Support The Troops- Support Joe Glenton

I got a press release today from some video sharing site called winkball (hmmm) which announced Gordon Brown was the latest ‘celeb’ to video a message of support ‘faces for the Forces campaign aims to collect a million messages of support for the troops serving in Afghanistan‘ there was also a list of celebs who had already done this, winkball also proclaim with a Union Jack ‘Made in Britain’, I can’t wait for their videos supporting UK oil exploration in Las Malvinas… Anyway this is some mischievous PR for war, it is not for example campaigning for better pay and conditions, or for lifelong aftercare for people who are tricked into killing by military training and then left to rot when the inevitable consequences of that play out over the rest of their lives. If you want to support a soldier who is both brave and takes his moral obligations seriously support Joe Glenton who will face a court martial on Friday the 5th of March-

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton was locked up in a military prison since 9th November until his release on the 9th December because of his stand against the war in Afghanistan.

At the last hearing Joe gave an undertaking: Not to contact any media agency directly or indirectly. If contacted directly or indirectly, must decline to comment, other than to say he may not by order of the Court Martial Not to appear at or lend support to any political meeting.

Joe gave this undertaking as since being locked up he has been diagnosed as suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He needs to be able to get proper treatment as it is evident that the Army have clearly not shown Joe a duty of care. It is therefore up to Joe to seek treatment for his PTSD if he is to be fit enough to face his Court Martial. Despite his request for treatment he has never been given any help from the Army.

The Ministry of Defence are worried about what Joe is saying and doing.They are determined to shut him up. The messages of support that Joe received when he was in Colchester Military jail inspired him and did not go unnoticed by the powers that be.

It is not possible for the court to stop other speaking out in favour of Joe’s stand against the war. Joe has made his position clear: The war in Afghanistan is illegal the methods employed in conducting the war are unlawful and he is not prepared to return to fight it. It is up to his supporters, which are many, to keep up the pressure and ensure that Joe’s stand against this war is raised as an important part of the resistance to Brown and his warmongers.

While Stop The War have called for a demo outside the court-

SUPPORT L/CPL JOE GLENTON
FRIDAY 5 MARCH 9.30AM
MILITARY COURT CENTRE
MERVILLE BARRACKS, OFF BUTT RD
COLCHESTER C027UT

I believe some useful action could be taken by writing to the Judge Advocate General regarding Joe and his case and telling them you support his stand and support a military that actually is as it professes to be- allows soldiers to refuse unlawful, unjust or immoral orders. This is the essence of a military that cannot be used for massive politically directed war crimes, following orders regardless is what allows any and all of the historic genocides, a democracy should not need mindlessly obedient troops, that is the characteristic of a tyranny. Do not fall for the military discipline red herring, this is not about the need for structure and effective action, this is about judging the serious issue of a war of aggression and soldiers being able to refuse to follow such orders thus starving political war criminals of the means to prosecute illegal wars. So, write a message and send a copy to each of the following addresses (you can also copy the message to the support address for Joe defendjoeglenton@gmail.com)-

The Office of the Judge Advocate General
9th Floor
Thomas More Building
London WC2A 2LL
Email

The Military Court Service
Building 59
Trenchard Lines
Upavon
Pewsey
Wilts SN9 6BE
Email

Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth
Floor 5, Main Building,
Whitehall, London,
SW1A 2HB
Email or Email

Write what you like, here are some ideas, mine is in comments-

War Resistors– I am very concerned about the arrest of Lance Corporal Joe Glenton on charges of “disobeying a lawful order” for speaking at an anti-war demonstration and to the media, expressing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

The human rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression are protected both under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and under the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which have been ratified by the United Kingdom. When speaking at an anti-war demonstration in London on 24 October, and to the media, Joe Glenton made use of his right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of expression.

The restrictions of these rights as enshrined in the UK Armed Forces Act 2008 are in violation of both, the ICCPR and the ECHR, in as much as they are not “necessary in a democratic society”. In expressing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, Joe Glenton did not reveal “operational secrets” or any other sensitive information – he expressed his personal political opinion, which is his protected human right. Not Joe Glenton’s actions were unlawful, but the orders given to him.

I therefore call on you to drop all charges against Joe Glenton, and to immediately release him from prison. I urge you to respect human rights.
Lance/Corporal, Royal Logistics Corps.

Joe’s letter to Gordon Brown-

I am writing to you as a serving soldier in the British Army to express my views and concerns on the current conflict in Afghanistan.

It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy.

I believe this unethical short-changing of such proud men and women has caused immeasurable suffering not only to families of British service personnel who have been killed and injured, but also to the noble people of Afghanistan.

I have seen qualities in the Afghan people which have also been for so long apparent and admired in the British soldier. Qualities of robustness, humour, utter determination and unwillingness to take a step backwards.

However, it is these qualities, on both sides, which I fear will continue to cause a state of attrition. These will only lead to more heartbreak within both our societies.

I am not a general nor am I a politician and I cannot claim any mastery of strategy. However, I am a soldier who has served in Afghanistan, which has given me some small insight.

I believe that when British military personnel submit themselves to the service of the nation and put their bodies into harm’s way, the government that sends them into battle is obliged to ensure that the cause is just and right, i.e. for the protection of life and liberty.

The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there.

I do not believe that our cause in Afghanistan is just or right. I implore you, Sir, to bring our soldiers home.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Glenton

Afghanistan Top Ten

Afghanistan: Ten reasons to resist By Courage to Resist.

  1. Like Iraq, it is also illegal
  2. No military solution to terrorism
  3. Funds used for war are needed at home
  4. Civilian casualties are not acceptable
  5. War is not good for women in Afghanistan
  6. Support the troops: Bring them home now
  7. Torture and human rights abuses
  8. Climate change and resource wars
  9. War destabilizes Afghanistan and the region
  10. Respect Afghani self-determination; No to global military intervention

1- Like Iraq, it is also illegal

According to international law experts, the invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is as illegal as the US presence in Iraq. The United Nations Charter mandates that military force against another country is only justified when used in self-defense or authorized by the UN Security Council. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W Bush sought an authorization from the UN Security Council to use military force in Afghanistan. The UN resolutions that were passed in response—resolutions 1368 and 1373—never actually authorized military force, but rather, authorized the criminalization and prevention of terrorist activities. Contrary to popular perception, the Bush Administration unfolded an open-ended military operation in Afghanistan with no legal justification for doing so. The administration of Barack Obama is building on this flawed foundation in its continuance and escalation of the war.

“The invasion of Afghanistan was not legitimate self-defense under article 51 of the UN charter because the attacks on September 11, 2001 were criminal attacks, not “armed attacks” by another country. Afghanistan did not attack the United States. In fact, 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.”
—Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild

2- No military solution to terrorism

There can be no military solution to terrorism. This is because “terrorism” is a tactic that is not tied to any specific place. By pursuing the ever-elusive “terrorist” enemy, the US has waged an open-ended war of attrition in Afghanistan. This occupation breeds the discontent that gives rise to “terrorism” in the first place and has had the effect of bringing forward local opposition to the occupation.

Read the rest of this entry »

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US Vets To Obama- Don’t Escalate

Sign the petition here @ Rethink Afghanistan

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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
Time:
17:00 – 18:00
Location:
Ministry of Defence, Whitehall

And please write-

Email: Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth: defencesecretary@mod.uk or ainsworthr@parliament.uk
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: defendjoeglenton@gmail.com

Update:

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

Eloquent Protest IV

Cyrus Thatcher was a teenager from Reading who joked that his atrocious spelling was typical of a young infantryman. Yet this Remembrance Sunday his words will echo out across a West End theatre alongside those of the noted poet Wilfred Owen – another soldier who died in battle.

Actor Jason Isaacs, famed for his roles in the Harry Potter films, will be reading out Rifleman Thatcher’s letters at Eloquent Protest – a powerful piece of theatre fusing poetry, music and drama to honour the fallen.

The actor, who worked extensively with soldiers while filming Paul Greengrass’s thriller Green Zone alongside Matt Damon recently, said he had developed a nuanced understanding and enormous respect for the men and women of the forces and their pride in putting their training into action. But he said it was also important to remember the toll war took on those coming home. Among others appearing will be actor Sam West, who will be reading Wilfred Owen’s “Futility”, and former SAS soldier Ben Griffin, who will be reading Siegfried Sassoon’s, “A Soldier’s Declaration”.

8 November at Duke of York’s Theatre in London. Proceeds from the £18 tickets will go to the Mark Wright Project, set up in honour of the 27-year-old Corporal from the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, who was killed when British forces first went into Helmand in 2006 to help ex-servicemen and women overcome the mental wounds of war.

PDF with more details and full cast, good to see Ben Griffin is involved even if he can’t use his own words.

Demonstrate 24 October: Bring the troops home from Afghanistan

Assemble 12 noon Hyde Park: March to Trafalgar Square
Called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and BMI
The march will be lead by anti-war military families & soldiers
Speakers include: Tariq Ali, Peter Brierley, who recently refused to shake Tony Blair’s hand because it had his son blood on it; Lance Cpl Joe Glenton, serving soldier facing court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan; George Galloway MP; musician and poet Lowkey. Acclaimed songwriter Robb Johnson has written North West Frontier in support of the campaign to get the troops out of Afghanistan. It’s Stop the War’s song of the week and Robb will be attending Saturday’s rally, as will rapper Lowkey and the King Blues band.

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Resistor’s Gulag

The Empire (read Dave Dubya list its many elusive qualities) determines life or death, trial or life imprisonment, not just for those in Gitmo, but you’re only a living saintly troop while you obey mechanically. As the Democrats pass war and neoliberal continuity measures, imperialism the only true value.

Courage To Resist:- At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, AWOL soldiers find themselves detained for months under difficult conditions in an extended legal limbo they cannot escape.

Dustin Stevens is one of about 50 soldiers being held at Fort Bragg awaiting likely AWOL and desertion charges that seem like they will never arrive, he says. A former soldier who refused to continue military service seven years ago because he did not want to fight a war, Stevens says that he and his colleagues are being held in legal limbo – a no man’s land of poor living standards and arbitrary punishments – while awaiting charges and possible court-martial.

Stevens has been in a holdover unit for five months without charges, and he says that others have been held for up to a year in conditions he describes as harrowing.

The unit is overcrowded and filthy, he says, with four people to a room. The command verbally abuses the soldiers, with one commanding officer proclaiming, “We should just shoot you all,” according to Stevens. Troops are not receiving the medical and mental health care they need. “People around me are literally going crazy. I hear people threaten suicide on a daily basis,” says Stevens. “They won’t give us leave passes unless it’s a dire emergency, so we’re just sitting here, day by day.”

The command offered the soldiers a free pass if they agreed to deploy to Afghanistan, according to Stevens. About ten people took up the offer, he says. Those who decline must find a way to endure.