One of the most lame and tiresome things about the American anti-war movement is the way some activists both spout off about how brave they are in speaking truth to power, and then complain about the legal penalties they suffer for breaking the law as part of their protests. Few seem to recognize that you can't be a martyr unless you suffer a little. For example, one penalty that a war protester ought to be able to take without too much whining is getting barred from entry into to Canada due to prior convictions.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Codepink Women for Peace and Global Exchange, was also invited by the Parliamentarians, but had been arrested the previous day for holding up two fingers in the form of a peace sign during the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified on Iraq, Iran and Israel-Palestinian issues.... I presented to immigration officials our letter of invitation from the Parliamentarians that explained that Medea and I had been denied entry to Canada at the Niagara Falls border crossing on October 3, 2007 because we had been convicted in 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 misdemeanors. 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 that was created to identify members of violent gangs and terrorist organizations, foreign fugitives, patrol violators and sex offenders-not for peace activists peacefully protesting illegal actions of their government... 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 international law, come to Washington and help us!!!
As this piece mentions, Benjamin has been denied entry to Canada before--so Code Pink is clearly familiar with the rules and the consequences. As to their complaints about the decision of the Canadian government to deny them entry, is that truly George Bush's fault? Liberals frequently complain that the United States does not treat our international partners with respect; would they have the U.S. government refuse to disclose information about U.S. criminals traveling abroad? Surely the government of our enlightened neighbor to the north can make its own decisions about whom to allow to enter. And as to that latter point, is it really all that surprising that Canada denies entry to a group that claims to be a non-violent protest organization, but which actually organized the violent anti-WTO protests in Seattle (which caused about $20 million in damage), and which has disrupted Congressional hearings and proceedings, as well as political conventions. Perhaps Code Pink ought to look at the bright side; who wants to go to Canada anyway?