September 2, 2012

Stop the deportation of war resister Kimberly Rivera!

"My biggest fear is being separated from my children and having to sit in a prison for politically being against the war in Iraq."  - Kimberly Rivera, Toronto

Dear Friends,

What kind of government do we have in Canada, elected by less than 40% of people who voted, that intends to send a heroic young mother to jail for up to five years in the U.S. for doing the right thing?

We are appealing for your immediate attention, help and action to stop the thoroughly reactionary, anti-family deportation order of Kimberly Rivera to certain harsh imprisonment in a U.S. military jail for two to five years, away from her young children.

Stephen Harper's government has failed to deal with Kimberly's application to stay for humanitarian reasons, like it does not care she will be unable to care for her four children or that her family will be broken up when she goes to jail.

The deportation can be stopped if enough people and groups speak out. The prairie provinces are critically important for this effort, Harper's key support area.

We can win, and the government must be forced to back down. The immediate support for this campaign from the Canadian Labour Congress and Amnesty International are vital, welcome, and a sign that broad support can grow. We are thankful for opposition party support in Ottawa, but what happens outside parliament matters most.

By now, media has informed most Canadians that the Harper government has issued a Sept. 20 deportation order to Kimberly and her young family, the same way it already deported two other former U.S. soldiers who disagree with the unjust Iraq war.

This is a reactionary move, because everyone knows that these two soldiers served long prison sentences for doing the right thing. Harper expects that Kimberly will be jailed. Her lawyer expects a sentence of 2 to 5 years!

These good soldiers should not be in custody for one second. That is why they came to Canada. So far, Harper has achieved a 100% success rate of sending US war resisters to jail. This must stop now, especially in light of the news Harper is planning to send more U.S. soldiers to face certain imprisonment.

Rivera is "guilty" of the crime of being a hero, a good soldier who deserted from the unjust occupation of Iraq. Here's a comparison. Nazi soldiers who deserted Hitler's army after realizing they were helping commit war crimes were heros, not "bogus refugees" as Jason Kenney calls the U.S. soldiers who came to Canada seeking safe refuge and the welcome of the majority of Canadians.

The Harper government is showing its true face. It is pouring the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraq's people on Canada's global reputation. It is still supporting George Bush's unjust Iraq war. It is defying international law that never allowed the Iraq war.

Canadians must not stand for that! Canada must be made better!

The Canadian government is sending U.S. soldiers to a harsh military prison in an army rife with sexual abuse and torture, like the abuse Bradley Manning is experiencing, according to the UN special rapporteur on torture and hundreds of legal experts. What is the proper response by Canadians? It must be outrage and the loudest possible outcry. This is totally unjust. It is inhuman.

Help inform Stephen Harper's MPs across the prairies. Ask them to change their minds. We cannot allow them to get their bullying way.

- Talk about this to everyone you know, tell them to contact their MP and to tell other people.
- Put this message up on notice boards.
- Phone, write or visit your MP or Immigration minister Jason Kenney. Ask them why they want to place a young mother of four children who has only obeyed her conscience and the law in jail and possibly destroy her family, why they are still helping the US' unjust occupation of Iraq, why they think US war resisters should be punished for making the right moral and legal decision to desert from the Iraq war, and how they can explain why every war resister they have deported so far has gone to jail for no good reason?
- Have a picket line in support of Kimberly and her family, even if its small.
- Tell the media, write a letter to the editor - From your family, union, faith group or community organization
- Visit your MP's constituency office, even if the MP is not there. Stay as long as you can! Get the staff's time and attention and send a really strong message! Polite but unshakable.

Not doing anything at this critical time of moral degeneracy by the Harper government is the worst option for anyone with an ounce of compassion and humanity. We appeal to you for your immediate action!

The Keep Resisters in Canada Campaign (KRICC) is sending this message to hundreds of supporters across the prairie provinces (where we work) and beyond in total solidarity with the Toronto appeal from the War Resisters Support Campaign there (appended). We in KRICC have been planning an urgent appeal for a U.S. deserter in Saskatchewan, Joshua Key, which will now be slightly changed. Please support the below appeal, and the one we expect to issue shortly.

We would be happy to hear from you by email, phone (204-798-3371) or by mail - KRICC c/o 269 Kitson St., Winnipeg MB R2H 0Z6. Please copy your message to the Harper government to us and the Toronto campaign (address below). We'd very much appreciate it.

Yours truly,
Cheryl-Anne Carr and Darrell Rankin
for the Interim executive, Keeps Resisters in Canada Campaign

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