International Day of Action for UK Refusenik Joe Glenton
March 4 / 5, 2010 - Frankfurt, Colchester, Cremona, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Philadelphia, Rome
Vigil and protest rally in Frankfurt/M.
Thursday, March 4, 2010, from 4.30 to 5.30 p.m.
At the British Consulate, Bockenheimer Landstr. 38
Anti-war groups in many countries are calling for all charges against Joe Glenton to be dropped. Joe Glenton should be released from military service immediately.
On March 5, Joe Glenton faces court martial and possibly two years in jail for going AWOL (absent without leave).
Hundreds of protest letters have been sent to the British Ministry of Defence. The Ministry replied with a standard letter a few days ago, justifying the “operations in Afghanistan“ and calling them “essential for our national and collective security and the protection of our ways of life“. The letter did not comment on the proceedings against Joe Glenton, nor did it deal with his reasons for refusal.
Based on his own experience in Afghanistan, Joe Glenton says: “The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk. Far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there.“ He is among the first Afghanistan refuseniks to go public.
Since 2009, the US, UK and other allies have massively increased troops in Afghanistan. The war has been expanded to the south of Afghanistan as well as to Pakistan. Last September, a German commander ordered the bombing of two tank trucks near Kunduz. More than 100 people died as a result. This shows clearly that it is the civilian population that bears the brunt of the escalating war. Most of the victims are civilians. After nine years of war, Afghanistan is plagued by attacks and battles more than ever. Corruption, lawlessness and arbitrariness are holding reign. The increase of German troops in Afghanistan adopted a few days ago will aggravate the war even further.
The German military as well as all other foreign troops must be withdrawn. A fraction of the funds spent on the war – the German contribution alone has amounted to EUR 3 bn so far –, if applied to serious civilian reconstruction efforts, would be sufficient to improve the situation of the suffering people of Afghanistan considerably.
In 2007, Joe Glenton left his unit, traumatized by his deployment. He handed himself in two years later after speaking at an anti-war demonstration in London. The military responded harshly: Since they had previously forbidden him to speak out in public, they now accused him of having disobeyed lawful orders in five instances and arrested him.
After a few weeks Joe Glenton was released on bail in December 2009 under the condition that he would not speak publicly. In the preliminary hearing in Februar 2010, the charges for disobeying lawful orders were dropped. However, he still faces the charge for going AWOL, regardless of the fact that he has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from his deployment in Afghanistan. While still in the military, he had asked for medical attention because of his PTSD; his request had been refused brusquely. Now he is brought to court by those who refused to help him at the time.
Connection e.V., the German Peace Society & Organization of War Resisters in Hesse and Iraq Veterans Against the War Europe demand that the criminal charges against Joe Glenton be dropped immediately and that he be released from the military without delay.
Protesters in eight countries – Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Turkey, UK and USA - have organised actions, ranging from pickets of their British Embassy or Consulate, to leafleting a town centre, to a radio broadcast, to a protest in front of the court martial itself. Details can be found here.
Connection e.V., DFG-VK Hessen and IVAW Europe. March 3, 2010.