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Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright


From Code Pink

Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired US Army Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition. At the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. They will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC to ask the Canadian government to reverse its policy of barring peaceful protesters.

The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

PRESS CONFERENCE:
WHEN: Thursday, October 4th at 1pm
WHERE: Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

"In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women's Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world," says Benjamin. "For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country."

"The FBI's placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies," says Colonel Wright, who was also Deputy US Ambassador in four countries. "The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country."

Both Wright and Benjamin plan to request their files from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act and demand that arrests for peaceful, non-violent actions be expunged from international records.

"It's outrageous that Canada is turning away peacemakers protesting a war that does not have the support of either US or Canadian citizens," says Benjamin. "In the past, Canada has always welcomed peace activists with open arms. This new policy, obviously a creature of the Bush administration, is shocking and we in the US and Canada must insist that it be overturned.

Four members of the Canadian Parliament--Peggy Nash, Libby Davies, Paul Dewar and Peter Julian-- expressed outrage that the peace activists were barred from Canada and vow to change this policy.

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I was denied entry into Canada in 2006 when I was working on peace issues in Aceh (the E.U. was threatening to end the Aceh Monitoring Mission before elections were held).

I tried crossing several times from Int'l Falls and was rejected w/ ridiculous excuses based on low-level data in the DHS database, shared with Canada. This low-level data violates the basic assumption of innocent until proven guilty.

Like Medea and Col. Ann Wright I have a few arrests from peaceful, non-violent protests, but it was police contacts that were not charged offenses that Canada admitted to using as the factor barring admission.

In the end, the Aceh Monitoring Mission was extended, and successful elections were held some months later, though I never made it to lobby E.U. embassies in Ottawa and Toronto.

-Soren Sorensen

There is no Buffalo-Niagra Falls bridge to Canada. There's a bridge in Niagara Falls called the Rainbow Bridge, a bridge in Lewiston called the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and a bridge from Buffalo to Ft Erie called the PEACE BRIDGE.

Sweet irony, I do hope it was the Peace Bridge.

not_over_it

In my opinion, not since "The Wall" by Pink Floyd has as Powerful an Indictment been made against the police-state by an artist than Earth Song by Michael Jackson, Recently but No Longer available on youtube (Copyright laws Enforced by Viacom, though I doubt Jackson himself sees and/or decides the proceeds or availability from over there in the UAE)... the video is, in my Classical Music Experience the single most profound condemnation of all that is Fascism, all that America has become! Though there are still some decent, adapted versions on youtube, the original says it all more than any other, no kidding! I've even come to believe, based almost entirely on this video that his persecution in the US was due to his popularity, especially as regards the World of People that we so cherish and are Represented in Earth Song. As Ann and Medea suffered the Tyranny of the Few Fascists Controlling our World today, there never the less is hope in the numbers of People who do get it and will stand to support them and a better World!

Give the Original video a view if at all possible,(?) LISTEN to the words, (absent the original, the live German one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS2Erv2Xqp4 has original video-feeds in the background set, and a surprising and spectacular conclusion!) and if you don't cry over and over as I have, make a comment here, I'd like to hear about how any Human Being can be Human without similar sentiments. This is worth 10 stress-free minutes of your busy lives.

ixoxi

Yes, well worth the ten minutes.

Thank you.

But most of it is tedious and maudlin.

The last two minutes, however, are more than redeeming.

The current trend in Washington's foreign policy cannot long be sustained without conscription.

Anyone young enough to be it's direct victims should watch this video:

http://zendik.org/Don't_Go/dontgo.html

(DON'T KNOW WHY I CAN'T GET THAT TO LINK, BUT YOU CAN CUT AND PASTE IT)

And heed these words:

“The question of the draft is, perhaps, the most important single issue debated today…

Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man’s fundamental right–the right to life–and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man’s life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. Once that principle is accepted, the rest is only a matter of time.

If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state’s discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom–then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man’s protector any longer. What else is there left to protect?”

—Ayn Rand

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_ayn_rand_aynrand_b...

“Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”

http://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Ideal-Ayn-Rand/dp/0451147952/ref=pd_sxp...

---The Bikemessenger

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