On 5 March UK refusenik Joe Glenton faces court martial and possibly two years in jail for going AWOL (absent without leave). According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), soldiers have gone on the run from their posts on more than 17,000 occasions since 2003.
WHY PICK ON JOE GLENTON? Because Joe has spoken publicly about his refusal to take part in the war and occupation of Afghanistan. The steady drumbeat of attacks on civilians continues: On 21 February, 33 civilians including women and children were killed in Uruzgan province in a NATO airstrike on a convoy of vehicles. When will the killing end?
Joe was jailed in November 2009 and released on condition that he no longer speaks publicly against the war. His wife Clare has continued to speak on his behalf and so has his mother Sue:
“I used to freeze when I heard the word ’Afghanistan’ on radio or TV. The sense of relief knowing that it wasn’t Joe was soon replaced by a flood of guilt thinking about the family who were receiving the military visit. How many other families anywhere behave the same way, and in Afghanistan how many mothers have the same emotion on a minute by minute basis, how much greater is their concern.”
On or around Friday 5 March, we invite you to take action to defend Joe Glenton, the first soldier in Europe to publicly refuse to fight in Afghanistan:
● Contact or picket UK embassies, consulates and other British institutions
● Demonstrate at US bases to protest NATO and support US refuseniks
● On 5 March, boycott British airlines, banks, BP petrol stations and shops selling British goods. Let the public know if you can.
● Leaflet, send this email and spread the news about the International Actions in your networks
● Tell Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth to drop the charges firstname.lastname@example.org
● Tell your elected representatives that support for the invasion of Afghanistan is a vote loser: the Netherlands government has already collapsed over it.
Sign our model letter – people in 29 countries have already signed. We will deliver it to the MoD in London, between 1-2pm on 4 March the day before the court martial – join us there if you can.
On 5 March, Gordon Brown will answer a few polite questions at the Chilcot Inquiry about his complicity as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Iraq war. Joe is risking his freedom that same day for refusing to kill.
There have been actions in Joe’s defence in Russia, New Zealand, Germany and Poland. Stop the war coalition has called for a picket at the court in Colchester.
Most people don’t support the occupation of Afghanistan.
It is war criminals who should be put on trial, not Joe Glenton!