Daniel Sandate was the second known US war resister to be deported after having first fled to Canada. (I was his lead civilian legal defense attorney in his court-martial at Fort Carson) After having been convicted of desertion, he was sentenced to 8 months of confinement. He is now free and living in Oklahoma City.
I asked Daniel to write a short statement to people in both Canada and the US on the importance of supporting Kimberly Rivera and other war resisters facing deportation in Canada. (Kimberly is currently facing deportation on March 26th) He gave me permission to share what he wrote . . .
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photo of Daniel Sandate, shot by James M. Branum
My name is Daniel Sandate. I was in a sense a simple soldier in the infantry that was deployed to Iraq. When there, I was subject to IED attacks and small arms fire. Upon my return, I was still subject to these things in my mind. They never escaped me.
Within us all, there is a place that one can find solace and peace. For such soldiers as myself that relive the horrors, such a place lays in ruins. Destroyed, this refuge is still guarded in the night from what dreams may bring. Time alone can not set the cornerstone for rehabilitation; when said soldier is ignorantly shunned by the service branch of which he or she may serve, the consequences are dire and sometimes deadly..
Upon my return from Iraq, I was stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado. Having being ignored for both my physical and mental ailments, I fled to Canada. In Canada, I went into hiding to avoid being found, but mostly, I was hiding from myself and the problems that I could not shake. After a serious suicide attempt, I was found and put into the system to be returned to the US Army's control. While in Canadian custody, I was promised by the US consolate in Canada that my mental health was "paramount". With that promising hope, I found myself fighting to return to military custody.
Once I was handed over to the Army, I was tumbled through the nightmarish processes of the military criminal justice system. With my ailments still effecting and limiting my body and mind, I was still denied the services that are said to be available by my rights as a soldier. Denied despite the fact that I was not yet found guilty. Denied to mental health treatment by both the Army and the jail that housed me while awaiting the condemning court-martial.
Irrepairable harm has been done. The Canadian Supreme Court has already ruled that Robin Long would not suffer such harm and was. As it is, presently, I am a prime example of the Army's failure to return quality service to the ones that do serve and have valiantly served it. I have suffered such harm. Not to malicious actions, but to apathetic necglect.
With this, I ask that you support such soldiers that are in Canada. Whether they are in hiding or fighting their appeals to be able to stay (to avoid prosecution for taking part in an illegal war). There are many reasons that a soldier runs. Like a trapped and neglected animal, a trapped and neglected soldier will run. To return a soldier (or any service member) to the impersonal machine that does not care for its own is, in my opinion wrong and morally irresponsible. Therefore I ask that those who feel the same reach out to support these soldiers in any way they can.
In summation, I ask that I be seen as an example of what happens when a soldier is kicked to the curb, so to speak, and is then punished for it. One such soldier that will face the same hardships is Kimberly Rivera. She is currently facing deportation and will be going through the same processes of custody that I had to endure.. One way that this can be avoided is if the people stand up and shine a light on these issues that are afflicting the servicemen and servicewomen and the ones around them. I call on to those with a conscience to stand up and voice their wants for radical reform to the governments that are apathetically doing these harms in the name of justice.
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