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  • Alison Bodine Update: US Anti-War Activist Ordered Out of Canada, Barred For Two Years

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on November 3, 2007

    Alison Bodine update(see previous posts):

    by Mark Hume

    VANCOUVER – An anti-war activist who has cast herself as a political victim in a battle with the Canada Border Services Agency was ordered to leave the country yesterday after an Immigration Board hearing concluded she had misled officials.1101 02

    Alison Bodine, whose cause has generated street rallies, letter-writing campaigns by MPs and MLAs, and a petition containing 3,000 signatures, held back tears in the hearing room as she signed an exclusion order after the ruling by adjudicator Mark Tessler.

    Then she went outside to meet her supporters and declared, “Justice comes on the street, not in a hearing room.”

    But what was said in the hearing room raised questions both about the actions of border officials and Ms. Bodine’s motives.

    The case began on Sept. 10, at about 2 a.m., when Ms. Bodine, a U.S. citizen and a central organizer with a Vancouver organization called Mobilization Against War & Occupation, presented herself at the Peace Arch border crossing, just north of Blaine, Wash.

    Canadian Border Services officer Kelly Emmott refused Ms. Bodine entry after determining that she did not have proof of funds with her, that she had no evidence of ties to the U.S. and that her car was loaded with backpacks, a bike and what officials described as a wooden “hope chest” containing personal items.

    Ms. Emmott suspected a move to Canada was in the works, although Ms. Bodine said she was coming for a short visit.

    Ms. Bodine, 22, a recent University of British Columbia graduate who has a boyfriend in Vancouver and who had a possible job waiting for her at Simon Fraser University, said she was stopped because of anti-war pamphlets in her car.

    Several hours after returning to the U.S., she approached the border again, with only one backpack in her car. The rest of her bags had been transferred to a vehicle being driven by her boyfriend, Andrew Barry, who was following her.

    Ms. Bodine was quickly waved through. But when border officials questioned Mr. Barry, they saw the baggage in his car and identified it as being hers. When she subsequently returned to pick up that seized material, she was arrested – triggering the admissibility hearings and sparking a growing protest movement in Vancouver.

    In his ruling, Mr. Tessler said there was little doubt Ms. Bodine deliberately misled border officials by off-loading her bags, and by failing to alert officials to the fact she’d been turned away earlier.

    But he questioned the initial decision by border officials to refuse her entry.

    “I am rather bewildered by that decision,” he said, because there is nothing to stop someone from entering Canada for a dual purpose. That is, Ms. Bodine could have been coming to Vancouver for a short visit, but with several bags and plans of later applying to stay in the country.

    He said, however, it was not within the hearing’s scope to determine whether Canada Border Services Agency acted appropriately in initially turning Ms. Bodine away. The only issue at hand, he said, was the question of whether Ms. Bodine had misrepresented herself.

    He found that she had, saying she was “playing fast and loose” with border officials. He also said there was no evidence border officials acted because of her political views.

    But Ms. Bodine remained defiant.

    “They shouldn’t have arrested me at all,” she said outside. “What the Immigration adjudicator ruled on upstairs was completely a technicality that they’ve chosen to pursue based on the fact I’m a political organizer. … I will not be allowed back in Canada for two years, for political organizing, for raising my voice, speaking out against war and occupation.”

    Asked if her numerous bags, her pending job interview and the presence of a boyfriend in Vancouver signaled a desire to move here, she replied, “Eventually yes, I do want to live here in Canada.”

    © 2007 The Globe and Mail

    CASE UPDATE #20 – ALISON BODINE DEFENCE COMMITTEE
    Thursday November 1, 2007

    http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com |
    defendalisonbodine at hotmail.com
    778.891.1470 | 604.339.7103 | 778.882.5223

    POLITICALLY TARGETED ANTIWAR ACTIVIST ALISON BODINE
    ORDERED BANNED FROM CANADA FOR 2 YEARS!

    ALISON BODINE DEFENCE COMMITTEE CONTINUES CAMPAIGN TO
    DEFEND ALISON AND ALL ANTIWAR AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
    ACTIVISTS UNDER ATTACK!

    ** ALISON BODINE DEFENCE COMMITTEE MEETING
    Thursday November 1st
    6:30pm
    Large North Hall of Joe’s Café (corner of William St &
    Commercial Dr

    After 7 weeks of campaigning to have all Canada Border
    Services Agency (CBSA) charges against her dropped, US
    antiwar activist Alison Bodine received the
    Immigration & Refugee Board decision on her case Wed
    Oct 31st. Currently Alison Bodine is Co-chair,
    executive committee member and spokesperson of
    Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) in
    Vancouver, BC. The day started out very strong with
    more than 100 supporters rallying outside the
    Citizenship & Immigration Canada building downtown
    before the decision was released. Major news media,
    including radio, television stations and newspapers
    also attended to hear Alison speak at the press
    conference as she unveiled the more than 3,000
    petition signatures demanding that all charges against
    her be dropped. Dozens of supporters as well as media
    representatives accompanied Alison upstairs to the
    hearing room. Once it was filled to capacity,
    supporters began to fill the overspill room to watch
    the announcement by video link.

    After reviewing the case, the adjudicator from the
    Immigration & Refugee Board (IRB) announced that he
    would uphold the CBSA charge of ‘misrepresentation’
    against Alison and issued an ‘exclusion order’ against
    her. The ‘exclusion order’, the order that she must
    leave Canada, will take effect on Saturday November
    17, 2007 and states that she cannot return for two
    years. This unjust ruling is clearly the CBSA’s next
    step in escalation of the attack on Alison and the
    campaign of attacks on the democratic and human rights
    of antiwar and social justice activists and all
    non-status people in Canada.

    The political harassment and targeting of Alison
    Bodine began with intimidation and harassment by CBSA
    agents when she was searched at the US-Canada border
    on September 10th and has continued over 7 weeks of
    legal delays and processes up to this point. Now this
    attack on a representative of all antiwar and social
    justice organizers has been taken to the next level
    with the IRB decision. The ruling attempts to keep
    Alison from traveling to Canada to work with antiwar
    organizers here in Canada, much like when two CODEPINK
    Women for Peace organizers were denied entry in to
    Canada several weeks ago. They were on their way to
    attend a meeting with the Toronto Coalition to Stop
    the War. The CBSA is partaking in the attempt by the
    governments of Canada and the US to keep antiwar
    organizers from both sides of the border from uniting
    and working together.

    Supporters of Alison’s case rallied, chanted and
    cheered after hearing the news of the decision, vowing
    to organize against the unjust decision and not to
    take this setback as a defeat. The Alison Bodine
    Defence Committee (ABDC) will explore all possible
    legal avenues while continuing the political campaign
    against the attack on Alison and against attacks on
    all antiwar and social justice activists. The ABDC
    will hold a meeting Thursday November 1st and invites
    all those interested in the defence of human and
    democratic rights to join us!

    *******************************
    ALISON BODINE DEFENCE COMMITTEE MEETING
    Thursday November 1st
    6:30pm
    Large North Hall of Joe’s Café (corner of William St &
    Commercial Dr
    ***************************

    ALISON BODINE DEFENSE COMMITTEE

    UPDATE #21
    THE CASE OF POLITICALLY TARGETED ANTIWAR ACTIVIST ALISON BODINE GOES INTERNATIONAL!
    ALISON BODINE DEFENCE COMMITTEE DEMANDS:
    LIFT THE BAN! STOP THE REMOVAL OF ALISON BODINE!

    On October 31st, the Immigration & Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) ordered US antiwar activist Alison Bodine banned from Canada for 2 years and news of the unjust and politically motivated ban has already spread around the world. Alison Bodine was targeted as a political activist based on the antiwar materials in her car, harassed and arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency in September 2007. Currently Alison Bodine is Co-chair, executive committee member and spokesperson of Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) in Vancouver, BC. The October 31st decision orders her to leave Canada by November 17th and the Alison Bodine Defence Committee has vowed to fight it.

    By the end of the day on October 31st, the story of the antiwar activist banned from entry for two years by Canada border officials had already been published by the Canadian Press news agency and the West Island Chronicle, a Montreal-based newspaper.

    On Thursday November 1st, the story went worldwide and was run by the AP-Associated Press, a newswire serving 121 countries around the world and the MSNBC newswire, one of the largest online news providers in the US. The popular online news source Common Dreams also featured a story about Alison’s case as did PR-inside (Pressemitteilung), a news service based in Vienna, Austria. The story was also printed locally by the 24hrs Newspaper in Vancouver, the Province Newspaper, the Globe & Mail. For full details on media coverage of the case, please go to http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com

    The political harassment and targeting of Alison Bodine began with intimidation and harassment by CBSA agents when she was searched at the US-Canada border on September 10th and has continued over 7 weeks of legal delays and processes. The IRB decision and ban attempts to keep Alison from traveling to Canada to work with antiwar organizers here in Canada, much like when two CODEPink Women for Peace organizers who were denied entry to Canada two separate times in October 2007. The women were coming to Canada to participate in antiwar speaking events and meetings. The CBSA is partaking in the attempt by the governments of Canada and the US to keep antiwar organizers from both sides of the border from uniting and working together to make the US and Canada antiwar movements stronger.

    The Alison Bodine Defence Committee (ABDC) is exploring and pursuing all possible legal avenues while continuing the political campaign against the attack on Alison and against attacks on all antiwar and social justice activists! In the next week, the ABDC is organizing a legal defence fundraiser, a public forum to discuss the developments and future work of the campaign. The ABDC is also launching another appeal for support letters against the removal and a petition campaign to demand “Lift the Ban! Stop the Removal of Alison Bodine!” Details on events and activities will be at http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com.

    ***********************

    Contact the Alison Bodine Defence Committee:
    defendalisonbodine@hotmail.com 778 891 1470
    778 882 5223
    604 339 7103

    Check the blog for all updates and upcoming actions!
    http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com

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