I'm afraid I don't have the time to elaborate much on this email I just received. I just think it's important news to share. First all the nonsense with Rev. Yearwood, now they're blocking retired colonels and former diplomats from entering Canada. What the heck is going on??? (Rhetorical question, but you can answer in comments if you have the energy for it at this point.)
I hope the press conference tomorrow will be carried live, and/or live-blogged by someone in DC.
Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright
WASHINGTON - October 3 – Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK
and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired 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.
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.