Source AP ©

U.S. peace activists denied access into Canada

FBI-run database says that two U.S. peace activist previously arrested for protesting the Iraq war are connected to terrorism and felony.

Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright's query comes after the two women were denied entry to Canada, which also relies on the National Crime Information Center database to screen visitors. When they visited Canada in August, they were told they would have to apply for "criminal rehabilitation" and pay $200 (EUR140) if they wanted to visit again. Neither did.

On Wednesday, Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, and Wright, a retired Army colonel, walked into Canada at Niagara Falls to test whether they really would be denied entry because of their anti-war-related arrests.

They were.

"We are certainly no threat to the Canadian people," Benjamin said.

Benjamin said she and Wright, who resigned as a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia in 2003, planned to protest at the Canadian embassy in Washington on Thursday and to ask the FBI to remove the protest charges from the NCIC database.

The protesters believe the inclusion of activists' names in the database is a form of political intimidation of people opposed to Bush administration policies.

FBI spokesman Paul Moskal said that while the FBI maintains the database, the data is supplied by arresting agencies and others.

John Curr III, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union in Buffalo, said that by relying on the database to screen visitors, Canada is participating in the administration's suppression of free speech.

"The Canadians accepted wholesale once you're on the list, you don't get into Canada," Wright said shortly before walking across the Rainbow Bridge into Ontario. She and Benjamin spent 2 1/2 hours in the customs inspection area before being sent back to the United States.

Derek Mellon, a spokesman with the Canada Border Services Agency, said he was unable to comment on Wright and Benjamin specifically, but said all foreign visitors must meet longstanding admissibility requirements, such as having valid travel documents and a clean criminal record.

Canada generally refuses entry to anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense, regardless of the nature of it, he said. Those with convictions, however, may apply to be rehabilitated, which involves filing paperwork and paying a processing fee ranging from $200 (EUR140) to $1,000 (EUR700).

"We welcome millions of American visitors every year," he said.

In an exclusive interview with Pravda.Ru, US filmmaker talks to Edu Montesanti on the presidential elections in the Caribbean country, and its importance to Latin America. "The left will come back in Latin America, more likely sooner than later," says Oliver Stone

Exclusive Interview: Oliver Stone on Venezuelan Election

In an exclusive interview with Pravda.Ru, US filmmaker talks to Edu Montesanti on the presidential elections in the Caribbean country, and its importance to Latin America. "The left will come back in Latin America, more likely sooner than later," says Oliver Stone

Exclusive Interview: Oliver Stone on Venezuelan Election
Comments
The ayatollahs now fear the collapse of the Iranian economy
12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia
Venezuela may expect another Panama scenario from 1989
12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia
Exclusive Interview: Oliver Stone on Venezuelan Election
Russia will not be the only country to use Crimean Bridge
Kremlin wants foreign invaders out of Syria
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
Germany responds to USA's ultimatum about Nord Stream 2 project
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
Russians massively break traffic rules on Crimea Bridge
International study indicates ways to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture
12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia
The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season
12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia
12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia
Argentina suggests Putin should reinstate gay propaganda for World Cup 2018
International study indicates ways to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture