--- Begin Message ---
Since when has it become "accepted" U.S. legal procedure
to CONTINUE to PUNISH those convicted of misdemeanors
--AFTER they've served their sentence and been released--
by placing long-term (1-year to 10-year) legal restrictions on
any exercise of freedom guaranteed by the Constitution:
freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement?
Theoretically, then, the US government can deny you, for a lifetime,
every freedom granted by the Bill of Rights for ... a DUI conviction.
Banned From Canada for a Year for War Protest
By Ann Wright
Tuesday 30 October 2007
The invitation said six members of the Canadian Parliament were to speak
October 25 on Canada's Parliament Hill as members of a panel called
Without Borders: Challenging the Post-9/11 Canada-US Security Agenda." I
arrived at the Ottawa airport on the morning of October 25 expecting to be met
three members of Parliament and to hold a press conference at the airport.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Codepink Women for Peace and Global Exchange,
was also invited by the Parliamentarians, but the previous day had been
arrested for holding up two fingers in the form of a peace sign during the US
of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in which Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice testified on Iraq, Iran and Israel-Palestinian issues.
The October 24 committee hearing began with Codepink peace activist Desiree
Fairooz holding up her red, paint-stained hands to Rice and shouting, "The
of millions of Iraqis is on your hands." As Capitol Hill police took her out
of the House hearing, Fairooz yelled over her shoulder, "War criminal, take her
to the Hague."
Shortly thereafter, two Codepinkers were arrested for just being in the room,
and brutally hauled out of the hearing by Capitol police. An hour later,
Medea and a male Codepinker were arrested for no reason. Four of the five had
stay overnight in the District of Columbia jail; Medea was one of those and
missed the trip to Ottawa.
I presented immigration officials our letter of invitation from the
Parliamentarians that explained Medea and I had been denied entry to Canada at
Niagara Falls border crossing on October 3, 2007, because we had been convicted
the United States of peaceful, non-violent protests against the war on Iraq,
including sitting on the sidewalk in front of the White House with 400 others,
speaking out against torture during Congressional hearings, and other
The Canadian government knew of these offenses as they now have access to the
FBI's National Crime Information database on which we are listed. The
database was created to identify members of violent gangs and terrorist
organizations, foreign fugitives, patrol violators and sex offenders -- not for
[misdemeanors by] peace activists peacefully protesting illegal actions of
The immigration officer directed me to a secondary screening, where my
request to call the members of Parliament waiting outside the customs' doors
denied. My suggestion that the letter of invitation from the Parliamentarians
might be valuable in assessing the need for me to be in Canada was dismissed
the comment that members of Parliament do not have a role in determining who
enters Canada. I suggested the laws enacted by the Parliament were the basis
of that determination. I added that the reason I had been invited to Ottawa by
Parliamentarian was to be an example of how current laws may exclude those
whom Canadians may wish to allow to enter. I also mentioned Parliament might
decide to change the laws immigration officials implement. I also suggested,
the Parliament provides the budget to the Immigration Services, they might
notify the Parliamentarians awaiting my arrival that I had been detained. The
officers declined to do so citing my privacy, which I immediately waived. The
Parliamentarians were never notified by immigration I had arrived and was being
detained. Only when my cell phone was returned to me by immigration officers
four hours later was I able to make contact with the Parliamentarians.
After nearly four hours of interrogation, I was told by the senior
immigration officer I was banned from Canada for one year for failure to
appropriate documents that would overcome the exclusion order I had been given
early October because of conviction of misdemeanors (all payable by fines) in
The officer said that to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for
entry for a specific event on a specific date, I must provide to a Canadian
Embassy or consulate:
-- the arresting officer's report,
--court transcripts and court documents for each of the convictions,
--an official document describing the termination of sentences,
--a police certificate issued within the last three months by the FBI,
--police certificates from places I have lived in the past 10 years (that
includes Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia),
--a letter acknowledging my convictions from three respected members of the
community (but those whom I would ask to write a letter were all convicted of
similar "offenses") and
--a completed 18 page "criminal rehabilitation" packet.
Additionally, besides obtaining the TRP, since I was being banned for a year
from Canada, I would have to obtain a "Canadian Government Minister's
consent." The officer said the TRP and the Minister's consent normally took
months to obtain. In the future, to be able to enter Canada without a TRP, I
would have to be "criminally rehabilitated" and be free for five years of
conviction of any offense, including for peaceful protest.
The senior immigration officer took my fingerprints for Canadian records,
escorted me to the airport departures area and placed me on the first plane
departing for Washington, DC. In the meantime, the members of Parliament
the press conference and the panel without my presence, but certainly using
the example of what had happened to me, and previously to Medea Benjamin, as
incidents that the Parliamentarians are very concerned about, specifically
government's wholesale acceptance of information in the FBI's database --
information that appears to have been placed there for political intimidation.
A participant on the Parliamentary panel I was unable to attend was Monia
Mazigh, the wife of Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who, when he transited New
York's JFK airport, was sent by US authorities to Syria where he was imprisoned
tortured for 10 months. The day before I arrived at the Ottawa airport, Rice
acknowledged the United States had "not handled his case properly." But Rice
did not apologize to Arar on behalf of the Bush administration during testimony
to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. The previous week
during a video conference, both Republican and Democrat members of Congress
offered apologies to Arar. Arar, an Ottawa telecommunications engineer, still
has a lawsuit pending against American officials. Arguments are scheduled for
November 9 in New York.
Many countries have succumbed to the behind-the-scenes, 9/11 pressure of the
Bush administration to enact extensive and expansive anti-terrorism laws to
increase "harmonization" and integration of security measures among countries.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government is mirroring the Bush administration's
use of security measures to increase control over dissent in their country --
and in other countries. Most of the new security measures are done through
administrative agreements, international joint working groups, regulations and
use of international organizations such as the G-8 and the International
Civil Aviation Organization. By using administrative regulations, the US and
Canadian governments avoid opening up the proposed restrictions of personal
to public scrutiny and debate by preventing such regulations from being
enacted in the Congress or Parliament.
Through these agreements with Canada and other G-8 countries, the Bush
administration is setting up a global infrastructure for the registration and
surveillance of populations worldwide, looking at every person as a suspect and
risk, whom must, in their opinion, as a precaution, be identified and tracked.
Ordinary legal protections fundamental to democratic societies such as the
presumption of innocence, rights against unreasonable search and seizure and
rights against arbitrary detention and punishment are greatly threatened by
Countries are accepting the "precautionary principle" and are gathering and
sharing information not only to track suspected "terrorists" but to stop
dissidents from flying and/or entering other countries, to stop activists and
intellectuals at borders. The Bush administration has refused visas for
academics from all over the world who have been invited to teach at American
universities, but whom have spoken and written against Bush -- the war in Iraq,
torture. and other violations of international law, e.g., detaining persons
without reasonable grounds and to send persons to third world countries and
s operated by the US government, where they are detained indefinitely without
charge, tortured and sometimes murdered.
The Canada-US Smart Border Agreement and Action Plan, an administrative
agreement signed in December 2001, is the master document for security
between Canada and the United States. The agreement calls for biometric
standards for identity cards, coordinated visa and refugee policy, coordinated
assessment of travelers, integrated border and marine enforcement teams,
integrated national security intelligence teams, coordinated terrorist lists,
increased intelligence sharing and joint efforts to promote the Canada-US model
After 9/11, the Bush administration, under the National Security Entry-exit
Registration System (NSEERS), registered and took biometric identifiers
(fingerprints) of all males age 16-45 with links to Muslim and Arab countries
visiting or traveling though the United States. Next, persons applying for
visit the United States had to submit biometric data (fingerprints) that will
be stored in a US database for 100 years through the new US Visitor and
Immigrant Status Indication Technology (US-VISIT) program.
The Bush administration expanded its biometric round-up on a global scale in
2002 by requiring all countries that want to retain their visa waiver status
with the US to require, by 2004, biometric passports through the Enhanced
Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002. In 2004, the International
Aviation Organization (ICAO) set a face recognition standard with fingerprint
and iris scans as optional standards. Beginning in 2005, the United States
and Canada have biometric passports with facial recognition.
We all want our countries to be safe from criminal actions. However, the
unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties and purposeful targeting of those
disagree with government policies must end.
I call on the US Congress to conduct hearings to determine who ordered the
FBI to place peaceful, non-violence protest convictions on the international
data base, and for what purpose.
It feels to me like purposeful intimidation to stop dissent -- but I can
guarantee you, it won't work!
To all those concerned about free speech, freedom to travel, ending an
illegal war, stopping torture, and other violations of domestic and
law, come to Washington and help us!!!
(For more extensive information on security agreements that unnecessarily
jeopardize our civil liberties, please see "Americanizing the Restriction of
Canadians' Rights - Security Overtaking Trade as a Driver of 'Deep
by Maureen Webb, _Canadian centre for Policy Alternatives_
Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army veteran who retired as a Colonel, and a
former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003, in opposition to the war on
She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra
Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001, she was on the small team
reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. The US Department of State has
delayed publication of her new book, "Dissent: Voices of Conscience," for over
three months. It will be published whenever the State Department finishes its
search for classified materials.
************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
DECLARATION & DISCLAIMER
CTRL is a discussion & informational exchange list. Proselytizing propagandic
screeds are unwelcomed. Substanceânot soap-boxingâplease! These are
sordid matters and 'conspiracy theory'âwith its many half-truths, mis-
directions and outright fraudsâis used politically by different groups with
major and minor effects spread throughout the spectrum of time and thought.
That being said, CTRLgives no endorsement to the validity of posts, and
always suggests to readers; be wary of what you read. CTRL gives no
credence to Holocaust denial and nazi's need not apply.
Let us please be civil and as always, Caveat Lector.
Archives Available at:
To subscribe to Conspiracy Theory Research List[CTRL] send email:
SUBSCRIBE CTRL [to:] [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To UNsubscribe to Conspiracy Theory Research List[CTRL] send email:
SIGNOFF CTRL [to:] [EMAIL PROTECTED]
--- End Message ---