlistment. "I asked them would they prefer to have their advertising budget tripled or have Jenna Bush join the Army," he says. "They unanimously chose the Jenna option."

author by Sandra Gpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. So you are claiming that the 99% of Iraqi asylum seekers not given refugee status in Britain in 2003 were not ‘bona fide refugees’? And the 94% refused in 2002? If these people were not being persecuted, why would Mr. Hussein not have wanted them back? Perhaps a cunning plan to over-burden the welfare systems of his enemies?

There’s nothing new about asylum-seeking. Dealing with massive numbers of refugees certainly was an issue during these conflicts, and Western states were far from pleased with having to deal with them.

2. Yes, we should not dilute or trivialise the 1951 Conventions and the protection it offers. That’s why we should uphold its protection, even when the refugees in question are deserters from the US military. If these soldiers are entitled to protection under the Convention (as is shown above) and we are not willing to uphold that protection, then that is trivialising the Convention. Further, just because we agree to uphold the Convention, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expand its provisions to other refugees in need of protection who are not covered by its definition.

3. The UNHCR doesn’t ajudicate on asylum claims. This is a right every state maintains for itself. In Ireland, an asylum claim is first heard by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (a government body, staffed mostly by ex-cops). If an appeal is made, it is heard by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (made up of appointed legal professionals). At the end of the day, under the Refugee Act 1996, the Minister for Justice makes the decision either to grant or refuse refugee status. He will base this on the recommendation of the other bodies if he finds it appropriate. The role of the UNHCR is that it can ask for an appeal of a refused case (something the applicant, or any other interested party can also do). See: http://www.amnesty.ie/content/view/full/737/

I would have no objection to the UNHCR deciding refugee cases at source, and then dividing out refugees among countries according to their ability to support them. However, I suspect our government would not be keen on this, as it might involve Ireland having to take a fairer share of the burden of the world’s refugee crises.

Finally, as I have argued above, there are legitimate reasons why many who do not fall under the present criteria outlined in the Convention should be entitled to refugee status. These are not people ‘who set morals aside and falsely claim asylum’. They are very often people who need and deserve asylum, but who are excluded because it is our interests to maintain tighter rules that keep them out.

author by NTRpublication date Sun Feb 13, 2005 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. The reason Mr. Hussein and others do not want their all of their illegal immigrants back is multi-faceted. 1 They are a bargaining chip. 2 many send hard currency home rather than being a burden 3 Repatriation schemes are lucrative and 4 There are undesireables and criminal elements in the ranks of asylum seekers.

2. Advance your revised definition and advise how it will be tested.

3. We agree on the processing of claims at source. We are getting somewhere. I completely disagree that the Government would find an allocation of refugees a retrograde step when the last 5 years have seen almost 50,000 people claim asylum in highly dubious circumstances at enormous expense to the taxpayers of this Country.

I still think you are somewhat confused about the asylum issue even if amended. The entire underlying principle is one of refuge and protection for those whose lives are threatened. You can make ecuses/exceptions for a percentage of them but hardly 90%!!

Finally, I dont believe we will ever have an asylum case from someone in Shannon. The cowards that slunk into Canada and made their so called "persecution" a reality did not have the balls to get on a plane in the first place.

author by yankpublication date Mon Feb 14, 2005 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"1. The reason Mr. Hussein and others do not want their all of their illegal immigrants back is "

NTR, please stick to the issue at hand - the possibility of US Troops applying for asylum at Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland.

"Finally, I dont believe we will ever have an asylum case from someone in Shannon. "

only time will tell. and if they do come off the planes and apply - they have the right to apply like any other non-EU national.

"The cowards that slunk into Canada and made their so called "persecution" a reality did not have the balls to get on a plane in the first place."

Well, now we know your perspective.

NTR, many of the young men coming through Shannon these days have already served in Iraq. They know more about the reality on the gorund than airmchair generals like yourself.

As early as 1964 the Pentagon was telling Lyndon Johnson that the Viet Nam War was a lost cause. It is clear already that this war is over and all ideas of a 'quick victory' have been forgotten - but the Pentagon killing machine goes on.

In the case of Viet Nam it cost the lives of almost 60,000 Americans and 3,000,000 South East Asians.

Hubris is alive and well in the halls of American Power.

author by NTRpublication date Mon Feb 14, 2005 19:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Yank, my perspective was crystalised when I read "refugee" Brandon Hugheys self aggrandising website.

Its all in place - the publicity machine, followed by the book no doubt and perhaps the movie.

Its not UNHCR protection this chap wants - its Max Clifford.

author by yankpublication date Tue Feb 15, 2005 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

huh? 100,000+ dead Iraqis and you're fantasizing about book deals? get a grip.

when you come back to the real world, let us know.

By the way, did you notice that the PNAC boys appear to be asking for a draft?

http://www.newamericancentury.org/defense-20050128.htm

author by Yellow Ribbonspublication date Tue Feb 15, 2005 18:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

White House Turns Tables on Former American POWs
Gulf War Pilots Tortured by Iraqis Fight the Bush Administration in Trying to Collect Compensation
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0215-05.htm

The latest chapter in the legal history of torture is being written by American pilots who were beaten and abused by Iraqis during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. And it has taken a strange twist.

The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.

The rationale: Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money.

The case abounds with ironies. It pits the U.S. government squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention.

author by NTRpublication date Tue Feb 15, 2005 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mmmm

Tell me this Yank, how many Iraqis died whilst the sanctions held and the oil for food program was raped by the UN and Saddam?

How many Iraquis and assorted others did Saddam gas, persecute and torture?

What might he have done with WMD if he had got around to accumulating them?

Lets have a "real world" grounding before we get all nostalgic for Saddam.

The Iraqis seem content to press on with democracy without Saddam and paid a price in lives....... just like the Nazis did.

author by 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Projectpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Conscientious Objector Sgt. Camilo Mejia has been released from military prison after serving a nine-month sentence for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. The 28-year Sergeant applied for objector status after witnessing the killing of civilians and the abuse of detainees in Iraq. Upon his release Meija said "I certainly want to continue to lend my voice to the movement for Peace and Justice, of which I feel privileged to be a part."

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/22/1527225

author by 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Projectpublication date Thu Mar 03, 2005 17:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thousands of people seek asylum in Canada every year, but these were extraordinary exiles: They claimed to be refugees from the United States, soldiers no less, who deserted duty in Iraq and are taking a provocative stance against the nation they vowed to serve.

"I was willing to give my life. I received a Purple Heart for being injured in combat," said Darrell Anderson, 22, one of a handful of deserters who have surfaced here decrying the war and seeking protection as refugees. An Army Humvee gunner from Lexington, Ky., he spent seven months in Iraq before packing a duffel and fleeing while on leave earlier this year.

I'm going to be able to live the rest of my life with my head held up high, knowing I wasn't part of the killing of innocent people," he said on a recent night under a banner in the library that read: "Message From Canada, War Resisters Welcome Here."

.....

Nobody knows exactly how many deserters are here; at least six have gone public -- minuscule by any measure. But according to activists, attorneys and military counselors, there are other soldiers underground, and more who inquire about the drastic path every day.

Jeffry House, a Toronto lawyer and Vietnam draft dodger who represents five deserters, said he's had inquiries from more than 100 service members.

"If we are successful, you would find a fair number of soldiers who would be interested," he said.

Related Link: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0302-09.htm
author by 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Projectpublication date Thu Mar 03, 2005 17:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In what could be a troubling sign for the military, the active-duty Army missed its February recruiting goal by more than 27%. It was the first time in almost five years that the Army has failed to meet a monthly target.

The Army signed up 5,114 recruits in February, 1,936 fewer than its goal of 7,050. The last time the Army missed a monthly target was in May 2000.
.....

The active-duty Army needs to recruit 80,000 new soldiers this year - 3,000 more than last year - to replenish its ranks. Segal said he does not think the Army will achieve that goal.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20050303/pl_usatoday/armymissesrecruitinggoal

author by I_Am_A_Soldierpublication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 15:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

NTR. You Sir, and all who adopt your so-called "reasoning" are in my opinion, a nut bag 'flag-waving' patriot that makes me puke, justifying war and thinking it's humane. Stand behind your violence, lo, and see the wrath it has wraught!

I was a soldier. Technically, I still am. I woke up every day in Amerikkka with nausea. Near the end, handling 'blood-soaked' cocaine-stained dollar bills gave me the same feeling.

You are Right, Sir. Continue your violence. But please, limit your genocidal fantasies to your own people. Do not infect the rest of the world with tepid projections of your own inability.

author by 'Route Irish' to Sanctuary Projectpublication date Sat Mar 19, 2005 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On March 17, antiwar Washington DC activists unveiled a new strategy to stop the Iraq war by supporting GI resistance, discouraging recruitment, and deterring the draft. Cut off the supply of troops, stop the war!

http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/no_to_war_m17.mp3
audio: MP3 at 30.3 mebibytes

more info
http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/4058.php

author by NTRpublication date Thu Mar 31, 2005 23:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Extract:

In a written ruling released Thursday, the Immigration and Refugee Board said Jeremy Hinzman had not made a convincing argument that he faced persecution in the United States. Hinzman told demonstrators gathered at a rally after the decision that he could not remain in his home country.

"I had no other choice but to come here," Hinzman told supporters. "Canada has a history of being a haven for people of conscience and hopefully when this is all said and done that legacy can continue."

The board also denied asylum for Hinzman's wife and pre-school son.

"Removal to the U.S. would not subject them personally to a risk to their lives or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment," the board decided.

Related Link: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2005/03/24/971369-cp.html
author by redjadepublication date Wed Jun 08, 2005 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

AMY GOODMAN: Ryan Johnson, a war resister, spoke to us with his wife Jennifer in our studios at Democracy Now! here in New York, then headed north, crossed the border into Canada and is now in Toronto, where he joins us on the telephone. Ryan Johnson with us at the Catholic Worker house, also Rob Shearer, who is with Toronto Catholic Worker, part of a network that’s helping Ryan and soldiers like him to seek asylum in Canada. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Well, Ryan, how was your trip?

RYAN JOHNSON: It was great. I made it to Toronto, obviously. It's nice here.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get there?

RYAN JOHNSON: We took my car. We drove from California. We went across the -- just drove across the border.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you have any problems crossing the border?

RYAN JOHNSON: Not at all. We expected them to ask for I.D. and birth certificate, and they just asked us a few questions. We said, you know, we were going shopping. They were like, come on in. Went straight through.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you end up at the Toronto Catholic Worker?

RYAN JOHNSON: I was staying at someone else's house, and Jeremy Hinzman advised me to contact them because they might have a place for me to stay a little bit longer term than just couch surfing at different people's houses.

Download MP3
http://www.archive.org/download/dn2005-0607/dn2005-0607-1_64kb.mp3

Full Transcript:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/06/07/1334238

Catholic Worker
http://www.catholicworker.org

author by Cormac Eilepublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

NTR - good job of muddying the waters:

There is no such thing as a just war. WW2 was an unjust war. The defeat of the Nazis was justified. The fact that Hitler and his cohorts destroyed democracy in their own country, and then proceeded to murder their own people in their millions, while rampaging around Europe, North Africa, and the Atlantic was unjustified. Opposing it was not.

The WAR was not justified.

However, you cannot compare WW2 to this current Gulf War, which now threatens to expand even further. It will be interesting to see whether Israel manages to pull Iran into this conflict, as the Americans would dearly love. This current war is about Oil and control of a strategically critical part of the world. The US and UK policy of sustained instability in the Middle East is paramount, and they will oppose every effort to create stability, while publically pretending to be in favour of stability. Israel's response to the kidnapping of two soldiers is far beyond anything that could be expected as a reasonable response. It would seem a lot more likely that the prospect of a stable and prosperous Lebanon to their North was in conflict with the existing policy of sustained instability. Therefore, the Israeli response, as the local US Dogs of War, is to bomb Lebanese CIVILIAN infrastructure into the past.

As Irish people, we are facilitating these crimes by allowing the transport of war material through our airport. For all the reasons stated in my note, and by others on this page, most notably Sandra, this war is reprehensible, and has been replete with war crimes, including indiscriminate bombing of civilians, shootings, rapes, murders, child abuse, and torture. Any US soldier that wished to extract himself from this situation before being morally branded a war criminal and bringing further disgrace on his country and their armed forces, would be welcome in my home.

Any US serviceman who wishes to claim asylum in Ireland should simply walk away into the airport, or across the tarmac and present himself to official authorities. Of course, he should do it in front of civilian witnesses, because right now I wouldn't trust the Gardai or the Airport Police to follow the law, and at the very least allow him or her entry pending his asylum hearing.

author by Mr. T.publication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You say:

"However, you cannot compare WW2 to this current Gulf War, which now threatens to expand even further. It will be interesting to see whether Israel manages to pull Iran into this conflict, as the Americans would dearly love."

Since the start of this flare-up, Iran has been pulling the Hezbollah's strings via Syrian intervention. Iran is said to be responsible for funding virtually all of Hezbollah's terrorist operations - recently, Western diplomats and analysts in Lebanon estimated Hezbollah receives closer to $200 million a year from Iran.. Where do you think Hezbollah managed to get a hold of 200,000 Iranian missiles - did they just drop out of allah's arse? Of couse not - Iran and Syria have been and will always continue to pull Hezbollah's puppet strings.

Related Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13861912/
author by Caobhinpublication date Wed Jul 19, 2006 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great analysis there, staggering in it's originality - conversely;

Since the start of this flare-up, the US has been pulling the Israel's strings and is said to be responsible for funding virtually all of Israel's terrorist operations - Where do you think Israel managed to get a hold of it's arsenal - did it just drop out of jahweh's arse? Of couse not - the septics have been and will always continue to pull Israel's puppet strings.

author by Cormac Eilepublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Israel is the US proxy in the area. This is the sad thing about Imperialism. Divide and conquer makes victims of the minority who are "in control", and the majority who are "controlled" - in this case, the former is Israel, and the latter are the populations who suffer from Israel's extreme militarism.

A better name for Israel would be Is-Reich. It is a fascist state, and it is NOT a democracy.

Israel holds hundreds if not thousands of people in camps, without charge, without hope of a trial, and without any notion of when if ever they'll be released. Israel bombs and shoots indiscriminately. Israel deliberately and constantly prevents the growth of stability and prosperity in the region, unless it is by Israeli citizens for Israeli citizens.

Israel is every bit as Fascist as Nazi Germany, and Apartheid South Africa, and they've gone after their Liebensraum with as much ferocity and dedication as the Nazi's did in Eastern Europe.

author by Cormac Eilepublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr T. where on earth did you get this figure?

Mainstream media speaks of perhaps up to 13,000.

Also, if Iran was so determined to support them, they'd have supplied them with Anti-Aircraft missiles, to take away Israeli Air Superiority.

They'd also supply them with the new Iranian anti-ship missile that flies within feet of the ground, and is actually impossible to defend against.

I'm sure Iran supports them. But they're not supporting them enough to secure the victory that the Lebanese deserve against these Israeli aggressors.

author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You sure have some strong opinions about this conflict for someone who just yesterday didn't even know that Iran has been a key participant in Israeli-Hezbollah clashes since the very beginning.

It's also interesting that your keen research and analysis has positioned Apartheid on identical terms and scale with the Holocaust. I must have missed those learned papers that detailed how the Afrikaans rounded up millions of blacks, stripped them of all their belonging, confined them to squalid concentration camps where they either worked them to death or gassed them outright. The Afrikaans didn't want to kill the black Africans - they needed them as cheap labour and subjugated them to the lowest ranks of society. They certainly oppressed and committed individual acts of terror and atrocity but they did not plan no commit genocide. And neither have the Israelis unless you can provide some proof to the contrary.

These lame attempts at relativism do nothing to enhance your credibility or that of your cause.

author by Mr. T.publication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you're correct - I mistyped that - I meant 12,000 missiles.

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