Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ohhh, Scary...Don't let Her In!

This is Ann Wright. She is a former U.S. Army officer and State Department Deputy Chief. She's now a peace activist, against the Bush debacle called Iraq, that we watch from afar.

She and Medea Benjamin, two pretty high profile activists were detained at the Peace Bridge border crossing on Wednesday, then turned away. Why? Because the FBI, that oh so above reproach entity, has put these women on a list called the "National Crime Information Center". Their crime? Peaceful demonstration which as far as I know is still legal here, unless of course Harper decides that it's not.

Benjamin said border agents zeroed in on her conviction for trespassing for trying to deliver an anti-war petition to the U.S. mission to the United Nations on International Women's Day.
She paid a $50 fine.
"It was that conviction that was the grounds for being held and kept out."

This is ridiculous and really raises alarm bells for me in terms of how we on this side of the border are being either strong armed, or forced by the current government to lose our independent application of law. To use a Harper favourite term, our sovereignty.

The latter seems to be the case here, based on this comment:

Canadian border agents, said Benjamin, were "almost apologetic" about using the strict criteria with the two peace activists, who were on their way to a meeting with the Toronto Stop the War Coalition.
"I think they recognize that this policy is ridiculous. They said to us: 'We know you're not dangerous people.' One of them said he too thought the war was terrible," she said.

This idiotic climate of fear and bending over backwards to do all that the US asks of us, has to be exposed and stopped now. I saw Stockwell Day, (with Harper and Clement) announcing his "tough" stance on drugs today and he was asked about this issue. Typically, he dodged, ticked, smirked and and said nothing, while calling the reporter by name, 3 times. I swear that man goes to "nasty" media school every day.

Anyway, this is just one more step in the wrong direction. I appreciate that it was reported on and well I think, but it will be lost tomorrow. Wrong. These issues must be kept in focus. Somehow everything this government is doing is flying under the radar and it will only get worse if we do not focus on it.

Let's hope these women speak about this issue at home and embarrass our current government. I hate being shamed on the world or continental stage, but Harper started this ball rolling and the sooner more Canadians start realising what he's doing, the better.


Gayle said...

Not only is peaceful protest not a crime in Canada, but neither is trespassing.

One police state coming right up!

knb said...

It's creepy isn't it Gayle? To my way of thinking, it's scary because it's not spoken to.

I do not think most Canadians know how much we have integrated ourselves with US systems.

It's a story that needs to be told.

Prentice was apparently surprised this week at how long it took to get through the border. Surprised? Where the hell has he been? I thought he was one of the closest's beings to Harper, involved in most decisions.

Police state...I know that sounds exteme and it's the stuff that trolls shift their drool to, but there is merit here.

Witness the drug program announcement today. I'll likely speak to it tomorrow, but to listen to that trio today... cue "Leave it to Beaver".

That said, there is merit in hitting dealers, how that is defined remains to be seen.

Gayle said...

KNB - I know you will post on the drug platform, but let me say this.

In my line of work I deal with drug addicts, and drug dealers, all the time.

To some extent I applaud Harper's initiative, assuming it comes to pass. There is nothing wrong with increasing funding to treatment programs, particularly youth programs where funding is seriously lacking. Of course it all depends on where this funding goes. If it goes to provincial institutions (here in Alberta we have AADAC - which I think stands for Alberta Alcohol and Drug Awareness Commission). Anyway, they have tons of money but I have yet to meet anyone who beat their addiction using these programs.

There is also nothing wrong with going after drug dealers - so long as that is limited to people who deal drugs in order to make money. Most street level drug dealers deal in order to fund their own addictions, and it would be unfair to treat them in the same was as commercial traffickers, particularly since Harper voiced his sympathy and concern for drug addicts yesterday.

That is why minimum sentences are a bad idea - because they capture all drug traffickers in the same net, instead of allowing the courts to determine which ones need jail, and which ones need our sympathy and help.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Harper know these criminals/dealers/gang members continue to do business behind bars?

And, continue when they get out again.

knb said...

Gayle, to be frank, I think I'll wait to see what they come up with, specifically as it relates to the legislation, before commenting.

I'm not against all aspects of the announcement, but like you, I do have a problem with minimum sentences if it is all encompassing and I'm also not happy about the apparent direction he's going re' harm reduction.

We'll see when he put's the meat on is latest skeleton.