IRAQ WAR DESERTERS Deported From Canada & Jailed
Welcome Home Boys!
Deserters deserted and jailed in the US.
Deserter Robin Long said he had been trying to gain refugee status in Canada because he believed he would suffer harm if he were to be sent back to the U.S.
Canada disagreed and deported him this week. Robin was welcomed to his new home in a Washington jail this week. (CBC)
One US Iraq War deserter was deported and jailed this week.
Another US Iraq War deserter was jailed for 9 months and stripped of his benefits.
The Star reported:
An American army deserter who took refuge in Canada before returning to the U.S. voluntarily was given a dishonourable discharge yesterday and sentenced to nine months in jail, a close supporter said.
James Burmeister, 22, (on left) was sentenced by a military judge in Fort Knox, Ky., after a four-hour court martial hearing, said Carol Rawert-Trainer, of the American non-profit group Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
“It’s quite a shock to everybody,” said Rawert-Trainer from Louisville, Ky. “We all thought they were going to take it easy on him because he turned himself in, but it doesn’t look that way.”
Originally from Eugene, Ore., Burmeister went to Ottawa in May 2007 after he was injured in Iraq when he was thrown from his military vehicle by the force of a roadside bomb earlier that year.
…Yesterday’s ruling will likely stand up as a felony conviction, meaning Burmeister won’t be allowed back into Canada, and will likely lose his right to veterans’ benefits, Zaslofsky told the Star last night.
“In that case, his post-traumatic stress disorder and some of the other problems that he has won’t be dealt with properly,” he noted. “I just hope this isn’t an ill omen for some of the other (resisters).”
One of those other resisters is 25-year-old Robin Long.
Long became the first American war resister deported from Canada Tuesday, and could also potentially face a court martial.
Yesterday, Long was transferred from Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham, Wash., to the nearby Fort Lewis military base.
UPDATE: Burmeister was not only antiwar- He was giving interviews to Arab language news organizations.
The News-Enterprise has more:
Burmeister fled to Canada in May 2007, while on leave from Iraq, and turned himself in at Fort Knox in March. During his absence from his unit, the soldier was interviewed by PBS and other media outlets in the United States and Canada. His statements also appeared in an Arabic language newspaper and on an anti-war Web site that prosecutors said advocates soldiers to go AWOL.
Burmeister spoke against the use of “bait-and-kill” teams. Such teams placed objects, such as bomb components, onto the ground and then shot Iraqis who sought to recover them. Critics have said the tactic could constitute a war crime.
“This is a case of doing the wrong thing for the right reason,” argued Burmeister’s military-appointed defense attorney Capt. Tyson McDonald. “Iraq is difficult (for soldiers)… it’s worse when you see things as legally and morally wrong.”
One of Burmeister’s commanders testified on behalf of the government, saying Burmeister’s platoon did not focus on such missions.