Ann Wright, you’re a retired Army colonel. You earned a Master’s degree in national security affairs from the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, later participated in the reconstruction efforts of US military actions in Grenada and Somalia. You went on to serve thirteen years in active-duty in the US Army, sixteen years in the Army Reserve at the rank of colonel. You went on to work at the State Department. You served as Chief of Mission at the US embassies in Afghanistan, which to voluntarily helped open, the embassy there, after the US attacked Afghanistan in 2001, served in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan. You got a State Department award for heroism for helping evacuate 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Is the US government or the Canadian government — how have they responded to your background? And also, elaborate further on the FBI database.
ANN WRIGHT: Well, they don’t consider my background at all, that I have had extensive experience, that the reason that I feel it is very important for me to be protesting is that I do bring both the military and a diplomatic background to my concerns about what’s going on in Iraq and potentially in Iran and certainly in Afghanistan, where I did serve in December of 2001. They don’t — although I would say that the immigration officer at the Canadian embassy found it very interesting that I had had all of this experience, but as he said, “It really doesn’t matter to us what your background is. As long as you arrive on that database, we really don’t question it.”
But what we’re asking the — we’re asking Canadian members of parliament to question whether or not their government should be — pardon me — just following wholesale anything the US government tells them to do. In fact, we have a letter from Olivia Chow, one of the members of Congress, that says in Canada, peaceful activity — “peaceful protest is not criminal activity, despite how some US agencies may regard it. In the future, I trust that people like Ms. Wright and Ms. Benjamin will be welcomed into Canada based on appropriate standards decided by the Canadian government and not by any other foreign body.”
And I think the Canadians are absolutely right. I think the Bush administration is really pushing down the throats of a lot of countries methods to control dissent here in the United States of America, and those countries ought to say to the Bush administration, “Stop this. We can determine who ought to be coming into our country and who should not, and not based on what you think they are doing in your country.”
AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Ann Wright, I wanted to ask you about the issue of torture, read more