List of Iraq War resisters

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Jeremy Hinzman first American Iraq war deserter to seek refugee status in Canada.

Some soldiers of the coalition forces have refused to participate in the Iraq War. The following is a list of the more notable military personnel who have refused to participate in the Iraq War, broadly categorized by the reasons they themselves give.

Objectors who moved to Canada[edit]

Background of Iraq War resister[edit]

Some deserters chose Canada as the place of refuge in part of the closeness of the US-Canada Border, entry to Canada is easy and because of the prior decision by the Canadian Cabinet, when headed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, to allow draft dodgers into Canada without prosecution during the Vietnam War.[citation needed]

Legal and political[edit]

Pursuant to the Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on Mutual Legal assistance in Criminal Matters, US authorities can request Canadian authorities to identify, locate, and take into custody of US nationals who have committed crime that carries a possible sentence of more than a year[1] and subsequently be extradited back to US, pursuant to Extradition Treaty Between the United States of America and Canada.[2] However, the government of the United States must promise those extradited will not receive death penalty, in accordance with the ruling of United States v. Burns from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Because the possibilities that deserters have been issued with arrest warrant back in the United States and pursuant to those two agreements above, they are liable for arrest in Canada unless they legalize their status. This can be done by pursuing a refugee claim, about which the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will hold a hearing and determine the validity of the claim. If refused, the claimant can appeal to the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, and finally the Supreme Court of Canada, if leave is granted.

However, if the refugee claim is refused and subsequent appeals do not overturn the decision made by IRB, the claimant must leave Canada within 30 days under a removal order.[3] If the claimant does not leave Canada within 30 days or failed to confirm departure details with Canada Border Services Agency, it automatically becomes a deportation order, enforceable by any peace officer in Canada.[4]

Objectors who remain in Canada[edit]

List from these references:[5][6] and public information sourced from List of Resister Profiles at "Courage to Resist" website[7] which gives evidence that these military personnel are refusing to participate in the Iraq war.

Objectors granted stay of deportation pending further decisions[edit]

  • Corey Glass – On July 9, 2008, the Toronto Star reported that Corey Glass "is [now] permitted to remain in Canada until the Federal Court makes a decision on ... cases for judicial review."[14] He was transferred to the IRR where he remains under Army jurisdiction until they discharge him.
  • Jeremy Hinzman
  • Matt Lowell (October 27, 2008[15] and January 6, 2009[16])
  • Kimberly Rivera – On August 11, 2009, she was granted a new "Pre Removal Risk Assessment" hearing with a new officer.[17]

Objectors granted new IRB panel to reconsider applications for permanent refugee status[edit]

("IRB" is Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada)

Objectors deported from Canada or left because of deportation order[edit]

Objectors who had applied for legal refugee status[edit]

  • Robin Long – On July 16, 2008, the Toronto Star reported that Long "was ordered out of [Canada] last week after he failed to comply with bail conditions imposed when he missed an immigration hearing last year. He was deported yesterday."[28]
  • Chris Teske – January 23, 2009, Teske was the first war resister to be forced out of Canada who applied for legal refugee status, did not "fail to comply with bail conditions" (as Robin Long did), and yet was still issued a deportation order.[29]
  • Clifford Cornell – In January 2009, Cornell experienced some legal events.[30][31] On February 4, 2009 Cornell "was arrested on Wednesday after crossing the border from Canada into Washington State." [32] On February 23, 2009, Cornell was charged with the crime of desertion with the intent to "avoid hazardous duty and shirk important service"[33][34] On April 29, 2009, Clifford was convicted of "desertion" and sentenced to one year in prison."[35][36]

Objectors who had not applied for legal refugee status[edit]

  • Daniel Sandate – Deported at Niagara Falls, Canada on July 16, 2008,[37] after having been in Canada for over 2 years. He was later court-martialed at Ft. Carson and given an 8-month prison sentence.[38][39] Sandate released a written statement in prison about his opposition to the war in Iraq.[40] He was released on January 20, 2009, at Ft. Sill, OK, and spoke publicly about his experience at a press conference in Oklahoma City on January 22, 2009.[41][42]
  • James Ashley – On December 23, 2008, the Toronto Star reported the following:"A 28-year-old man accused of deserting the U.S. army has been caught by Canadian police and turned over to U.S. authorities in Michigan. James Ashley was returned to the United States on Monday at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. U.S. Customs spokesman Ron Smith says it's not clear if police caught Ashley at the bridge or elsewhere in Ontario. Smith says there's an arrest warrant for Ashley out of Fort Riley, Kansas."[43] It is unclear whether or not Ashley had intended to legalize his status by pursuing a refugee claim with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, or whether he had yet to do so. (See Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)

Objectors who willingly returned to the US without deportation order[edit]

  • Darrell Anderson – Fled to Canada after 7 months in Iraq.[44] Returned to US without court-martial[45]
  • James Burmeister – Returned to US, turned himself in to authorities, was convicted of desertion July 16, 2008, and was sentenced to 9 months in prison.[46] He was released October 28, 2008, after three months and 10 days in prison.[47]

Objectors claiming the war is illegal[edit]

  • Ben Griffin – British SAS soldier who believes the war in Iraq is illegal and that the government lied about the wars conduct.[48] He was allowed to leave the army with no charges filed against him.[49]
  • Malcolm Kendall-Smith – A British unit medical officer for the RAF who refused to deploy on the belief that the war was unlawful.[50][51] He was charged with and convicted of 5 counts of refusing a lawful order.[52][53] The judge in his case rejected the defense that the war was illegal, saying that the UK armed forces had full justification under United Nations resolutions to be in Iraq at the time of the charges and that a crime of aggression could not be carried out by such a junior officer.[54]
  • Wilfredo Torres[55]
  • Ehren Watada

Conscientious objectors[edit]

For purposes of this list, the determination of conscientious objection is made by the individual, not a government. It is frequently the case that individuals and governments disagree on the status.

In June 2013, Josh Stieber and numerous celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.[66][67]


Punishments given to Iraq War resisters[edit]

Name Country Date Convicted Convicted of Sentence Actual Prison Time
Stephen Funk United States Sep 6, 2003 Unauthorized absence 6 months 6 months
Camilo Mejia United States May 21, 2004 Desertion 12 months 9 months
Abdullah William Webster[74]

(Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience”[75])

United States Jun 3, 2004 Failing to obey commands from superior and missing brigade’s movements 14 months 11 months
Kevin Benderman United States Jul 2005 Missing movement by design, Desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty 15 months 13 months
Malcolm Kendall-Smith United Kingdom Apr 13, 2006 Refusal to obey a legal order 8 months plus fine, etc. 2 months plus other penalties
Agustin Aguayo

(Amnesty International "Prisoner of Conscience"[76])

United States Mar 6, 2007 Desertion 7 months
Ryan Jackson[77] United States May 30, 2008 Desertion 100 days
***James Burmeister [46]

(Returned to the US without being given a deportation order.)

United States Jul 16, 2008 Desertion 9 months 3 months and 10 days[78]
***Robin Long[79]

(Applied for legal status; given a deportation order.)

United States Aug 22, 2008 Desertion with the intent to stay away permanently 15 months 12 months[80]
Tony Anderson[81] United States Nov 17, 2008 Desertion 14 months
***Daniel Sandate (imprisonment began July 16, 2008; ended January 20, 2009) [38][39][40][41][42][82]

(Did not apply for legal status; was deported.)

United States Nov 17, 2008 Desertion 8 months 6 months
***Clifford Cornell[35][36]

(Applied for legal status; given a deportation order.)

United States Apr 29, 2009 Desertion one year, later reduced to 11 months[83][84] 11 months (Released January 16, 2010)[83][85]

"***" – Was in Canada as an Iraq war resister

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on Mutual Legal assistance in Criminal Matters Archived February 5, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Extradition Treaty Between the United States of America and Canada
  3. ^ The refugee system: Refugee claims in Canada – after applying
  4. ^ Government of Canada (2002). You Asked about ... immigration and citizenship. Queen's Printer for Canada. p. 66. ISBN 0-662-66679-8. 
  5. ^ War Resisters Support Campaign webpage|
  6. ^ Now (newspaper) January 8–14, 2009, pg 6
  7. ^ "Courage to Resist"
  8. ^ Shephard, Michelle (September 6, 2008). "U.S. deserter feared torture orders". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 26, 2009. 
  9. ^ Newspaper
  10. ^ Vince Beiser (August 26, 2004). "Just Deserters?". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  12. ^ Camille Bains (October 19, 2099). "US war resister first to take sanctuary in Canada after being ordered deported". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2009-11-10.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (October 19, 2009). "War resister takes refuge in Vancouver church". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  14. ^ Kyonka, Nick (July 9, 2008). "War resister's deportation on hold". The Star. Toronto. 
  15. ^ London war resister Lowell gets stay on deportation – Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ we move to canada: war resister update: matt lowell, kim rivera
  17. ^ "U.S. war deserter given another stay of removal". CBC News. August 11, 2009. 
  18. ^ Perkel, Colin (July 4, 2008). "U.S. deserter wins appeal". The Star. Toronto. 
  19. ^ "U.S. deserter wins appeal". [dead link]
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  24. ^ Byrne, Ciara (June 3, 2009). "War deserter Joshua Key says he will be treated unfairly if sent back to U.S.". The Canadian Press, and Metro International (Vancouver). Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  25. ^ laura k (wmtc blog) (June 5, 2009). "joshua key irb hearing, part one". Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  26. ^ Serba, Andrew (June 3, 2009). "Hazing, persecution cited in U.S army deserter’s bid to stay in Canada". NewsFIX (Toronto Community News). Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  27. ^ Joshua Key being interviewed on June 2, 2009, by Janette Luu, the host for CANOE Live, a local TV program on Sun TV in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Video on YouTube
  28. ^ Kyonka, Nick (2008-07-16). "Other war resisters undaunted by expulsion". Toronto Star. 
  29. ^ Lazurak, Suzanne (January 23, 2009). "Let deserters stay, activists urge". The Vancouver Province. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  30. ^ Bellaart, Darrell (January 24, 2009). "U.S. army deserter gives up his fight to stay in Canada". Canwest News Service / Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
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  32. ^ "Gabriola war-resister arrested at border in Washington". Nanaimo Daily News. February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2009. 
  33. ^ [Coastal Courier "Soldier charged with desertion" |]
  34. ^ Bynum, Russ (February 26, 2009). "U.S. soldier charged with desertion after returning from Canada". The Associated Press (also Sun News Canada). Retrieved 3 March 2009. [dead link]
  35. ^ a b "U.S. war deserter, who lived in B.C., sentenced". Montreal Gazette, Nanaimo Daily News. April 28, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009. [dead link]
  36. ^ a b [5]
  37. ^ Corsaro, Kevin (July 16, 2008). "CBP Officers Arrest Suspect in New York Wanted for Military Desertion". USA Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2009. 
  38. ^ a b Courage to Resist – Mentally ill soldier sentenced to 8 months in stockade
  39. ^ a b Daniel Sandate | War Resisters' International
  40. ^ a b [6]
  41. ^ a b blue oklahoma:: OKC peace community welcomes war resister Daniel Sandate
  42. ^ a b Dean, Bryon (January 25, 2009). "Oklahoma soldier's choice offers a lesson". NewsOK, powered by The Oklahoman. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  43. ^ "Accused U.S. deserter turned over at border". Toronto Star. December 23, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  44. ^ Mascolo, Georg; von Ilsemann, Siegesmund US Military Personnel Growing Critical of the War in Iraq, Spiegel Online, January 17, 2005
  45. ^ "Soldier who fled to Canada released by U.S. military". CBC News. October 6, 2006. 
  46. ^ a b Kyonka, Nick (July 17, 2008). "American army deserter given nine months in jail". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 20, 2009. 
  47. ^ Courage to Resist – James Burmeister
  48. ^ Rayment, Sean (March 12, 2006). "SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq". London: The telegraph UK. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  49. ^ Rayment, Sean (March 12, 2006). "'I didn't join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy'". London: The Telegraph UK. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  50. ^ Leppard, David (October 16, 2005). "RAF officer faces jail over ‘illegal war’". The Sunday Times (UK), October 16, 2005. London. Retrieved October 17, 2005. 
  51. ^ Halfpenny, Martin (March 15, 2006). "RAF doctor faces court martial over stand on Iraq". The Independent, March 15, 2006. London. Archived from the original on May 14, 2006. Retrieved March 19, 2006. 
  52. ^ "Jail for Iraq refusal RAF doctor". BBC. April 13, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  53. ^ "RAF doctor jailed over Iraq refusal". London: The Guardian UK. April 13, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  54. ^ "RAF doctor must face Iraq court martial". London: Daily Mail Online. March 22, 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  55. ^ Wilfredo Torres (November 11, 2002). "Statement of Pvt. Wilfredo Torres". Vietnam Veterans Against The War. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  56. ^ USA: Prisoner of conscience: Agustín Aguayo (m) | Amnesty International
  57. ^ Zucchino, David (February 7, 2005). "Breaking Ranks to Shun War". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  58. ^ "Soldier Who Refused Iraq Duty Is Sentenced". The Los Angeles Times. July 29, 2005. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  59. ^ "Military Service in the United States of America: Issues of Conscience and Human Rights". War resisters' international. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  60. ^ "Ricky Clousing". Seattle Draft and Military Counseling Center. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  61. ^ Laurie Goodstein (October 13, 2006). "A Soldier Hoped to Do Good, but Was Changed by War". New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  62. ^ Diedra Cobb (May 26, 2003). "A Military Resister's Words on Memorial Day". Vietnam Veterans Against The War. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  63. ^ Rogers, Rick (December 7, 2004). "Sailor opposed to Iraq war refuses to board ship". Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  64. ^ Weill-Greenberg, Elizabeth (March 4, 2005). "Saving Paredes". Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  65. ^ About « Contagious Love Experiment
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^ USA: Prisoner of conscience: Abdullah William Webster | Amnesty International
  69. ^ Support Sue and Abdullah Webster punished for refusing to kill in Iraq
  70. ^ Kyonka, Nick (July 17, 2008). "American army deserter given nine months in jail". The Star. Toronto. 
  71. ^ "Army Reservist Ghanim Khalil, Announces that He'll Refuse to Deploy". Citizen Soldier. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  72. ^ The Women’s War, New York Times, March 18, 2007
  73. ^ Lee Nichols (August 6, 2004). "Naked City". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
  74. ^ [7]
  75. ^ [8]
  76. ^ [9]
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  79. ^ Kyonka, Nick (August 23, 2008). "Iraq war resister sentenced to 15 months". The Star. Toronto. 
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  82. ^ [13]
  83. ^ a b Darrell Bellart (December 22, 2009). "Army deserter's sentence cut with aid of Canadian support". Nanaimo Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  84. ^ [14][permanent dead link]
  85. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (January 16, 2010). "War deserter released from U.S. prison". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 

External links[edit]