Canada deports U.S. army deserter


Globe and Mail Update

July 15, 2008 at 5:40 PM EDT

VANCOUVER — U.S. army deserter Robin Long was quietly deported from Canada Tuesday morning, while protesters unaware of his whereabouts picketed the Canada-U.S. border crossing south of Vancouver.

“I can confirm that the removal took place but the Privacy Act prevents any discussion of the specifics of the case,” Shakila Manzoor, a spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, said today in an interview.

She declined to say at what time he was sent back, where he crossed the border or who received him.

A small group of supporters gathered early Tuesday morning at the Peace Arch border crossing, about an hour south of downtown Vancouver, for a symbolic protest against the deportation.

“This is about international human rights,” Sarah Bjorknas, coordinator of the Vancouver War Resisters Support Campaign, said in an interview.

“Why do we want to wait until people commit war crimes and then prosecute them instead of providing sanctuary for those who say this is what is happening, and we don't want it to happen and refuse to participate in it,” she said. “That's a backward way of running anything, to say we cannot stop atrocities, we would rather wait until it happens and then prosecute people for it.”

Ms. Bjorknas said the support group would like to ensure that Mr. Long is the last deserter to be sent back to the U.S.

“These are people who are clearly intent on not allowing this to happen again,” she said. “They will be calling on the [federal] government and the [Canada Border Services Agency] to account for what has happened.”

“The majority of elected officials in the country and the majority of Canadians who have been polled over and over again support a safe haven for war resisters. For the government to say nothing, do nothing shows a lack of morals,” she said.

Ms. Bjorknas also said Mr. Long should have been given more time to exhaust all appeals.

Mr. Long would most likely be returned to military control on the base from where he fled, Lt. Col George Wright, acting deputy director for U.S. Army Public Affairs, said in an interview from Washington, D.C.

Mr. Long would be confined to the base and advised of his rights to due process, including his right to a lawyer. Disciplinary actions would be at the discretion of his commander, who has a wide range of administrative, non-judicial and judicial options from counselling to dishonourable discharge and a prison sentence.

Desertion in the army is not as huge a problem as it has been portrayed by some organizations that assist soldiers who have deserted, Lt. Col Wright stated in an e-mail sent earlier to The Globe and Mail.

Less than one per cent of U.S. troops desert and most soldiers desert as a result of personal, family or financial problems, he said. Historically more than 80 per cent have served fewer than 36 months, he said.

Desertion continues to primarily affect our most junior troops, with approximately 76 per cent of the 4,698 deserters in 2007 being first-term soldiers, according to a preliminary review, Lt. Col. Wright said.

Madam Justice Anne Mactavish of the Federal Court of Canada cleared the way for Mr. Long's deportation late Monday, dismissing a last-ditch attempt to delay the process while the 25-year-old pursued further appeals.

Mr. Long, who fled to Ontario in 2005, had signed up to join the U.S. Army in July, 2003. Though he initially felt his country's war in Iraq was justified, he became troubled by his experience and said he wouldn't participate in what he believed were war crimes, his lawyer said.


Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre in the Globe and Mail

Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa, Canada wrote:

Canadian Judges make political not legal decisions. Harper's republican puppet government makes it quite clear that it's all the way with George W. Bush in just the same way as Australia famously went all the way with L.B.J. and so started the beginning of the end of that government.
Sending Mr. Long back to the USA is an indication that Canada is effectively another state of the USA and subservient to American dictates. That has a very bad odour of rotting "values" where Canadian Citizenship means little if a judge decides to make a political decision and deport you. Khadr was deported on an American whim on dubious evidence that was "politically interpreted" and a legal decision made to do indirectly what Harper's government knew was wrong directly.
Again, Border services quietly picked up Mr. Long and no doubt it was on Harpers spoken or unspoken clear instructions from those who know exactly what the goals of the government of the day are.
Canada's judiciary is increasingly taking on the role of a puppet court that makes political decisions. Take Canada's "war on men" which means Canada has a policy of "male gender apartheid. Any father who seeks to enforce his child's right to a relationship with him now runs a very real risk of being effectively DEPORTED! even if he is a Canadian citizen. Dead Beat Family Court Judges in Ontario do it by issuing "Life time restraining orders" that ban fathers from complete cities, provinces and by "orders for costs" and "vexatious litigant orders" made to enforce orders for child support for which the income did not exist, mean Canadian fathers face repeated endless periods of incarceration or voluntary deportation. Its happening every day. Canada is a country where the Rule of Law has no meaning except for the purposes of political abuse using judges willing to prostitute their values for political purposes by flagrantly abusing their judicial powers for political purposes.

Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa, Canada) wrote: Congratulations Robin Long you made a stand. Its a lot harder to make a decision of conscience that goes 'against the political flow". How could all those American's be wrong? You might as well ask "how could all those Germans have been wrong during WW2. How could all those Nazi Judges have made all those politically correct decisions to send all those politically incorrect , the wrong religion off to concentration camps? Who stood up for their rights prior to WW2?
The Americans at the time made a political decision "not to become involved" and made it difficult for Jews to enter the United States.
American foreign policy conscientious objector.
Conscientious Objectors need medals of recognition, not condemnation by the far right rednecks. Conscientious Objectors have something rare, "a conscience", they use their powers of logical reasoning to decide a moral dilemma and at least they had the courage to make the decision to consider their obligation to society and humanity not to do as their government ordered. They are true heroes to be respected. I sincerely hope that Robin Long one day earns the recognition for his courage he has displayed. Shame Harper Shame. Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: American Conscientious objectors be advised that our puppet republican prime minister does NOT speak for all Canadians. Harper does not stand for the rule of law or respect for the fact that Canada has a responsibility to Canadians and the world to support anyone who conscientiously objects to their countries participation in war crimes.
The fact that George Bush fabricated evidence to invade Iraq is something that many Canadians are ashamed of Harpers directions to boot out conscientious objectors.
If you are a conscientious objector, you will find a great many Canadians willing to assist you. If you are smart, you will defer any application for official recognition in Canada until we have a change in government. There is no point in being a sacrificial lamb. Just wait till we get rid of our puppet republican prime minister who rubber stamps any outragious act of our war mongering neigbours.