Canadian immigration authorities have banned Chelsea Manning from entering the country, the whistleblower and former political prisoner announced on Twitter yesterday.
This comes just days after the cowardly decision by Harvard University to rescind its invitation to Manning to be a visiting fellow at the university in response to pressure by top current and former CIA officials.
Manning had attempted to enter Canada by car as part of a tour of North America, during which she planned to join protests against the fascistic former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous. However, she was stopped and detained by Canadian border guards overnight before being released back into the United States. Manning has announced her intention to challenge the decision in court.
According to a printed Canadian Immigration notice that Manning posted to her Twitter account, she has been barred from entering the country because she was “convicted of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.”
Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment under the World War I-era Espionage Act for passing on to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables detailing the machinations of US imperialism around the world, as well as a video of a US helicopter gunship gunning down Iraqi civilians and journalists. Her sentence was commuted by Obama on his last day of office only after she had been subjected to years of physical and psychological abuse and torture, which resulted in two suicide attempts.
The rationale given to justify Canada’s refusal to allow Manning to enter the country amounts to a government declaration that, if a member of the Canadian armed forces or intelligence services were to leak information exposing the crimes of Canadian imperialism, they would be arrested and tried on charges of treason in a similar fashion.
The barring of Manning from entering Canada exposes the phony populist pretensions of the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau. During the 2015 parliamentary elections, Trudeau postured as an opponent of government spying on Canadians, declaring that his government would amend the Conservative government’s hated Bill C-51 bill, which, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” grants sweeping powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The law was so draconian that even the Globe and Mail, the traditional mouthpiece of Canada’s financial elite, felt compelled to denounce it as a “police state” measure.
The Liberals’ proposed reform, Bill C-59, however, contains only toothless protections, while upholding the core provisions of Bill C-51 and granting Canada’s intelligence services new powers to wage offensive cyberwarfare. The Trudeau government’s bolstering of the powers of the intelligence community under the guise of “reforming” it mirrors the passage of the USA Freedom Act under the Obama administration, which systematized and expanded government spying under the guise of regulating it.
According to Manning, everything indicates the ban on her entry into Canada is meant to be a lifetime ban.
In response to her exposure of this anti-democratic measure, one moreover clearly meant to curry favour with the Trump administration, Liberal government officials have issued terse, non-committal statements. Nevertheless, they have made it clear they have no intention of reversing the ban.
“When a Canada border service officer has exercised appropriately within their jurisdiction the judgment that they are called upon to make, I don’t interfere in that process in any kind of a light or cavalier manner,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told the CBC.
Trudeau refused to comment, but said that he was “looking forward” to seeing more information about the case.