Anti-war soldier Joe Glenton has been imprisoned for his refusal to fight in Afghanistan.
A military court on Friday of last week sentenced him to nine months in the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester.
He has already served 28 days in military prison. The army says he will be released on 4 July.
Around 45 people attended an anti-war protest at the hearing. Campaigners had travelled from Cambridge, Norwich and London to join local people.
Bob Lambert, chair of Colchester trades council, joined the protest with a Unite union flag.
He told Socialist Worker, “Joe was right to stand up against the war and I’m here to support him.”
Judith had travelled from Bromley in south London. She said, “It’s appalling what’s happening in Afghanistan. The war has killed thousands of people and yet Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are still walking free.”
The court heard how Joe had tried to approach his army seniors with his concerns about the war.
On the two occasions he raised these concerns he was rebuffed—and then bullied.
Those in charge called him a coward and a malingerer.
Joe went Awol in June 2007. He returned to Britain after two years and handed himself in.
Joe spoke out against the war in Afghanistan, first in Socialist Worker, then to many other news outlets.
The military did not like the “bad press” and tried to gag him. It increased his Awol charge to desertion.
But Joe’s legal team and the anti-war movement put extreme pressure on the army and they eventually backed off from the charge of desertion.
The vast majority of people in Britain see the war as a failure.
But the ruling class is keen to peddle the message that the “war on terror” is a central priority.
Gordon Brown’s appearance at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war continued in this vein.
Brown said Iraq was “the right decision for the right reasons” and backed Tony Blair.
Britain claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and used this to justify war.
This was a lie.
Yet Brown claimed last week that Saddam Hussein “did not disclose, far less dismantle any of his weapons” after the UN’s resolution in November 2002.
Brown doesn’t want to seem politically isolated in the run-up to the war, because this would further weaken his credibility.
Some in the Labour Party like to believe that Brown was against the war.
Yet the fact remains that Brown funded the war and continues to publicly support it.
He has continued the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Joe Glenton is now held in a former prisoner of war camp.
We need more Joe Glentons and fewer gung-ho politicians.
Send letters and messages of support to Joe Glenton, Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp, Colchester CO2 9NU