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L/Cpl Joe Glenton

January 26, 2010

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton was arrested for refusing to return to Afghanistan, leading an anti-war demonstration and speaking to the media in defiance of orders. He faces trial for charges which carry a sentence of up to 10 years.

Protest at Joe Glenton’s court martial hearing 29 January 2010
Joe appears before a judge for a preliminary hearing of his court martial on 29 January 2010. Stop the War will organise a picket of the court in support. The army has decided that the hearing will be held at Bulford Camp, about 10 miles from Andover, probably because it thinks holding it in Wiltshire will diminish media coverage. Stop the War will be organising transport to go to Bulford to give support to Joe. If you would be interested in going, please inform the Stop the War office: Call 020 7801 2768 or email office@stopwar.org.uk

From October’s Socialist Worker just after Glenton spoke at the London demo in 2009:

Joe hit the news last week after it was revealed that he was refusing to follow military orders not to attend the march.

Him coming could add to the case that the army is bringing against him for speaking out about the horror and illegality of the war.

But Joe told Socialist Worker, “It felt empowering to be on the demonstration. I was surrounded by like-minded people—from the military and ordinary walks of life.”

Joe is still stationed in barracks, and he lives with other soldiers during the week.

“I was slightly worried on Sunday night about going back in, but I thought I’ll just see what they thought.

“The response was fantastic. Soldiers shook my hand and patted me on the back.

“One guy said, ‘You’re saying what everyone else is thinking.’

“I think there has always been support for people speaking out, and it has raised a debate inside the army.”

Discontent over the intensifying war in Afghanistan has spread in the army over recent months—and it has had a deep effect in the ranks.

Joe said, “I feel like I’m strutting round, not tip-toeing, after hearing what the guys think.

“Talking to soldiers in other units, you get the impression that people are questioning why we’re in Afghanistan.”

In September, in addition to the original charge of desertion and intent to avoid active duty, the army wanted to charge Joe with bringing the army into disrepute by speaking out.

Joe and his legal team fought for this charge to be dropped—and they won.

Joe said, “I feel like we are in the ascendancy now. We’ve taken the initiative.

“We’ll have to see what happens in the coming weeks—if they bring more trumped up charges we’ll take them on.”

Joe is continuing to speak out and encourages others to do the same. “We have to start talking and demanding the details,” he said.

“Write to your MP for answers, get out on the streets, demonstrate and debate. Whatever people can do to stop this war, they should do it.”

More about Joe Glenton from Stop the War Coalition

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