Henderson, Lance Corporal, U.S. Marines
Henderson has not attempted to separate himself from the U.S. Marines, but
has publicly stated in Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 that he
will would refuse to return to fight in Iraq, where he has already served a
2 month tour of duty. He saw combat and won the Marine Corps
Achievement Medal after trying to rescue British soldiers who were trapped
in an overturned vehicle.
Corps is conducting a preliminary inquiry into Henderson's appearance in
Fahrenheit 9/11. Marine spokesman Capt. Patrick Kerr says authorities
need to decide whether any action is warranted. "He made it very clear that
he would not follow orders," Kerr says. "We're trying to determine what, if
anything, he said or did was wrong" and what the punishment might be.
faces harsher penalties if he fails to report for a second Iraq tour.
"Technically, he'd be a deserter," Kerr says. Punishment could range from an
administrative discharge to a court-martial, which could land Henderson in a
military prison for up to a year, Kerr says.
speech made at Ft. Collins, see more
Apparently, Henderson did return to Iraq.
He reached the rank of Corporal before being discharged from the
military due to an injury sustained during during his stay in Iraq.
Henderson currently works as the District Representative for Veteran’s
Affairs for Congresswoman Diane E. Watson where he is responsible for
advocating for veterans in the 33rd District in California, ensuring that
they receive the care, support, recognition and dignity they deserve for
Full List of Resisters
Michael Blake, U.S. Army Specialist
Excerpt from PressConnects.com:
When Baghdad fell, Michael Blake was in a mess hall in Kuwait, watching
history happen with twinges of excitement and trepidation.
He knew that in a few short weeks, he would be a part of world-changing
events. What the Binghamton native couldn't anticipate was how those events
would change him.
Blake, an Army specialist, had entered a relatively peaceful Iraq. The
consensus was that his unit missed all the action and would be home in six
months. That all changed two months later.
Mortar attacks near a tent Blake slept in regularly shook him out of his
sleep. Insurgents shot rockets at a convoy he was in. A rocket passed in and
out of a truck behind him without hurting anyone.
When Blake, now 22, returned to the United States, he took a step few take
and even fewer achieve: He applied for conscientious objector status. His
request was approved, and Blake was honorably discharged from the military
on Feb. 3.
"I got a lot out of it, but I lost a lot," he said. "Any vestiges of
innocence and youthfulness are gone. I feel old."
Blake is part of a small but growing contingent of enlisted men and women
who have sought conscientious objector status since the beginning of
Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. In 2001, 23 people in the Army requested
the designation; 18 were approved. In 2004, 67 applied for objector status,
and 33 were approved, according to the Army's public affairs department.
The Army has 494,000 active-duty men and women.
A potential conscientious objector must go through a long process of filling
out paperwork, soliciting letters of support and answering questions that
aim to gauge his views on war. Objectors must prove they are against all
wars, rather than just specific conflicts, and must be sincere, according to
A person requesting a conscientious objector designation can either ask to
be placed in a noncombat job in the military or seek a complete discharge.
Blake requested a discharge. In his view, everybody in the military -- even
people who are not handling weapons -- ultimately contributes to violence.
"I decided that I don't believe in the Army's mission," he said. "I don't
believe in war anymore. I didn't see anything positive coming from what we
Blake's family said his decision to leave the military was as natural as his
decision to join.
When he was 18, he had surprised his family by announcing that he was
enlisting in the Army after his graduation from Seton Catholic Central High
"I wanted to get out on my own and have my own adventure," Blake said, "be a
Recruiters pitched the experience as an adventure and never mentioned
killing or war, he said. Blake said his view of the Army was colored by the
1990s, the decade of most of his youth when the U.S. military was mostly
used for peacekeeping missions. He enlisted on July 12, 2001.
While Blake was in basic training, the terrorists attacked the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Before the Iraq war, Blake was stationed in Colorado. He remembers being
suspicious of the conflict; he said it was launched under false pretenses
and doubted claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Despite his reservations, Blake knew he had a job to do. Military service
was about executing orders, and a soldier's personal opinions were
irrelevant, he said.
His company went to the Middle East in April 2003; after two weeks in
Kuwait, they crossed into Iraq. He adjusted himself to a new way of thinking
in the rough terrain of Iraq. In a war, it's your side versus the other
side, and it's about protecting yourself and your friends.
"You don't think about America's interests in the region, or you don't
think about weapons of mass destruction or even right or wrong," Blake said.
"You think about staying alive."
Blake drove supply trucks for most of his time in Iraq, a job he believed
would be safer than other jobs. Sporadically fired up, he quickly learned
that there was no front line in Iraq.
"It was scary, but you're excited too," Blake said. "It's a rite of passage,
especially for a soldier to go from (training) to the real thing. When it
becomes real, you change forever."
Blake began to see more violence, and it was difficult to tell who the
enemy was; a child approaching the troops could be working to gauge their
position -- or worse. He saw the mental strain on soldiers who ended up
having to kill people.
Blake said he feels blessed that he never had to kill anyone, although he's
had to draw his weapon. Just knowing he is capable of killing is bad enough,
Returning to Endicott, where he now lives, during a midtour break, he had
time to process what he had seen and his views began to crystallize.
contacted Jack Gilroy, a local peace activist and Army veteran who has
written two books on conscientious objectors, for advice on filing his
papers. Gilroy said he and another local peace activist provided support to
Then Blake returned to Iraq for what he calls the low point of his service.
It didn't seem that the troops were making any headway winning the hearts of
the Iraqi people, he said.
The base where he stayed with 10,000 other troops was a frequent target of
mortar fire. When he heard artillery fire, it was impossible to tell if it
was incoming or outgoing.
"That was always a psychological victory for them because they could wake
10,000 soldiers up and have them run to the bunker," Blake said.
Blake returned to Colorado and worked on his conscientious objector papers,
which he filed in July 2004. He received letters of support from family and
friends. A chaplain and psychologist recommended his request be approved, as
did his superior officer.
Two ranking brigade officials who reviewed his request recommended it be
denied, suggesting his application was too perfect and that letters from
friends and family had been coached. A brigade commander reviewing Blake's
application doubted his sincerity.
"In Spc. Blake's excerpted journal entries, he consistently comments on
the illegality of the war, the war being '... not worth it' and his desire
to 'get away from the Army,' "
Lt. Colonel James R. Rice wrote. "There
is no indication in his journal entries that he is morally opposed to
killing or war."
Rice recommended Blake's application be denied, but he was overruled. A
final review board approved his application.
With his experience still burned into his mind, Blake said he has become
more cynical. He plans to study elementary education at SUNY-Cortland in the
fall and wants to teach history with the aim of instilling principles of
peace in students' lives.
Blake said he feels obligated to tell the story of what he saw in Iraq
and how he decided to leave the military.
"The people who bring about war have nothing personal to lose," he said.
"It's all photographs or figures on a piece of paper to them."
Full List of Resisters
Ryan Johnson, U.S. Army
Johnson, of Visalia, California (farming area in Central
California, where folks like the Joads struggled during the depression, and
many still struggle today) enlisted in the army in November of 2003,
and went to basic training in March 2004. With few job options, Ryan, age
22, talked to a military recruiter. Recruiters often make promises they
cannot keep. He was led to believe that he would be given a non-combat
job. That he would get $40,000 for college.
Ryan at first
believed in the mission in Iraq. However, he started asking questions of
those he met who had returned from combat there. What he heard was
horrifying. He also began to question the legitimacy of the war. He ended
up attending the court-martial of Pablo
Paredes, and there met with Pablo, Camilo
Mejia, and Aidan
Delgado. He came to firmly believe it
would not be right for him to fight in this immoral war.
Early in June 2005, Ryan Johnson and his wife Jennifer
drove across the border to Canada. He decided to go to Canada, rather
than go AWOL and stay in the U.S. and risk arrest. He felt this was
the best way to tell the world that the war "not worth it and that
this war is illegal". In Canada he found a network of anti-war people
who are supporting Ryan and his wife start their new life.
More on Ryan
and his story, see the transcript from
Read an article about Ryan and
listen to Ryan and that of a few others who have fled to Canada
Full List of Resisters
Brobeck, U.S. Marines
Brobeck served 7 months in Iraq with the U.S. marines before deserting and
coming to Canada in April 2005.
As Ivan told Now Magazine in Toronto, somewhere between the
three-hour firefights in Fallujah and the missions to hand out candies to
Iraqi children, the native of Arlington, Virginia realized he had to get
out. "A lot of marines feel that way,'' he said. "A majority know this
war is pointless. But orders are orders.''
Here in his own
words is what led him to refuse to fight this war:
I was in the
Marines. I joined in June 2003, and after boot camp in March of 2004 I was
sent directly to Iraq. This wasn't at all unsettling to me. You see, I went
into the Army because I wanted to fight the bad guys. In school during
history classes I learned that the Army and the Marines had done all these
wonderful things, and it all sounded so patriotic and I wanted to do the
same. I wanted to fight for freedom.
I didn't care, and
I still don't care, if I died fighting for a good and noble cause, which is
what I wanted to do.
In Iraq, I found
myself being the problem instead of the solution. A problem in a normal
town, in the life of normal people, like the people here in Toronto, trying
to go about their life and risking getting shot at by me. Innocent people
getting killed for misunderstandings, and for even more trivial things. I
found myself in situations with my partners where we had to shoot at
speeding cars, at people that probably were just trying to get out of our
insurgents, as they call them, they're not. They're people who have nothing
left. There was this guy who was mad at us because we had killed his family.
Wife, children, everybody but him had been killed. He was seeking some kind
of retribution. That is not an insurgent, that's a desperate man.
background is Salvadoran; my mom is from El Salvador. So the fight against
tyranny is something that is dear to me, considering the history of El
Salvador. I believed that the war in Iraq was a just war, and it was not.
Now, before I get involved again, I really have to see somebody overcoming
my country with weapons in hand.
Brobeck returned to the United States on election day
ask President Bush and Congress to bring the troops home now. On
December 5, Ivan Brobeck plead guilty to "Unauthorized Absence" and "Missing
Movement" at his court martial at Quantico in Virginia. He was sentenced to
a military brig for a period of 8 months. He was released in February.
See more at
Courage to Resist.
Full List of Resisters
Jessica Faustner, Recruited under false pretense,
Jessica Faustner, the 2005
Northampton, Pennsylvania Area High School graduate who says she was
enlisted through deceptive practices by a National Guard recruiter, didn't
show up for her entry training Wednesday and now is considered absent
without leave, or AWOL.
National Guard officials said
because Faustner did not report as ordered, the Guard will get a warrant
through a district judge to force her to go to training at Fort Indiantown
Gap, Lebanon County.
Faustner, 18, had been attending
the monthly drill weekends at the Allentown National Guard Armory but
stopped in April on the advice of her lawyer, John Roberts, according to her
mother, Joan Koberly of Bath.
She said Roberts also advised her
daughter not to apply for a hardship withdrawal because it would be
admitting her enlistment is valid.
Nationwide, the armed forces has
struggled with increasing numbers of deserters. It has also been
plagued by documented cases of recruiter fraud. On May 20, 2005, the
U.S. Army ordered a "stand down" to review ethical recruiting practices, to
counter-act media reports of fraud and abuse. Recruiters were filmed
telling lies to potential recruits, encouraging lying on entrance forms,
giving advice on getting fake high school diplomas.
After 30 days of being AWOL, a
soldier is classified as a deserter.
The Pentagon estimates since the
start of the war in Iraq, more than 5,500 soldiers have deserted.
Some go AWOL to take care of
family matters, others because they tire of the military or do not want to
go into combat.
Faustner went public with her
accusations of misleading recruitment practices at a May 9 meeting of the
Northampton Area School Board.
Prior to 2001, the majority who
deserted were released with an other-than-honorable discharge, but after the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Army enacted a more stringent policy that
returned deserters to their units.
Since the Army doesn't have the
manpower to chase down deserters, they can escape prosecution unless they
are stopped by police for some other offense such as running a red light.
Faustner, who admits she signed
the enlistment form, alleges the recruiter, Sgt. Jeffrey Todd Malloch,
told her she would be going to nursing school and used other deceptive
practices to get her and her parents to sign.
Cleaver said the Guard took
Faustner's charges ''very seriously'' and a staff judge advocate
investigated, but ''none of the allegations could be substantiated.''
Cleaver called Malloch one of the
Guard's ''top performers'' who enlists seven to eight recruits a month,
while most recruiters only get two or three.
National Guard units serve
part-time under the governor, unless called to active duty.
Cleaver said the Guard has been
struggling to meet enlistment goals, as has the U.S. Army, which in May held
a first-ever one-day halt in recruiting activities — or stand-down — to
address complaints about aggressive tactics.
The National Guard did not
participate in the stand-down, Cleaver said.
He said the Pennsylvania Guard
has been falling a third short in its goal of enlisting 300 new recruits a
month needed to field 16,000 soldiers. He said the Guard currently numbers
Cleaver said the Guard has
increased the number of recruiters by more than 10 percent to address the
He said encouraging young people
to enlist has gotten harder since most will have to serve on active duty.
Also, he said, older soldiers are leaving the service after a tour of active
Cleaver said if all else fails
the Guard will seek a discharge for Faustner.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, he said,
13,272 of the state's 20,000 National Guard soldiers have been deployed.
National Guard and Reserve
soldiers now make up more than 40 percent of the 138,000 U.S. troops in
Cleaver said he finds it hard to
believe Faustner didn't realize she would serve on active duty if she
''If you join the Guard you're
going to be deployed,'' he said. ''Almost everyone is deployed.''
Update: After issuing a
warrant for her arrest and return to military custody
& control, the Army National Guard finally relented and released this
young recruit from her contract. (Otherwise, it would surely have
been challenged in court, with great embarrassment to the Guard.)
Lesson: Don't sign the
Full List of Resisters
Dale Bertell, U.S. Army
This is a first that I know of, a
spouse has been charged (charges later were dropped) in the case of a military resister. A felony
charge was filed against the wife of a man who fled the military rather
than go to Iraq where he had done a previous tour of duty. Amy was
charged with “enticing, abetting a deserter”. Given the moral
bankruptcy of this war, I believe this is a badge of honor. Amy Bartell was charged under
this Federal Law.
Amy, mother of four children, (the military, in its compassion, has not
charged any of the children) was faced with a maximum term of three years.
Free the Dale Bartell!
22 Update: According to Amy's attorney Bill Durland, the military wrongfully
charged a civilian wife of a AWOL soldier with the crime of “enticing,
abetting a deserter” (see link).
This may be the first time the statute has been used, and it was
not done properly (military police issued the warrant without a U.S.
Attorney's approval, but as you can see below, Ft Carson plays fast and
loose with the law).
July 27th The case against Amy Bartell has been dismissed.
Read the following ...
Then, check out the
story about Ft. Carson, the military base that
banned the Denver Post. Is Ft. Carson a U.S. military base, or a
dangerous religious cult? You decide.
Story from the
Ft. Carson GI convicted of dodging duty
By DENNIS HUSPENI
A Fort Carson soldier has been
convicted of intent to avoid hazardous duty — what amounts to desertion —
and is serving time in a military prison after trying to declare himself a
Army officials also have filed a
felony charge against his wife, alleging she was “enticing, abetting a
deserter,” her attorney said.
Spc. Dale Bartell, assigned to
the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, didn’t always oppose war. He enlisted
almost three years ago and served a tour in Iraq.
But Bartell and his wife, Amy
Bartell, joined a Mennonite church, and their philosophies changed, she said
Wednesday outside a U.S. District courtroom in Colorado Springs where she
was scheduled for a hearing.
“He’s changed since joining. If
he knew the teachings then that we know now, he never would have joined,”
Amy Bartell said. “He knew there was going to be consequences for his
“I didn’t know I’d get into
trouble for being a housewife.”
As his unit was preparing to go
back to Iraq, Bartell’s commanding officers would not help him — and even
hindered him — in filing the paperwork to become a conscientious objector,
said Amy Bartell’s attorney, Bill Durland.
“He knew that once they got him
over there, they would have their way,” Amy Bartell said, noting officers
offered to let him use “non-lethal” ammunition in Iraq. “He would have to
ignore his religious convictions. What choice did he have? He went AWOL.”
Soldiers have filed about 150
conscientious-objector applications since 2002, the Los Angeles Times
link] recently using Pentagon figures [The actual number is
probably much higher. Soldiers fill these long forms out and then it
sits on his/her commanding officers desk for months at a time. --Tom]
. About 71 of those applications were approved. During the Vietnam War —
where many soldiers were drafted — there were some 17,000 applications from
active-duty soldiers, according to the Times report.
Bartell, who has been transferred
to a military prison in Fort Sill, Okla., was unavailable for comment
The first time Bartell went
absent without leave was from March 7 through April 8, according to Durland.
During that time, Bartell never left Fort Carson, where the couple lived on
base with their four children, ages 1 to 11.
Amy Bartell received a letter
saying all pay and benefits were being cut off.
The second time Bartell went AWOL
was on the day he thought his unit was to ship out, April 17. He met with a
military defense attorney May 12 and turned himself in.
By that time, the couple had
moved to the Cañon City area to be near their church, the Skyline Mennonite
Church. Military police showed up in early May and served Amy Bartell
with the felony charge of “enticing, abetting a deserter,” Durland said.
That charge could result in
punishment of up to three years in prison, Durland said.
Prosecutors charged Spc. Bartell
with “intent to avoid hazardous duty,” which is basically the same as
desertion, Durland said. On advice from his military attorney, Bartell
pleaded guilty to the charge in hopes his conscientious objector position
could mitigate a harsh prison sentence.
“He pleaded guilty because he
accepted responsibility for what he had done,” Bartell said. “It was his
only option. He was not going to say ‘no’ to God.”
Bartell’s military attorney told
a Fort Carson public affairs officer Wednesday she would have to get
permission from her client before answering any questions.
The spokesman for the U.S.
Attorney’s Office in Denver declined comment on the case Wednesday.
On July 12, Spc. Bartell was
sentenced to four months in prison, after which he will be dishonorably
Rev. Loren Miller, of Skyline
Mennonite, said the church is for pacifist Christians. Church officials and
volunteers have helped the Bartells, and were at the hearing Wednesday —
which was postponed until Aug. 17.
“We are harmless, peace-loving
people,” Miller said, noting Mennonites take the Scriptures literally.
Amy Bartell is worried about the
felony charge she faces. And she’s worried about her husband.
“He’s going through a lot,” she
said. “It does affect him. He’s sitting in prison knowing I’m getting into
trouble for what we believe.”
Carson Bans the Denver Post
military base that attacks the wife of a soldier whose religious beliefs
forbid him from participating in combat was in the news last December, when
it temporarily banned the Denver Post from covering its activities, after it
printed an article it did not like. Cutting ties to the outside world
is the modus operandi of religious cults and/or dictatorships. Read
two stories below.
From Denver Post
Article Published: Thursday, December 09, 2004
The base is refusing to give the paper
information because of a Sunday
front-page article on military medical holds.
By Eileen Kelley
Fort Carson -The Army is denying The Denver Post access to Fort Carson and
to information on military activities in the wake of a Sunday article in The
Post on military medical holds. "We have temporarily suspended relations
with The Denver Post as a direct result of Fort Carson not being given fair
and balanced treatment in a story that appeared on Dec. 5, 2004," Lt. Col.
David Johnson, the chief public affairs officer at the base, said Wednesday
The front-page article examined claims from mentally and physically ill
National Guard and Army Reserve members who say they are being denied access
to quality care and are being shoved out of the military without disability
pay. Congress has been scrutinizing medical holds at bases across the
"All of those involved with the med-hold piece which ran yesterday are
extremely disappointed with the outcome," Kim Tisor, a Fort Carson public
affairs officer, wrote in a letter to reporters Monday. "Perhaps we would
have been better off not commenting - it certainly would have saved us a lot
Denver Post Editor Greg Moore said the base's public affairs staff was
misguided in their actions.
"They are singling us out simply because they didn't like our story," he
said. "Other newspapers and media organizations have reported on the issue.
Our story was thorough, and balanced the concerns of soldiers with
substantial response from the military, including from some officers who
acknowledged problems with the program.
"It's our job to investigate issues like these and explain them to our
readers, many of whom have family members serving in the military," Moore
added. "We hope Fort Carson officials reconsider their ban of The Denver
Post. If they don't, we will appeal to senior military officers at Fort
Carson and in Washington, and through any other legal or congressional
channels that are available to us."
has the authority to control access to his installation or unit, but a
specific news organization can be banned from a base only in accordance with
an Army regulation that provides for due process,
according to a senior
Army official who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.
Johnson said the paper has been dropped from an e-mail list that distributes
invitations to cover events and official statements.
A Post reporter was told Tuesday she could not attend a formal deployment
ceremony Wednesday even though other media members were invited.
Johnson said the lack of access is not an official ban, but he later said
that all Denver Post reporters and editors were - for the time being - no
longer welcome at Fort Carson.
Also last week, The Denver Post obtained an injunction to stop an
investigative hearing that had been closed to the public for three Fort
Carson soldiers charged with murdering an Iraqi general.
10, 2004 Associated Press:
DENVER Fort Carson has lifted its restrictions on
reporters from The Denver Post, a day after a spokesman said the newspaper
wouldn't be allowed to cover events at the base because officials were upset
by a story the newspaper had published.
The front-page Sunday story focused on mentally and
physically ill National Guard and Army Reserve members who say they have
been denied quality care and are being pushed out of the service without
Lt. Col. David Johnson, chief of public affairs at Fort
Carson, spoke with Post editor Greg Moore on Thursday and Johnson agreed to
lift the ban.
We are pleased that the ill-advised ban on The Post is
no longer, Moore said. We continue to believe our story fairly and
accurately addressed a situation that has attracted the Armys attention
about the quality of medical treatment for its soldiers.
The Post fought the Army's decision to close a
hearing for three Fort Carson soldiers accused of murdering an Iraqi
general. The newspaper won an injunction to stop the hearing while the Army
appeals court reviews the closure.
Full List of Resisters
Pvt. Jonathan Barriga,
Story by Jack Dalton Check out Jack
Jonathan was a young man in high
school when the Marine recruiter approached him about joining the Marines
“Delayed Entry” program. That’s where a young person under-age and still in
school, with parents permission, can sign on the bottom line, supposedly
receive an enlistment bonus, then once out of high school straight off to
Boot Camp. That’s pretty much how it happened with Jonathan; who is now at
the Marine Corps Base, Camp Geiger, N.C. This is the very same base
[Trent is now discharged] was at, and where he underwent an outrageous ten
month ordeal after submitting paperwork as a Conscientious Objector. Not
only is Jonathan at the very same base, but he is also in the very same
Separation Barracks and under the very same command as was Trent.
After 8 months, the conscientious
objector application Jonathan submitted according to all military law, rules
and regulations, Jonathans command has not even begun to process his
application. It would seem that today’s Army does not think its command
structure has to follow its own laws, rules and regulations when it comes to
those who stand as conscientious objectors. In fact just two weeks ago,
Jonathan’s new Commanding Officer told Jonathan, “you might as well
start training as your C.O. application is never going to be approved.”
The military is really slick,
especially the Marine Corps (that’s the branch of military I was in) in how
they not only approach these kids in school, but in who they have approach
them and their parents. The “how and who” in Jonathan’s case really points
out just how “slick” military recruiters are. Jonathan’s parents immigrated
to this country from Ecuador. Jonathan’s mother does not speak English and
his father speaks broken English. Jonathan is first generation born in this
When Jonathan’s parents answered
the knock at their front door, there in the doorway stood a tall, smartly
dressed Marine in full dress uniform—a most impressive sight. There was no
language barrier as the Marine recruiter that was sent to convince
Jonathan’s parents to give their permission for Jonathan to enlist in the
Delayed Entry program also had immigrated to this country from Ecuador.
This fellow “countryman” the
Marine Corps sent to hustle Jonathan and his parents did a really good job
at it. After the recruiter made a lot of promises and guarantees that, to
paraphrase, “I will be there to watch over him; those of us from
Ecuador after all have to stick together.” This recruiter then went
on to tell Jonathan and his parents, “as an electrician, you will not be
going into combat or even be training for combat.” Jonathan and his parents
signed the Delayed Entry papers behind these statements of this recruiter.
Jonathan and his parents had
just been conned and hustled by one of the Marine Corps so-called “finest.”
At the same time this Marine Corps recruiter had just committed the Corps to
a verbal contract in terms of what Jonathan would and would not be doing.
And, yes, I know that verbal contracts don’t hold water with the military.
Hell, today, written contracts don’t hold water in today’s military from
what I have been seeing. But Jonathan and his parents didn’t know that. They
believed what the recruiter told them, which under the circumstances is
Jonathan was now in the Marines
Delayed Entry program. According to Jonathan, “I joined the Marines
because of my recruiter’s good way of talking.” But then Jonathan
told me, “Before leaving for Boot Camp I got this feeling like I
didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I told my recruiter I didn’t
want to go no more, that I think it’s not for me.” Rather than take
the chance of a bad fitness report that would prevent promotion, Jonathan’s
recruiter told him, “…I can’t; it’s too late.” So off to Boot
Camp went Jonathan.
When Jonathan arrived at Marine
Boot Camp, things went from bad to worse for him. According to Jonathan,
“…that’s when it hit me, I’ve been lied to.” Jonathan went on to say,
“everything that was said to us recruits was ‘kill’…I remember plenty of
times while getting disciplined, the drill instructor would be screaming we
need to be ready and tougher; that we need to be able to kill a little
kid…coming at you and have no physical or mental feeling towards it and
carry on.” For crying out loud, Jonathan is still a “kid” himself!
Kids with guns killing other kids with guns; and that is called “spreading
freedom and democracy” by the megalomaniacs in Washington, D.C.
objection crystallized even more when the time came to train with the M16.
Jonathan says it best: “The force and power that the weapon contained
was incredible. I held in my hands what can determine a human beings fate as
well as mine. The severity of killing became more apparent when we were
trained to shoot at targets in the shape of human beings. Although it was
not made of flesh and blood, it made me feel depressed. I actually talked to
my drill instructor on several occasions telling him, I couldn’t continue
with further training. I didn’t fully express my objection to war or killing
due to being intimidated by what would happen if I did. None the less, he
[drill instructor] told me to “suck it up” and that I can’t [stop training]
because I signed a piece of paper called a “contract.”
When Jonathan graduated from
Boot Camp at Parris Island in Nov. 2004, he went home for leave. By the time
he got home he was in a state of total depression and a lot of stress. It
was while he was at home on leave that Jonathan filled out the military’s
forms to file as a conscientious objector. When his leave was over he
reported to his next duty station at Camp Geiger, N.C. which is right next
door to Camp Lejeune, where AWOL’s and “suicides” are increasing in numbers.
As soon as Jonathan got to Camp Geiger on Dec. 7. 2004, he filed his
paperwork as a conscientious objector.
8 months later, Jonathan’s
application is still sitting on some Colonels desk. Two of the people at
Camp Geiger that held up Trent Helmkamp’s CO paperwork and gave him such a
bad time were the same people that would be handling Jonathans application,
Maj. Laws and 1st Sgt Watkins—it you remember it was
1st Sgt Watkins that called
Trent a “Fucking faggot conscientious objector.” No
wonder Jonathan was so intimidated and did not fully express his objection
to war—he was in the very same Separation Barracks as was Trent and Jonathan
saw on a daily basis what the Marine Corps subjected Trent to after he made
application as a C.O. 4 different young men in those barracks have attempted
suicide in the past few months—something is seriously wrong at Camp Geiger
and Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Over the months Jonathan has had
three interviews and all three of those that interviewed Jonathan all have
said the very same thing: “…all three have found me to be a
conscientious objector within the military’s regulations and meaning.”
However, Jonathan was told by Maj. Laws, “my investigating officer I
appointed recommended you for a discharge but that doesn’t mean that I have
to.” That was Jan. 2005. Since then Jonathan has heard nothing other
than what his new commanding office told him two weeks ago, “you might
as well start training as your application is never going to be approved.”
Full Post by Jack Dalton
Full List of Resisters
Spc. Katherine Jashinski, Texas National Guard
Army likely to deny Conscientious Objector status. Again.
Benning, GA – Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski, on active
duty with the 111th ASG since January of this year, will make a public
statement against war as a conscientious objector in the face of orders to
participate in weapons training and deploy to the Middle East. She will be
joined by several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for
Peace. Jashinski applied for a discharge as a Conscientious Objector in
2004. The Army recently denied her claim and ordered her to weapons
training and deployment this week.
Speakers at the press conference include Aidan Delgado, an Army
Conscientious Objector and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “Iraq
Veterans Against the War supports the right of every soldier to follow their
conscience. Today’s revelation that chemical weapons were used against
citizens in Fallujah is evidence that the war is illegal and immoral.”
Jashinski’s counselor, Persian Gulf War Army Conscientious Objector Aimee
Allison, will speak at tomorrow’s press conference. Speaking today, Allison
stated, “As the first woman GI to publicly take a stand against this war and
to declare herself a Conscientious Objector, Katherine’s actions are very
significant. She is showing remarkable courage.”
Jashinski’s lawyer, J.E. McNeil with the Center for Conscience and War,
will also discuss her legal status and the case. She comments, “Denying
Katherine CO status is yet another in a long line of actions by the military
to defy its own rules in order to get the numbers of soldiers they need to
continue this war.”
Katherine is actively supported by Code Pink, a women-initiated
grassroots peace group. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink adds, “I
applaud Katherine’s courageous stand against the continued U.S. role in
bringing violence to the Middle East.”
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of School of the
Americas Watch will also speak. Jashinski’s statement comes on the eve of a
national demonstration at the gates of Fort Benning calling for the closure
the U.S. Army School of the Americas. “U.S. foreign policy as it exists
today is fundamentally out of alignment with Americans’ values of peace and
First Female Conscientious Objector Sentenced for Refusing Deployment to
FT. BENNING, GA, May 23, 2006 – Army National Guard Specialist
Katherine Jashinski received a bad conduct discharge today and was
sentenced to 120 days confinement after pleading guilty to the charge of
“refusal to obey a legal order.” She was acquitted of the more serious
charge of “missing movement by design.” With 53 days already served (on
Fort Benning), and 20 days off for good behavior, Ms. Jashinski has 47
days of confinement remaining.
On November 17, 2005, Jashinski made a public statement of conscientious
objection on the eve of her scheduled deployment to Afghanistan.
Eighteen months after filing, the Army denied her application for a
discharge. She was then court-martialed for refusing to train with
Jashinski’s superiors testified that they believed in the sincerity of
her CO claim, and the Judge noted that he was convinced of the same.
, members of Iraq
Veterans Against the War, attended Ms. Jashinski’s trial today to
support her. They described the atmosphere of the courtroom as initially
tense, but said that Jashinski’s powerful heartfelt testimony changed
the tone of the room.
“Iraq Veterans Against the War supports the right of every soldier to
follow their conscience,” said Delgado. “As the first woman GI to
publicly take a stand against this war and to declare herself a CO,
Katherine’s actions are very significant. She is a fine example of a
young person standing up for her beliefs.”
Ms. Jashinski is feeling triumphant and happy to have resolution
After completing her sentence (she was released after 47 days) she will return to school at the
University of Texas at Austin and continue her work with the newly
Austin GI Rights Hotline
Full List of Resisters
Sergeant Patrick Hart
9 year Army Veteran chooses to go to Canada rather than kill or die in
Full Article, Brave Hart,
Here. Art Voice, Buffalo, NY
It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when Pat—previously a
mild-mannered, loyal soldier—decided he would risk everything to start a new
life in a new country. One critical moment that Pat does recall, however,
was during some down time spent a world away, in the middle of a forsaken
Kuwaiti desert. He was stationed there in 2003 with the Army’s 541st
Maintenance Battalion, ordering supplies for vehicles—Humvee tires, track
shoes for tanks and the like. “I was like the Pep Boys of the Army,” he
says. He also guarded the gates at several camps—Wolf, Arifjan and the
Kuwaiti Naval Base—from behind a .50-caliber machine gun. It was there in
Kuwait that some of his friends, returning from a deployment across the berm
in Iraq, told him horrific tales, shared with him grisly photographs and
made disturbing remarks about what they’d seen and done there.
“One of my buddies is telling me that he has a six-year-old daughter,” Pat
says, “but now he sees the faces of these Iraqi kids that he’s run over
every night before he goes to bed.”
Because of the increasing number of ambushes on convoys, an order was passed
down early in the war that convoys were not to stop for anything. And Iraqi
children, accustomed to convoys stopping and handing out food and candy,
started getting run over. Pat continues, “His buddy standing next to him
says, ‘I don’t know how many Iraqi kids I’ve pulled out of the front grill
of my truck. Ain’t nothing but speed bumps to me.’”
.....in May of last year, Pat watched British Member of Parliament George
Galloway fillet the US Senate, who’d fingered him in the United Nations
Oil-for-Food scandal. In Galloway’s prepared statement, he turned the tables
on the Senate, famously saying, “I told the world that Iraq, contrary to
your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world,
contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connections to al-Qaeda. I told
the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the
atrocity on 9/11/2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the
Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country,
and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but
merely the end of the beginning. Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I
turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people
paid with their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths
on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them forever disabled on
a pack of lies.” See
At that same time, Pat says,
younger soldiers, 18- and 19-year-old kids, were asking him questions about
the war because he’d been to the Middle East before.
“‘What’s it like, Sergeant
Hart?’ ‘Why are we going over there? There’s no weapons of mass destruction,
and Saddam Hussein’s out of power two years now.’ ‘Osama bin Laden’s in
Afghanistan, he ain’t in Iraq, Sergeant Hart. What the hell?’” He found
that he didn’t have any good answers for his men. “What could I tell them?”
Pat says. “‘Shut up and do your job, because I’m an NCO and you’re a
private, and you’re going to listen to me?’ That doesn’t hold much water
when people’s lives are at stake.”
See also USA Today
article on Patrick Hart
More on Canadian Resisters, here.
Full List of Resisters
Robin Long, U.S. Army
Robin Long is from Boise,
Idaho. He received orders in March to report to Iraq and meet up with his
new unit 2-2 IN in May. "I still don't think that Bush has proven we have
any reason to be over there, and I would be wrong to be a tool of
destruction," Robin says.
He served two years as a tanker in the US army, at Fort Knox before he left
and came to Canada in June of 2005. He traveled by hitchhiking from Tofino,
BC to St. John's, Newfoundland, and as far north as the north shore of the
St. Lawrence during the summer months. "I have really enjoyed this beautiful
country, I'm reminded everyday by its wonderful people that I made the right
decision. I remember that a soldier is just a uniform following orders, a
warrior is the man or woman that follows their conscience and does the right
thing in the face of adversity."
On Nov. 30th he applied for refugee status in Thunder Bay. He currently
lives on the north shore of Lake Superior with his partner Renée and her
mother Claire. They are expecting a little war resister in July 2006.
War Resisters Support Campaign, Canada
Kyle Snyder, U.S. Army
By Mike Howell-staff
In a cluttered bedroom of
a Strathcona bungalow, a U.S. military deserter talks about the day he
witnessed a friend shoot a man in Iraq.
Kyle Snyder, 22, remembers
having to report what he believed was an unnecessary shooting, although his
friend thought the Iraqi man posed a threat.
The man was raking rocks
on a roadside in Mosul. Snyder discovered later that the man lost a leg
because of the wounds.
"I saw my friend
completely change into this demon," says Snyder, who served almost four
months in Iraq last year as a gunner on a Humvee military vehicle. "I saw
his soul die right in front of me."
On the other side of the
border, in a Bellingham coffee shop, Doris Kent wipes tears as she tries to
make sense of her son's death on Oct. 15, 2004 in Karabilah, Iraq.
His name was Corporal
Jonathan Santos. He was 22, just like Snyder. Recruited out of high school,
just like Snyder. And looking to go to college, just like Snyder.
A suicide bomber in a car
killed Santos, another soldier, an interpreter and 17 Iraqi civilians. A
third soldier suffered major head injuries but survived.
"At his funeral, his
coffin was not open because of the head injuries he received," Kent
explains, her voice breaking. "I did not want that to be the last thing his
two brothers saw or my mother or Jonathan's other grandmother saw."
Snyder didn't know Santos
or his mother.
He'd like to meet Kent but
wonders what could he possibly tell her about a war that he first thought
was justified-only to find out when he got to Iraq that he wasn't there to
build roads or schools.
"I would be upset at the
fact that I wouldn't know what to say to her because of my belief that this
war is based on lies. I can't go and say to a mother, 'Look, your son died
for a lie,' because that eats up a lot of pride in that woman, I'm sure."
He takes a long drag on
his Kool cigarette before finishing his thought. He's soft-spoken and
introspective to the point that the constant thinking about war gives him
Dressed in a red, hooded
jacket, black toque and baggy jeans, the five-foot-four Snyder looks as if
he'd be more comfortable on a skateboard than manning a machine gun.
"I would say that I
believe her son-instead of fighting for the president and his
administration-that he ended up fighting for the men beside him. When a war
turns into that, the war is dead wrong."
Tomorrow, on the steps of
the Vancouver Art Gallery, Snyder will read his "letter of resignation" as a
member of the U.S. Army.
More a symbolic gesture,
Snyder's words will be heard by hundreds of people expected at an anti-Iraq
War rally on the grounds of the gallery.
This weekend marks the
third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. So far, more than 2,200 U.S.
soldiers have been killed and another 17,000 injured.
Snyder is one of two U.S.
military deserters living in Vancouver who filed a refugee claim. Another 20
soldiers across Canada have also filed for refugee status.
Some, like Snyder, served
in Iraq, while others were about to be deployed there. The latest civilian
death toll in Iraq is reportedly more than 30,000.
The most famous deserter
is Jeremy Hinzman, a 27-year-old member of the 82nd Airborne Division out of
Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In January 2004, Hinzman
fled to Toronto with his wife and young son, just days before his unit
deployed to Iraq. Hinzman drew international attention when he requested
asylum and commenced a refugee claim.
In March 2005, the
Immigration and Refugee Board rejected Hinzman's claim, refusing to hear his
argument that the Iraq War violates international law.
A Federal Court of Canada
judge has since reserved her decision on whether the refugee board should
reconsider Hinzman's case.
It's a ruling that Snyder
is eagerly anticipating, since his application for refugee status is based
on a similar argument. No date has been set for his hearing.
He is fully aware,
however, that a negative judgment in the Hinzman case would certainly crush
his and other deserters' chances of remaining in Canada.
The debate over deserters
intensified last week when U.S. border guards in Idaho arrested Allen Abney,
a Kootenay man who deserted the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 and fled to B.C.
The Canadian citizen was on holidays at the time of his arrest.
The penalty for deserting
the U.S. military ranges from one year to life in prison-a sentence Snyder
says he's ready to serve if Hinzman goes to prison.
Whatever the outcome,
Snyder points out that he is still alive and can't imagine the grief that
Kent and other mothers of dead soldiers are experiencing in the United
"It's messed up, man. It's
Snyder has had plenty of
time to think about the war, why he deserted his platoon and why he joined
the Army in the first place.
He shares an old house on
East Pender Street that a branch of the U.S.-based nonprofit The Catholic
Worker provided for him. He receives $70 a week from a local war resisters
campaign to help him get by.
This wasn't his first
Snyder left Iraq in April
2005 after his commander granted him a two-week leave to visit a woman in
Prince George. The pair met over the Internet and exchanged letters for more
than a year.
No matter what happened in
Prince George, he knew he wouldn't return to Iraq. Disillusioned and aware
that this country provided a haven for draft dodgers in the Vietnam era,
Snyder was big on Canada.
"I wasn't lying to my
commander about where I was going, but if he did not see that I was not
coming back there was something wrong with him as a leader."
He flew from Iraq to
Kuwait to Frankfurt to Dallas to Vancouver to Prince George. He was dressed
in his uniform and carrying only his duffel bag.
Snyder stayed with his
friend, whose name he didn't want published, until August 2005. Their
relationship didn't work out, he says without getting into detail. So he
caught a Greyhound bus to Vancouver.
"At that point, I had
nobody in my life, so I hooked up with the war resisters campaign. Since
then, I've been involved in this political agenda that is really, really
confusing to me."
Adds Snyder: "I don't
understand why I can't start a life, why I can't just go to a job, come
back, go to sleep and basically have a normal life."
He wouldn't be here, he
says, if he'd been doing in Iraq what he signed up to do-operate heavy
machinery to build roads and schools as a member of the 94th Engineer Combat
He enlisted Oct. 22, 2003,
eight months after the war started in Iraq and more than two years after the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Snyder was finishing his
Grade 12 diploma at a school in Utah when recruiter Staff Sergeant Joel
Williamson-he'll never forget his name-sold him on the military.
He says Williamson
promised him a college education, a dental plan, medical insurance and money
for childcare. At the time, Snyder and his then-fiancé‚ Erin wanted to have
She later got pregnant,
only to lose the baby in the womb because of complications that Snyder
claims could have been avoided with medical treatment.
The military wasn't
there to help, says Snyder, who spent most of his teenage years in
foster care in Colorado after his parents divorced. At 19, he was looking
for a better life.
"I believed everything
that this professional man came up and told me-that all these benefits would
be there. I never before in my life had a man in a suit with medals come up
to me like that. So I looked up to him. 'Wow,' I said, 'this guy wants me.'"
As he learned, there was
no college education in the Iraqi desert. Nor was there any road building or
goodwill work being done for the Iraqi people.
Snyder began questioning
his role in the military while stationed in Germany, where he was trained to
fire a 50-calibre gun attached to a Humvee military vehicle.
"I didn't quite understand
that. If I'm supposed to be building roads, why am I learning to use a
50-calibre weapon? It didn't make sense."
Deployed to Iraq, Snyder
became a security escort for high ranking U.S. military officials. As he did
this, he witnessed the hate Iraqis had for the U.S. military.
"I don't think I saw one
person there that was happy to see me or the other soldiers. It might have
been that way in different cities, but not in Mosul. People would throw
things at your convoy and give you these looks."
In a journal entry two
months into his tour, he wrote: "Shots were fired at us right in the middle
of downtown during broad daylight. Children's screams I will never forget.
The smell of fresh blood. I need someone. How can I be loved if I am witness
to such things almost weekly? I am a monster. Emotionless and like a
Snyder was stationed at
Camp Merez, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including 18 soldiers
in a mess hall one week prior to his arrival.
It made for a nervous
tour, and he began to consult with his 30 platoon mates about deserting the
military. He says they gave him their full support-and still do, via email.
"I know I'm not the only
22-year-old soldier thinking this way. The fear of death is always there,
but I don't want to go back to Iraq because I don't believe in that war."
Canada, Snyder will wait out the Federal Court of Canada's decision on the
Snyder's applied for a work permit and will pass the time reading his Anne
Rice novels, plucking the guitar by his bed and writing more poetry in the
stack of notebooks he keeps on a desk.
Snyder also has plans for a book called Child of War. Writing is
therapeutic, he says.
He recites a poem he wrote last month, called "The Heart of a Gun."
Solid when still, and untouched,
Yet untamed all the same,
It's still like a human,
You kill other hearts,
When there's someone to blame.
puts down his notebook to explain the poem.
just think that's all a weapon is good for anymore. It kills hearts as well
as physical beings. I know it kills hearts and souls. Just having it in your
possession, it's like, man, you'll never be the same."
Kent would like to be in Vancouver when Snyder speaks, and maybe say a few
words herself, but she can't right now. When the pain of her son's death
isn't so overwhelming, she would "do it with pride."
Besides, her two other sons need her. Kent says if it wasn't for Jared, 16,
and Justin, 14, getting out of bed in the morning would be difficult. Those
boys are her life, she says, noting how proud they are of their dead
as mothers and soldiers and protesters and politicians mark this weekend's
third anniversary of the Iraq War, Kent will do her best to keep her
emotions in check.
that, she says, will be difficult to do at her son's grave.
"I'll be sitting at the cemetery crying. Because at this point, I feel
helpless. I feel helpless that I can't do anything to stop the deaths, to
stop the killings."
Sgt. Corey D.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. — A federal judge will hear from Army officials next week
before deciding whether a Fort Drum soldier must deploy to Afghanistan while
his application for a conscientious-objector discharge is pending.
U.S. District Judge David Hurd last week issued a temporary restraining
order preventing the Army from deploying Sgt. Corey D. Martin to Afghanistan
or any other war zone.
Army officials will appear before Hurd Tuesday in Utica to show why an
order preventing deployment should not be granted.
Neither Martin, 24, nor his lawyer, Deborah H. Karpatkin, have commented.
Martin, an intelligence analyst with the 10th Mountain Division, has twice
had his deployment orders rescinded, including an order to deploy Tuesday to
Court documents show Martin filed his application Dec. 12. An
investigating officer recommended his application be approved, court
Martin, 24, of Brookings, S.D., joined the Army for a five-year
enlistment in June 2001. He said he made the decision to join the Army at
age 19, six months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In court documents, Martin said he joined when he “had no strong opinion
on the justice or necessity of war,” having only “vague notions” regarding
Vietnam and no specific insight into the first Gulf War.
Martin said in court papers that after the attacks, he initially believed
the country needed to “strike back.” However, while he said he “wasn’t sure
about” invading Afghanistan, “invading Iraq seemed obviously wrong to me,”
according to the documents.
During a Christmas visit with his family in 2002, Martin said he
discussed his feelings with his family and began reading anti-war
Martin, who practices Buddhism, said he later realized doing his
intelligence job effectively “would cause the death of a person who might
He said as an intelligence analyst he would have little risk of personal
harm in Afghanistan. Martin said he also recognized that by refusing to go,
he faced possible reduction in rank, a loss of pay and benefits,
imprisonment, a bad-conduct discharge, a criminal record and poor prospects
for future employment.
“I am adamant about refusing to go to war ... Although I hope I can avoid
it, I am prepared to suffer consequences before I violate my conscience,”
Sgt. Martin said.
-- Under pressure from a New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, the U.S.
Army has granted Conscientious Objector (C.O.) status and honorable
discharge to Sergeant Corey D. Martin, whom the Army previously had tried to
deploy while his C.O. application was still pending, the NYCLU announced
to have thwarted the army's effort to subvert Corey Martin's application and
deploy him to a combat zone," said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
"The Army has finally granted him the fair and constitutional treatment he
was stationed at Fort Drum, New York as a Sergeant . He applied for
discharge as a Conscientious Objector in December 2005 after realizing that
he was ethically opposed to war. The Army granted first-level approval to
Martin's application for C.O. status, but then, while two more levels of
approval were still pending, it informed Sergeant Martin that he would be
deployed to Afghanistan on March 14, 2006.
In response, the
NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit on Martin's behalf and obtained an injunction
to prevent the Army from deploying Martin to Afghanistan while the
application was pending.
Last week Martin
was finally awarded his official C.O. status and has now been honorably
discharged from the army. Next week the NYCLU will ask a federal judge in
Syracuse to dismiss the lawsuit.