Thursday, June 22, 2006

Peace Has No Borders

A Rally in Support of Iraq War Resisters AWOL in Canada
Peace Has No Border Festival in support of AWOL War Resisters residing in Canada
Click Image to watch the video 14 min 23 mgs
Here's a Bandwidth Challeged Version 4 mgs

Featuring Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Iraq Veterans Against the War
& AWOL Vets Against the War.

Related Links ::: Peace Has No Borders, War Resisters CA, GI Rights Hotline,
Jeremy Hinzman, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Miss Sheehan Has Arrived!

AWOL Interview Videos ::: Ryan Johnson, Christopher Mogwai, Darrell Anderson, Ehren Watada, Anonymous, Patrick & Jill Hart , Christian Care

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The soldiers are standing firm against these illegal wars. Now we need civilians to do the same. We must stand against the caging of protestors. We must stand against the gov't forcing book outlets to stop stocking books like "America Deceived" by E.A. Blayre III. We must stand against NSA wire-tapping. We must stand against this corrupt gov't.
Support indy media.
Last link (before Google Books caves):

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your work.

We stood side by side at the border as we were both being checked out by the scions of empire.

Thanks for the pics. I'm the guy with the banner. You're the guy with the footage. We're the folk making our small statements in any way we can.

Eliminate the Warfare State

8:27 PM  
Blogger Citisucks said...

Good job and keep fighting the facist corporate terrorists. The reason so many civilians don't care is because they are corporate terrorists who don't have to fight the "war on dissent, poor people, and non-white people" and don't have to send their children to do so either. There should be a mandatory draft for rich white people if the "war on dissent, poor people, and non-white people" is to continue.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous susan said...

A very good step to fight for what is the truth. I firmly support you guys. And thanks for giving me courage not to be afraid to voice out what is right.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great banner, anon! I am so proud of all those speaking out against the Bushistas. As a persistent anti-Bushite for six years now, it is gratifying to see the sh*t abundantly hit the fan for Georgie. Fervently believe, his TIME (magazine cover) will come, with the caption: "Convicted of Crimes against Humanity"!!

2:02 PM  
Anonymous RidersUnion said...


Combat, family stress bring soldier to desert
Staff Writer

Early December 2007:

Keller family photo
Sgt. Allen Robert 'Robby' Keller with wife Michaelagh, daughter Avah and new son Grai born Christmas day.

In the midst of a desperate firefight in Iraq, as shots ricocheted around him, Sgt. Allen Robert "Robby" Keller IV froze for a moment. Any soldier knows that can be a death sentence.

The 23-year-old had enlisted at 19 "to get on a good financial foot for college." For months before that terrible instant of immobility, his combat stress had led to sleeplessness, nightmares and loss of appetite. He was wracked with worry about his wife, Michaelagh, at home having problems with her second pregnancy.

For the first time in his four-year military career, during his second deployment, Keller was losing control, having an emotional breakdown.

He made it safely out of the streets and sought help. He was soon going to be headed home on leave to Holly Hill. He had "aid from the combat stress people" in the form of medication, and surely everything would be OK.

While Keller was on leave, his wife went into early labor, and on Christmas Day she had her baby boy in Canada, her native land.

Keller family photo

Keller was supposed to be away from his post for only a few weeks, but on Dec. 26 things changed.

That's when Keller went absent without leave.

He hasn't returned to his unit, and as of today he remains in Canada and will be dropped from the rolls at Fort Drum, N.Y., as a deserter and a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Last year 4,698 soldiers deserted the Army, a number that has grown steadily. The number is more than 80 percent above the count for 2003, during the start of the Iraq War.

The Department of Defense said approximately 76 percent of the 2007 deserters were first-term soldiers.

"Desertion in the Army isn't the huge problem as it has been portrayed by some organizations that assist soldiers who have deserted or by some of the soldiers themselves," said Lt. Col. George Wright, spokesman for the Army. "The vast majority of American soldiers serve their country admirably and honorably. On average, the number of soldiers who desert is less than 1 percent."

Although Keller doesn't fit the "first-term" profile, Wright said military studies show most soldiers desert because of personal, family or financial problems, not for political or conscientious objector purposes.

Keller family photo
Keller photo album.

Keller's reasons are related to combat and to his family.

During his first yearlong deployment, Keller said his battalion lost only a few soldiers. But his second time in Iraq didn't go as well.

"This time we lost eight and one to suicide, and the amount of contact has been higher, a lot of casualties, and one of my buddies is paralyzed," said Keller, a sniper team leader. Keller was interviewed for this story by phone and by e-mail.

Then came his breakdown in the field. He sought medical help and applied for an early leave.

"The night I came home in early December, my wife went right into early labor. We went to the hospital in New York. She was only 33 weeks, so they stopped the labor and gave her meds," Keller said.

The couple spent some of Keller's leave time together in Volusia County, where he grew up, where the couple married and where most of his family lives.

"My wife wanted to be closer to her family and did not want to be in the States. I really wanted the baby born in the States, but at this time nothing was going my way, so I followed her up to Canada," Keller said.

On Christmas Eve, Michaelagh went into labor again. At 6:01 Christmas morning, Grai Jacob William Keller was born.

On Christmas night, Keller heard from his commander with orders to get on the plane and head back to Iraq.

"I was to leave at 5 a.m. in the morning. My commander told me that there was too much going on in Iraq at this time to settle my problem right now and that they would want me to come back and fix it there," he said.

"I know what they have to offer there and there's nothing to fix me over there, so after spending two days in the hospital with my wife and son, I made up my mind that I was not going back. I was staying to be with my family. No matter what."

At Fort Drum, Keller's stateside base, public affairs spokesman Benjamin Able said that if a soldier needs help, "we cannot help if you are not here."

He said it's a "soldier's responsibility to be at his place of duty," and if not, he is breaking the law.

Keller knows this. "So now I'm AWOL and on the run, but to me it is worth it 100 percent," he said. "I've done my time. I fought the battles and continue to do so every time I fall asleep."

What happens next, according to the Department of Defense, is not much of anything, other than the warrant issued for Keller's arrest.

"We do not actively look for deserters, but they can be returned to military control by civilian law enforcement," Wright said. "This normally happens when police check the identification during a traffic stop."

He said the "maximum punishment for desertion in a time of war is death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct." No recent deserters have received the maximum punishment and such a sentence would be unlikely, he said.

Keller said this has not been an easy decision, but he believes in his choice.

"I've suppressed my issues and as long as I'm awake, I seem to be fine. After much struggle, when I can finally fall asleep, I have hideous dreams that are so real. My wife can't sleep in the same bed as me. . . . My dreams bring me back to Iraq every night," Keller said.

He said he's even spoken to his commander a few times by phone since his desertion.

"My commander knows me as a person," he said. "We have talked several times before and I had even seen him before I left Iraq to tell him about my issues a bit, so this was not a fully new issue to him. At this time I'm doing the right thing."

Canada a haven for U.S. deserters

* An estimated 90 percent of nearly 100,000 draft and military resisters during the Vietnam War went to Canada.
* Canadian law has changed from the welcoming Vietnam era; now would-be-immigrants have to apply for residency and convince a Canadian immigration board they are refugees.
* Jeffry House, a Toronto lawyer and Vietnam draft dodger who represents deserters, reported receiving 100 inquiries from service members in 2005.
* Military deserters publicly embraced new lives in Canada, supported by a visit from "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan in 2006. She said she wished the son she lost in Iraq was among them.

SOURCES: Compiled by Audrey Parente from;; New York Newsday; Washington Post

Penalty for AWOL, desertion

* Commanders have discretion to retain and rehabilitate, administratively separate, or court-martial AWOL or deserted soldiers returned to military control.
* Administrative action is not punitive but meant to be corrective and rehabilitative.
* Maximum punishment for AWOL is a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and confinement for six months.
* For desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or shirk service, some charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice carry such punishments as dishonorable discharge, five years' confinement, forfeiture of all pay and reduction to private. The maximum penalty for desertion in time of war is death or such punishment as a court-martial may direct.

SOURCE: Department of Defense

Did You Know?

Desertion through the ages:

* Deserters in the Roman Army, during the 4th Century B.C., were subject to the death penalty as a deterrent. But in practice, enforcement was rare. Clubbing and stoning was the method when enforced.
* In the French Foreign Legion during the 1800s, desertion carried a penalty of 40 days in the Legion jail, often characterized as "the last hell on Earth."
* Death penalties for U.S. Civil War desertions were enforced in both Union and Confederate armies.
* During World War II, desertion was punishable by death by firing squad, and Pvt. Eddie Slovik became an example.
* More than 1.5 million AWOLs were documented during the Vietnam War, and desertion rates hit an all-time high during 1971 and 1972. Many went to jail or received dishonorable discharges.

SOURCES: Compiled by Staff Writer Audrey Parente from;;;; American Friends Service Committee.

9:28 AM  

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