Independent Media Centre Ireland

Confronted by WikiLeaks Revelations-Plymouth Royal Navy medic refused to deploy to Afghanistan

category international | anti-war / imperialism | other press author Sunday April 03, 2011 08:28author by Ciaron - Giuseepe Conlon House, London Catholic Workerauthor address Plymouth, England

They're in the Dock for Us, We're on the Loose for them!

As was the case with Gulf War 1, more serious resistance to the present wars on Afghanistan and Iraq has come from within the military in the United States & Britain than from the anti-war movements in civil society. A culture of solidarity is not evident in either countries anti-war movements. Military resisters often end up isolated and demoralised by anti-war movements that incite them to resist and then abandons them! Support those who are offerig solidarity to military resisters "Courage to Resist" "Bradley Manning Support Group"

ENGLAND SAT APRIL 2 -Confonted by WikiLeaks Revelations - Plymouth Royal Navy medic refused to deploy to Afghanistan

Plymouth Royal Navy medic refused to deploy to Afghanistan

Saturday, April 02, 2011, 07:00

A ROYAL NAVY medic appeared before a court martial yesterday on a charge of wilful disobedience after he refused on "moral grounds" to deploy to Afghanistan.

Leading Medical Assistant Michael Lyons, of Plymouth, refused to carry out rifle training ahead of deployment, stating that he was a conscientious objector.

Last December, the 24-year-old became the first person to appear before the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors (ACCO) for 14 years.

It is understood that the committee rejected his claim but the court martial heard yesterday that he was still awaiting formal notification from Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

The hearing was told that his was only the third court martial to be held with conscientious objection as a defence.

The ACCO heard that Lyons decided he could not serve in Afghanistan after he read the Wikileaks' revelations about the conflict.

Lyons, who comes from a military family and was the great-grandson of a decorated Second World War hero, told the committee: "I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country.

"It was a big dilemma. Soon after, a large number of military documents were leaked by WikiLeaks.

"Examples included a convoy of marines tearing down a six-mile highway, firing at people with no discrimination.

"Being in the military, most people's view was you just have to go out there and do what you're told to do.

"I came to the conclusion I couldn't serve on a moral ground and I couldn't see any political reason for being there."

He said that he was further put off when he learnt he might not be able to treat everyone, regardless of who they were.

He said: "It seems from previous testimony and courses I've done that even going out as a medic with all good intention, if you're at a patrol base or forward operating base, it's likely you'll have to use your weapon and will have to turn civilians away who are in need of medical aid."

He added: "If more people in my position stood up, there would be a lot less innocent lives lost around the world."

The court martial hearing at Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, was adjourned for a further preliminary hearing on April 14.

The previous court martial cases involving conscientious objection as a defence are Muslim reservist Mohisin Khan, from Ipswich, who refused to serve with the RAF as a medic.

He lost his appeal for going absent without leave (Awol) in 2004.

In the other case, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, from York, last year lost his appeal against a nine-month jail sentence after he went Awol prior to his second deployment to Afghanistan.

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Comments (2 of 2)

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author by Ciaron - Plowshares/ Catholic Workerpublication date Mon Apr 04, 2011 05:47author address author phone

In my experience as an anti-war prisoner (2 years..U.S. NZ, OZ, Ireland) and 30+ years organising solidarity around anti-war trials and prisoners....the courts and the prisons are desgined to isolate, break, destroy, make invisble the dissident (ideally to get him/her to recant). Most important thang right now is to make his name of Michael Lyons heard - scrawl it, mention it, celebrate his resistance wheneever ya at an anti-war event anywhere, bring a placard with his name on it celebrating his resistance, (if ya faithbased pray out loud at church, temple, mosque)

When ya sitting in jail, and court, ya need to be hearing that there are brothers and sisters on the outside acting up and speaking out against the war (not a lot of that happening at the moment...this 10 year war lost its sex appeal on this site, in @ scene, in the churches, NGO's on "the left" aong time ago...the war/s is/are speeding up and the anti-war movement (more like remnant!) slowing down!

If ya'd like to start a letter writing campaign (a postcard is enought to break the isolation for the resister) send it now care of Giuseppe Conlon House...I'll try and find a present address on the outside down there in Plymouth - if not I'll save 'em up and send them on once he hits the brig, lock up whatever the Navy calls it over here?

Army folks go to Colchester (listen to Joe Glenton about the significance of receiving mail when he was there last year)..not sure where British Navy dissidents go...this might be the first one for this war...maybe they're not sure where to ut him yet either?

Michael Lyons
Peace Prisoner
c/- Giuseppe Conlon House (for eventual redirection)
49 Mattison Rd.
N4 1 BG

Ciaron - Giuseepe Conlon House, London Catholic Worker
home Homepage:

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author by Jerry Ebner & Omaha CW - Support Community for Mark Kenneypublication date Fri Jun 10, 2011 08:27author address Omaha, Nebraska, USAauthor phone

Previous posting: "Headed to prison today, activist explains
nonviolent witness: A journey from the U.S. Navy to Duluth FPC" NCR -
Mark Kenney reports for six month jail sentence for Aug 9 "line
crossing" at STRATCOM

Got a letter from Mark Kenney today. Will type and publish it around
later but soon.

Here is his address for postal mail writing:

Mark Kenney #140 18-047
FPC Duluth
6902 Stebner Road
Duluth, MN. 55814

+++ Down since April 27 - Mark welcomes letters

Jerry Ebner & Omaha CW - Support Community for Mark Kenney

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