[Marxism] RAF doctor jailed for refusing to serve in Iraq
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 13 07:15:13 MDT 2006
RAF doctor jailed over Iraq refusal
Staff and agencies
Thursday April 13, 2006
An RAF doctor was jailed for eight months today after being found guilty by
a court martial today of failing to comply with lawful orders to serve in Iraq.
Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, 37, who likened the invasion of
Iraq to a Nazi war crime, was convicted by a panel of five RAF officers on
five charges including refusing to serve in Basra. He will also be
dismissed from the service.
Mr Kendall-Smith, who has dual British and New Zealand citizenship and is
based at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire, Scotland, had argued at the court that
the on-going presence of US-led forces in Iraq was illegal.
He told the military hearing in Aldershot, Hants, that he refused to serve
in Basra, Iraq, last July because he did not want to be complicit with an
"act of aggression" contrary to international law.
"I have evidence that the Americans were on a par with Nazi Germany with
its actions in the Persian Gulf. I have documents in my possession which
support my assertions," he told the court. "This is on the basis that
on-going acts of aggression in Iraq and systematically applied war crimes
provide a moral equivalent between the US and Nazi Germany."
Mr Kendall-Smith, who tutored in philosophy at a New Zealand university,
added that he refused to take part in training and equipment fitting prior
to the deployment because he believed these were "preparatory acts which
were equally criminal as the act itself".
Following his sentencing to a military jail, Mr Kendall-Smith's solicitor,
Justin Hugheston-Roberts, said his client was "shocked" and "distressed" by
the judgment. The RAF doctor would appeal against the conviction and
sentencing, he added.
"He has asked me to say that he feels now more than ever that his
conviction was justified. He said this still has a long way to travel and
he will now concentrate his efforts on that task," Mr Hugheston-Roberts said.
During the hearing, David Perry, prosecuting, said the case against Mr
Kendall-Smith was that the orders were lawful and he had a duty to obey
them as a commissioned officer.
He added that the question of the invasion of Iraq was irrelevant because
it occurred prior to the charges, which date back to last year. And he said
that at the time of the charges, the presence of coalition forces in Iraq
was unquestionably legal because they were there at the request of the
country's democratically-elected government.
The charges faced by Mr Kendall-Smith are that on June 1 2005 he failed to
comply with a lawful order to attend RAF Kinloss, Moray, for pistol and
rifle training, failed on June 6 2005 to attend a helmet fitting, and
between June 12 and 24 2005 failed to attend a training course.
He also denies failing to comply with an order to attend a deployment
briefing at RAF Lyneham on June 30 2005 and failing to comply with an order
to replace a squadron leader for Operation Telic in Basra, Iraq, on July 12
Mr Kendall-Smith told the court that he considered the war in Iraq to be
the equivalent of an "imperial invasion and occupation". He said he was
extremely disturbed by America's "imperial campaign of military conquest",
which was in direct conflict with his duties.
He added: "It struck me as incongruous and disturbing that the US air force
published the phrase 'global power for America' on their documentation
during the conflict. I found that the phrase 'global power for America' was
Mr Kendall-Smith denied he had refused the order because he did not want to
be posted overseas.
Philip Sapsford, defending, said that Mr Kendall-Smith followed in the
footsteps of the Anzac soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who joined
the Allied forces in the two world wars by joining the RAF in August 2000.
"I have the honour to present to you an officer of impeccable character. He
has an exemplary record. He served Her Majesty the Queen and her country
not once, not twice but three times," he said. "He could have followed an
easier route, the conscientious objector route, but he had not chosen to go
down that route. He could have and would have been deployed anywhere in the
Mr Sapsford also read to the court the words of the late Robin Cook to the
House of Commons when he resigned his post as Foreign Secretary. He said
that Mr Kendall-Smith agreed with Mr Cook's position that the invasion of
Iraq did not have the approval of the ruling international bodies of the UN
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