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Amy Goodman Detained at Canadian Border; Guards Demand Notes For Speaking Event

Border guards held Goodman and her colleagues for an hour and a half, searching their belongings and telling them they could only stay in the country for two days.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, today we begin with a look at Canada's attempts to stifle dissent, particularly when it comes to the Winter Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver next year.

Last week, I was detained by Canadian authorities while crossing the Canadian border. It was Thanksgiving. I was on my way, along with two of my colleagues, to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, when Canadian border guards held us for over an hour and a half at the border. Well, it was the top story of the CBC news in Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Here’s the report on CBC on Wednesday.

[Video clip of CBC news report]

CBC NEWS ANCHOR: Are Canadian border guards trying to limit speech? An American journalist is outraged about what happened to her on the way to Vancouver last night. She was detained and questioned about what she was planning to say about the Olympics. Our “Go Public” reporter, Kathy Tomlinson, has the exclusive top story.

KATHY TOMLINSON: An award-winning U.S. journalist, Amy Goodman is well known in alternative media circles.

[Video clip of Amy Goodman appearing on MSNBC's Hardball]

AMY GOODMAN: I didn't know we needed to have even a visa coming into Canada.

KATHY TOMLINSON: Here to promote a book.

AMY GOODMAN: Clearly he wasn't going to let us go.

KATHY TOMLINSON: She wasn't sure she'd get in.

AMY GOODMAN: They took the passports and then said, "Pull over."

KATHY TOMLINSON: You were flagged right off the bat?

AMY GOODMAN: Uh, yeah.

KATHY TOMLINSON: Goodman was grilled at the Peace Arch border Wednesday, asked repeatedly what she'd be talking about.

AMY GOODMAN: I said, because we have a big health care reform debate going on in the United States, we were looking at Tommy Douglas, but he still wanted to know what else I would be talking about. And I said, "And I'll be talking about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."

KATHY TOMLINSON: She says they were only interested in what she'd say about the Olympics.

AMY GOODMAN: He made it clear by saying, "What about the Olympics?"

And I said, "You mean when President Obama went to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics in Chicago?"

He said, "No, I’m talking about the Olympics here in 2010."

I said, "Oh, I hadn’t thought of that."

And he was clearly incredulous that I was not going to be talking about the Olympics. He didn't believe me.

[Video/audio clip of Amy Goodman being detained at the 2008 Republican National Convention.]

KATHY TOMLINSON: Goodman's been detained before at the U.S. Republican Convention, arrested with dozens of others, covering protests outside.

Here she says her car and laptop were searched.

AMY GOODMAN: They took a photograph [inaudible].

KATHY TOMLINSON: Then she was issued this, which says she must leave Canada Friday.

AMY GOODMAN: I said, "Is this routine?" He said, "This is what we’re doing."

KATHY TOMLINSON: The Canada Border Services Agency says it won't talk about this, citing privacy.

AMY GOODMAN: I felt under siege. I felt monitored and surveilled. I felt, as a journalist, violated.

KATHY TOMLINSON: We wanted to ask the government if this is part of a broader initiative to question and perhaps restrict people with certain political views coming here around the Olympics. The Canada Border Services Agency didn’t respond to our request for an interview.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That report from Kathy Tomlinson of CBC. But, Amy -- Thanksgiving -- tell us more about exactly what happened when you were stopped.