Anti War Soldier Arrested For Speaking Out

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, the soldier who faces desertion charges for refusing to return to Afghanistan, has been arrested and charged with five further offences for speaking out in opposition to the presence of troops in Afghanistan.
The charges allege that he led the Stop the War demonstration in London on 24 October and that he has spoken to the press in defiance of orders. The new charges carry a maximum of ten years imprisonment in addition to the sentence of three to four years that Joe could get if the desertion charge is upheld.

The army commanders are clearly worried by Joe’s determination to explain his stance against the war in Afghanistan. Following his presence on the anti-war demonstration many of his fellow soldiers told him they agreed with what he was doing.

Lance Corporal Glenton remains determined in his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, notwithstanding the attempts to silence him. Stop the War will be campaigning for Joe’s immediate release and an end to attempts to curtail his freedom of speech.

“This is not about breach of military regulations,” said Stop the War convenor Lindsey German. “In the last few days a range of military personnel have been speaking in the media in defence of this appalling war. I doubt any of them have been arrested. This is about the persecution of a soldier who believes in telling the truth in accordance with his conscience. He is saying what the majority of the population believe; this war is unwinnable and immoral. The anti-war movement will be doing everything possible to get Joe released.

There is also a Facebook page and details of a protest
Thursday, 12 November 2009
17:00 – 18:00
Ministry of Defence, Whitehall

And please write-

Email: Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth: or
Write: Secretary of State for Defence, Floor 5, Main Building, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB • FAX: 020 7218 6538
Petition: Download the Defend Joe Glenton petition…
Messages of Support:


Support is flooding in for Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who has been arrested and charged for speaking out against the war in Afghanistan.

The following message has been received from Malalai Joya, the Afghan MP who has been called “the bravest women in Afghanistan”, and who has received numerous international awards for her defence of human rights:

“Dear Joe, Stay strong! The majority of the Afghan people are with you and we respect and admire the stand you have taken. When there is no justice, it is better for honest people to go even to jail rather than go to war. Down with the occupation. I send you my warmest greetings and solidarity.” – Malalai Joya

Joe Glenton’s mother, Sue Glenton, has highlighted the hypocrisy in the silencing of her son:

“You’ve got government ministers, army commanders and MPs speaking every day in support of the war. What’s so scary about a lance corporal having his say? My son is only speaking out for what he thinks is right.” – Sue Glenton


2 Responses to “Anti War Soldier Arrested For Speaking Out”

  1. Bina Says:

    Following his presence on the anti-war demonstration many of his fellow soldiers told him they agreed with what he was doing.

    Ah. That’s the REAL problem here, isn’t it. Not desertion; not that he’s making political statements while still officially in the army. It’s that he’s showing his face in public, and saying things that many others in uniform privately agree with–enough, no doubt, to seriously paralyze the war machine if they were to organize.

    In the documentary “Sir! No Sir!”, about the US in Vietnam, Navy nurse Susan Schnall attended an anti-war protest in uniform and was arrested for it. Her position was simple: If Gen. Westmoreland could wear HIS uniform while speaking to Congress in favor of the war, she should surely be allowed to wear hers while speaking to her fellow citizens against it. Of course, the double standard was plain to see: uniformed military personnel could only make political statements in uniform if they were the “right” kind of statements–ones aimed at getting people to join the war, not reject it.

    In the end, so many US militaries deserted (the Pentagon logged over half a million of them–that’s ten times the number killed in action) that it DID paralyze the war effort, and forced Gerald Ford’s hand. He pulled them out of ‘Nam in ’75.

    Different time, different country–but still the same old thing at the bottom of it all. And if these military “deserters”–or should we say, peace-patriots?–build up a critical mass, it will end the same way as ‘Nam did all those years ago. You can’t make a war if no one wants to fight it anymore.

  2. RickB Says:

    Hey Bina, Yes I would say because of that our militaries are acutely concerned with media operations more than ever. Although I doubt a strike would occur in the UK army, 30 years of neoliberalism plus martial culture works wonders! But by that same token that means true dissatisfaction is being hidden by the rank and file, and coming down hard on Joe Glenton is a ‘terrorist’ action to frighten others into obedience in a war that like Iraq only our ruling classes have any real reasons for.

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