Sanctuary for war resister: Rodney Watson takes refuge in Vancouver church

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Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture
Sanctuary for war resister: Rodney Watson takes refuge in Vancouver church

 

Sanctuary for war resister: Rodney Watson takes refuge in Vancouver church

October 22, 2009 | By Krystalline Kraus  |  http://www.rabble.ca||

 

The case of Rodney Watson

The latest flashpoint in the battle to keep war resisters in Canada has been the case of Rodney Watson who on Monday October 19, 2009, decided to seek sanctuary in a B.C. church rather than face deportation to the United States to face desertion charges. Watson, who is originally from Kansas City, Kansas, enlisted in the US Army in 2004 for a three-year contract with the intentions of becoming a cook since he wanted to serve the troops in a non-combat capacity.

 

 

In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq just north of Mosul, where he was put in charge of searching vehicles and Iraqi civilians for explosives, contraband and weapons before they entered the base. He was also expected to "keep the peace" by monitoring Iraqi civilians who worked on the base and fire his weapon at Iraqi children who approached the perimeter. 

 

 

Full Article: http://www.rabble.ca/news/2009/10/sanctuary-war-resister-rodney-watson-t...

remind remind's picture

He was interviewed yesterday on CBC Radio 1, here in BC, at least.

Was interesting hearing his accounts.

 

E.Tamaran

Did he join the military after 9/11 but before Iraq?

remind remind's picture

From what I gathered, from his interview, he was recruited for the kitchen staffing for the Iraq conflict, only to find himself, gun in hand, pointing it at a Iraqis child's head.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

Tamaran,
Watson enlisted in 2004 and wanted to serve the troops, but in a non-combat role. When he spoke with recruitment, he enlisted under the impression that he would serve the troops in the capasity of a cook (I don't know what his offical MOS was). He knew and agreed to be deployed to Iraq but once arrived, was told his duties would radically change. After serving his time, he was Stop-Lossed as the article explains.

Stargazer

I feel so bad for these resisters. The Conservatives, despite the majority of Canadians stating they want them to stay, are not listening. Then they have to deal with the animosity from people who think they deserve what they got and should be deported. On top of that many have been here for long enough to form close bonds and even start families.It would be cruel to send them back.

 

What else can we do statica, I've written Mps, and even Harper. What do you think would help in this cause that has a good chance of working? The MSM appears to pretty much forget them.

I think it owuld be great if the MSM would actually call it like it is and point out that this is a backdoor draft. These people have no choice but to complete endless "tours of duty". How is that voluntary when they did not sign up to be indefinate cannon fodder? (That was rhetorical)

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

 

Stargzer, one of the reasons I love rabble.ca so much is because I continually see the contrast between what the MSM writes about a story - the huge gaps in content and context - and the information that rabble.ca provides to its readers...which is one of the reasons why Derrick and I connected so I could write this peace about rodney's situation (cuz the MSM left out so much)

Three things are important right now:

 

1: There is a current fundraiser campaign going on. All these legal challenges to stop deportations gets pretty expensive, so if you can or can't at this time, still let people know about the fundraising drive. The legal work is so necessary right now and Alyssa Manning has been just wonderful in her legal arguments (seriously, she restores my faith in humanity!) .

Check this link for more deets: http://wmtc.blogspot.com/2009/10/now-more-than-ever.html

 

2: Support Rodney Watson!

Read this: http://www.rabble.ca/news/2009/10/sanctuary-war-resister-rodney-watson-takes-refuge-vancouver-church

Wanna send him encouraging emails, write here!: info@vancouverwarresisters.org

 

3: Watch for news around Gerard Kennedy's Private Member's Bill that was introduced in the House of Commons on Sept. 17.

Please see the media release belowl

 

 

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 17, 2009

 

Private Member's Bill to be introduced

in support of U.S. Iraq War resisters

OTTAWA-On Thursday, September 17, Toronto Member of Parliament Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-

High Park), is expected to introduce a private Member's bill in the House of Commons that, if passed, would allow U.S. Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada. The war resisters are U.S. military personnel who have refused to participate in the illegal and immoral Iraq War.

 

The bill, which will be seconded by Vancouver Member of Parliament Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas), will make binding on the government the direction that Parliament has already given twice (on June 3, 2008 and March 30, 2009) by way of motions that resulted from studies of the issue by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM).

 

"It is time that the current government of Canada reflected Canadians' desire to allow war resisters to stay and contribute to our country", said Gerard Kennedy, MP. "This law will simply compel them to do what they haven't had the good graces or the good sense to do on their own - and recognize the special circumstances that strike a chord with the majority of Canadians." "Canada's Parliament has already voted twice to allow these courageous men and women to stay," said Bill Siksay, MP. "Canadians have never supported the Iraq war.

 

This bill reflects the significant support for Iraq War resisters that can be found in every part of our country."

The introduction of this private Member's bill comes at a time when several U.S. Iraq War resisters are threatened with deportation. Two others, Robin Long and Cliff Cornell who both lived in British Columbia, have already been deported to the U.S. where they were court-martialed and jailed as prisoners of conscience for their opposition to the Iraq War.

 

The felony-equivalent convictions given to Iraq War resisters who have been sent back to the U.S. by the Canadian government will result in lifelong punishment such as the loss of the right to vote in many states and severely limited chances for employment.

"We are hopeful that this bill will succeed in achieving what should have been done a long time ago," said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign.

 

"Iraq War resisters have done the right thing, and Canadians have welcomed them with open arms. The Conservative government is out of step with the majority sentiment in this country, intent on imposing its own minority view. Canadians want to have their voices heard through this very important bill."

 

A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies in June 2008 found widespread approval (64 per cent) for Parliament's initial vote directing the minority Harper government to immediately stop deporting Iraq War resisters and create a program to facilitate the resisters' requests for permanent resident status.

 

-30-

 

For further information, please contact:

Michelle Robidoux, Spokesperson, War Resisters Support Campaign, 416-856-5008; or

Ken Marciniec, Communications Volunteer, War Resister Support Campaign, 416-803-6066, kmarciniec@sympatico.ca or Brett Thalmann, Legislative Assistant, Office of Gerard Kennedy, MP, 613-992-2936, 613-762-8542; or Office of Bill Siksay, MP, 613-996-5597.

remind remind's picture

Thanks for all  of this statica, but really for me the reality comes down to this:

Quote:
The felony-equivalent convictions given to Iraq War resisters who have been sent back to the U.S. by the Canadian government will result in lifelong punishment such as the loss of the right to vote in many states and severely limited chances for employment.

 

What does all this say?

Where is their freedom of conscience?

Their country's government lied, to them, and indeed to the entire country's peoples.

Their personal lives should be destroyed, because they refuse(d) to be complicit in the lies and the crimes against humanity being committed?

 

No state should have the right to take the right to vote away from any of it's citizens. For any reason,.

 

They are being compelled to give their lives into the service of another. Full stop.

 

 

E.Tamaran

My opinion is that anyone who joined the US Army after it was revealed that the Iraq War was built on a lie is either pretty stupid or nihilistic. Sorry, this guy doesn't sound stupid; he's actually quite articulate. So he knows the US government tells big lies, but he thought they were being honest when he was promised that he'd be just a cook in Iraq? What a joke. The troops eat MREs in the field, and the camps have civilian cooks (contractors from Dick Cheney's Haliburton),  so there's no need for a cooks anyway. What the US Army really needs are infantrymen. And that's him with a big bullseye on his forehead.

remind remind's picture

Employers are not allowed to change job descriptions, after you took the job, and then tie you into it.

 

It is compelling people to give their body into the service of another, in this case, the people of the USA, whom the State represents.

 

It is against Canadian human rights, and others would  name it for what it is, slavery.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

also, the issue of Stop Loss dispells the myth that the US Forces are an all-voluntary affair.

Stargazer

First thanks statica for the links and the press info.

Remind, the quote you quoted was exactly what bothered me as well.

Tamaran - the reasons you listed are far from being inclusive. Sure some join the army to fight, but those that really believe in the war would never be war resisters would they?  Army recruiters prey on young and the poor. Americans are brainwashed from the time they are in diapers to accept that the State is the ultimate authority - That to question authority is wrong. I have deep empathy for these men and women who chose to escape and come to Canada.

Read up on Stop Loss as statica suggested or read some of the information at http://www.resisters.ca

Good job on the website!

 

Bacchus

Stop loss and the ability to change your job description is actually IN the contract you sign when you join.

Other than thay webgear makes an excellant point

Webgear

Quote:

He was also expected to "keep the peace" by monitoring Iraqi civilians who worked on the base and fire his weapon at Iraqi children who approached the perimeter

Full Article: http://www.rabble.ca/news/2009/10/sanctuary-war-resister-rodney-watson-takes-refuge-vancouver-church

Is anyone concerned about this fact/statement?

Is this act not against the Law of Armed Conflict or the Uniform Code of Military Justice?

 

 

Webgear

 

Should a Canadian investigation be conducted about this individual's actions while deployed in Iraq?

Frmrsldr

Webgear wrote:

Should a Canadian investigation be conducted about this individual's actions while deployed in Iraq?

I say, "Bring it on!" If he did not shoot any children or commit any human rights violations, crimes or war crimes, then he is exonorated. If he did, not only is he guilty, the guilt (as you well know) goes up the chain of command, right up to the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Let's put the illegal Iraq and Afghan wars on trial!

E.Tamaran

He willingly joined a military force engaged in a brutal occupation of a foreign country. That occupation was built on lies that had been exposed by the time of his joining, so we can only conclude that he wanted to go to Iraq for reasons other than benevolence. The fact he was a willing part of the occupation should earn him a spot along the wall, regarless of what he actually did there.

 

 

PS. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powel, Rice, Fox News, The New York Times, and 51% of the American electorate also deserve to be lined up against the wall.

Frmrsldr

E.Tamaran wrote:

He willingly joined a military force engaged in a brutal occupation of a foreign country. That occupation was built on lies that had been exposed by the time of his joining, so we can only conclude that he wanted to go to Iraq for reasons other than benevolence. The fact he was a willing part of the occupation should earn him a spot along the wall, regarless of what he actually did there.

Two points:

1) Does mainstream media refer to the Afghan and Iraq wars as illegal, immoral, unjust, brutal invasions and occupations? Do they show the killing, injuring and destroying? Do they report the truth of what goes on in Afghanistan?

The only way you can know the truth about these wars is if you search for it. Most Canadians, even today, think Afghanistan is a U.N. peacekeeping (lovey-dovey) "mission".

Even though I discussed at length with a MCPL Army buddy of mine, the truth of what was going on in Afghanistan, he still signed for a tour of duty. This was the Canadian Army Reserve, where one can choose to do a tour or not. His reasoning: He mentioned the names of other soldiers we knew in our unit and said he was going because they were there. I told him this was no justification and reminded him of the old axiom: "Just because your friends are jumping off a bridge, doesn't mean you have to". He went anyway. A victim of the immense pressure the military (even the Reserves) to conform and obey puts on its members.

2) Military recruiters in the U.S.A. and Canada specifically target depressed cities and poor neighborhoods. If Rodney joined the military because it was either the only job he could get or the best job (out of very dismal other jobs) - keep in mind, recruiters "sell" the military by offering good pay, three square meals a day, a roof above your head, a bed to sleep in at night, clothing, education and training on equipment that will provide a good job when one returns to the civilian world and free medical and dental care coverage in the U.S. - then he was the victim of what is called "economc conscription".

Frmrsldr