Retired Army Col. Ann Wright and one of America's leading peace activists, Medea Benjamin, have recently felt the bullying of the Bush regime. Both women have been vigorous practitioners of our freedom to speak out and assemble in opposition to government policies, using these freedoms to protest the war in Iraq. They've put themselves on the line and been willing to undergo several arrests for their nonviolent civil disobedience.
This is as American as the Fourth of July. Yet Wright, Benjamin, and civil libertarians everywhere were stunned to learn last August that Bush's FBI has suddenly turned this misdemeanor into a weapon of political intimidation, using it to bar the two women from traveling to Canada and perhaps to other nations.
When they tried to visit Canada, Wright and Benjamin were detained by Canadian customs officials and told that their names were on an FBI no-entry list. Even though this list is meant to stop fugitives, potential terrorists and violent felons -- not peaceful protesters -- they were told that they would have to apply for "criminal rehabilitation" and pay a fine if they ever wanted to enter Canada.
Unintimidated, the women have since tried to re-enter, this time at the invitation of five members of the Canadian parliament. to come speak to that assembly. Yet Canada's officials have bowed to the Bushites, honoring the FBI's no-entry list rather than respecting their own parliament's invitation to speakers. The FBI refuses to say why non-violent protesters are on a terrorist list.
Chillingly, the U.S. media have ignored this story, but you can learn more about this blatant assault on our freedoms by going to www.codepinkalert.org.