Friday, October 05, 2007

Could YOU be on the "FBI List"?

You won't know until you try to cross the border... even coming back home from somewhere.

Politics n Poetry and Creekside were the first to flag the story of the American Code Pink activists who were detained and refused entry at our border this week. There's something strange and disturbing going on, as a pattern of this kind of bullshit has begun to emerge.

This is the second time in a month that an American peace activist has been hassled and/or arrested at the Canada/US border. The first was Alison Bodine, arrested September 13 during a routine border crossing, supposedly on an immigration warrant. I thought it might have been one of those weird mistakes that sometimes happen... you know, when you neglect to mail in a form or something (*head explodes*). I myself have been detained and feverishly questioned by border security thugs (my criminal intent: to buy a block of cheddar cheese), so I know shit happens and try not to jump to conclusions. But when shit happens a second time, it starts to look like it's not an anomaly:
"Two high-profile American peace activists on Thursday accused the Canadian government of denying them entry into Canada solely because of past arrests in the U.S. for peaceful protests against the war in Iraq.

Medea Benjamin, founder of the women's peace movement CodePink, and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright were detained for several hours by Canadian authorities at the border crossing between Buffalo, N.Y. and Niagara Falls, Ont., then turned back because their names appeared on an FBI database detailing their misdemeanour convictions." [...]

"The two women were en route from Buffalo to Toronto on Wednesday to meet with Canadian anti-war activists when immigration officials denied them entry.

According to Benjamin and Wright, the Canadian authorities informed them they could not enter Canada because their names appeared on the FBI's National Crime Information Center database."

The women had records of minor misdemeanours stemming from past peace protests (ie. a $50 ticket that was paid). It's sad but not surprising that peaceful protest has become an criminal offense in the USA, given that peace seems to be anathema to the current administration. That's bad. Worse still if Canada's New Government™ is following their USian mentors down that road. But what's really disturbing is Canadian border security citing information from the FBI database... now what exactly does the FBI database have to do with Canada?

Maybe a lot more than we think.