Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Support Justice For Code Pink

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Stop the Spying!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Support Justice For Code Pink


How come war criminals like Bush are allowed into Canada, but peace activists aren't?

Why are Canadians blindly accepting FBI lists as gospel?

Are Canadians willing to help the Bush regime criminalize dissent by barring peace promoters' entrance into their country?

No other country has used this list to bar these women.

Canada used to be a haven for peace activists during the Vietnam era, a place where Americans could go to escape the madness of war. No longer.

On October 4, 2007, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel/ diplomat Ann Wright were denied entry to Canada because they have engaged in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against the war in Iraq.

The Canadian border officials said the women's names appeared on the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, and anyone convicted of a criminal offense, including a minor misdemeanor for peace and social justice, was "inadmissible."

This, to us, is unacceptable. We can't sit back and watch our civil liberties erode, one by one. We can't sit back and let peace activists be treated like dangerous criminals.

We have crafted a petition urging the FBI to stop including minor non-violent offenses on a database meant for serious crimes, and the Canadian government to reverse its policy and extend a warm welcome to U.S. peacemakers and other social activists who use the time-honored tradition of engaging in civil disobedience as a way to change unjust policies.

Please join Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and 100 US and Canadian leaders by
signing our petition here and sending the link to your friends and family. We will deliver all of your signatures directly to the Canadian Parliament; where Medea and Ann have been invited to speak--if they can get into the country!

To find out more about the situation, as well as the press it has received, please
click here.

October 4, 2007: Ann Wright, retired U.S. army colonel and former diplomat who quit in opposition to the Iraq war, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and founding director of Global Exchange, tested Canada's policy towards US peace activists on Thursday.

They were on their way to Toronto at the invitation of the
Toronto Stop the War Coalition but were denied entry into Canada due to previous arrests for demonstrating against the Iraq War outside the White House and in the Capitol. Their names have been added to FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database that apparently dictates Canadian border policy.

The border agents at the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls who barred Medea and Ann said the mere fact that they were listed on the NCIC was sufficient to bar them from entry.

“This is outrageous. I'm appealing to Canadians not to treat peaceful activists like common criminals. I travel all over the world on a regular basis and Canada is the first country to use the NCIC to keep out people like us,” said Medea.

Her sentiments were echoed by NDP MP Olivia Chow, who represents the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina. She said it was “absurd” to bar entry to anti-war activists. “These are not terrorists; why do we have to protect Canadians from them? We should not be allowing the FBI or Mr. Bush to dictate our entry policy.”

"I am alarmed to learn that Canadian border police are enforcing rules that have been determined by the FBI and other U.S.-based agencies," Chow wrote to Stephen Brereton, Canada's consul general in Buffalo, N.Y. "In Canada, peaceful protest is not a criminal activity, despite how some U.S. agencies may regard it."

Both Ann and Medea have previously visited Canada for anti-war meetings, sometimes at the invitation of Canadian activist groups or political parties. As recently as August, Medea had been admitted into Canada without problem.

Ann, meantime, was allowed into Canada on a three-day temporary visa in August to protests talks between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President George W. Bush on the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

"First, the FBI should not have put us on that list," Ann told a news conference Thursday outside the Canadian Embassy. "And secondly, the Canadian government should not be doing the dirty political intimidation work for the Bush administration by using that database."

"Canada is the first country, to our knowledge, that is using this beefed-up database of the FBI as its criteria for judging who enter, which is why we consider this so outrageous and dangerous," said Medea. "If Canada starts to do this and keeps out people like us, maybe other countries will do it as well. We think it's important to stop this right away."

Using Canada's criteria, even civil rights leader Martin Luther King wouldn't have made it into the country, she said. "We think this is absurd. It's outrageous. It must be reversed."

"While we are fighting with our own FBI to get these offences off the list, we hope that friends in Canada will push the immigration service to start using common sense and to allow us back in."

Thank you for helping us open these gates.

With dedication to peace without borders,Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sarah

This week's action to Stop the Next War Now
Sign our petition calling on the Canadian government to allow peacemakers into the country

Pledge to Stop the Next War Now in October

Look Who's Signed our Petition!

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