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Author Topic: Vietnam-era war-resister arrested by US border guards
Hephaestion
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posted 11 March 2006 11:39 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
CBC Radio is reporting a 56-year-old man was arrested for "dodging the draft" several decades ago. He was arrested south of Cranbrook, and has been flown to California, where he is now in a military prison.

His wife is in shock, saying they have crossed the border numerous times, and never had trouble. (Apparently when Carter offered blanket amnesty years ago, her husband never applied.)

She thinks his arrest and charges have far more to do with "sending a message" to current day draft-age kids about Iraq than anything else...

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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 11:43 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hope we get his name soon. He's the same age as a good friend of mine I went to school with in Toronto, and he was a Viet Nam draft dodger as well. I also thought Pres. Carter gave a blanket amnesty, as my friend has been back to the US several times without incident. This will give a very deep chill to a lot of very good people.
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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 11:51 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quote: "She thinks his arrest and charges have far more to do with "sending a message" to current day draft-age kids about Iraq than anything else..."

Two questions:

There's no draft today, is there?

Is Bush thinking of implementing one?


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Hephaestion
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posted 11 March 2006 11:55 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Draft-age, BB. And no, she was phrasing it more along the lines of "they're trying to demonstrate that you can't get out of serving your country..." sort of thing. I think she was prolly also thinking of people like Jeremy Hinzman, too.

And if I hear a name, I'll post it...

[ 11 March 2006: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 12:06 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by Hephaestion:
And if I hear a name, I'll post it...

Please do. This story sends a chill through me, because I know a group folks from the 1960's who will be impacted by this story (they were by the Jeremy Hinzman story as well).


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skeptikool
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posted 11 March 2006 12:10 PM      Profile for skeptikool        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't doubt that there are dozens of lawyers prepared to freely represent this man.

To show that the defendant was of sincere belief that to have remained an active soldier would have made him complicit in a war crime, would be exceptionally embarrassing to the current U.S. Administration, given its contrived wars and bloody hands.


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Hephaestion
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posted 11 March 2006 12:26 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It hasn't embarrassed them any in the Hinzman case...
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skeptikool
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posted 11 March 2006 12:33 PM      Profile for skeptikool        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That name? Allen Abney, 56, of Kingsgate, south of Creston B.C.. He is now a Canadian citizen.

It will be interesting to see the Canadian Federal government response, if any.


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 12:35 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skeptikool:
That name? Allen Abney, 56, of Kingsgate, south of Creston B.C.. He is now a Canadian citizen.

It will be interesting to see the Canadian Federal government response, if any.


Don't know him. Monday, I'll send an email to External Affairs to make my voice heard, as if Peter MacKay could give a shit.

ETA: my apologies - I should give MacKay the benefit of doubt until we hear from him on this.

[ 11 March 2006: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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'lance
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posted 11 March 2006 12:39 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
There's no draft today, is there?

Is Bush thinking of implementing one?


Ronald Reagan brought in a requirement that eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds -- or nineteen- and twenty-year-olds, I can't recall -- had to register for Selective Service (or whatever it was called by that point) in case a draft was ever brought back into force.

So far as I know, this requirement to register was never rescinded. Can anyone correct me?

As for Bush bringing back a draft: he and his cabal, and some right-wing pundits, may fantasize about it, but I seriously doubt it'll happen, if only because too many powerful interests are against it.

Most of the Republican Party are against it because they know it'll be political suicide. (Those who haven't completely taken leave of their senses, that is, and I grant you that by this point that might no longer be "most" of the Republican Party).

Most of the US military are against it because they infinitely prefer volunteer, professional, relatively well-educated troops to conscripts. (I know -- many of the "volunteers" have few or no better options).


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 12:42 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think a letter-writing campaign on Allen Abney's behalf is something babblers should really get behind, because this is an absolutely outrageous act by the US. I'm sending an email first thing Monday morning to External Affairs (dunno if there's anyone in the office on weekends).
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'lance
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posted 11 March 2006 01:02 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just to be pendantic, it's Foreign Affairs now (the Hon. Peter MacKay, P.C., M.P., Minister). Here are MacKay's contact details:

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-6022
Fax: (613) 992-2337
E-Mail: Mackay.P@parl.gc.ca

Department:
Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building, Tower "A", 10th Floor 125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2
Telephone: (613) 995-1851
Fax: (613) 996-3443

Other contact options for DFAIT.

Mind you, when it comes to the likely usefulness in such a case of Foreign Affairs in general, and the Hon. Peter MacKay, P.C., M.P. in particular, the phrase "tits on a bull" springs to mind, as you yourself have suggested, Boom Boom.

But it's probably worth pressuring the bastards anyway, if only to remind them that pressure is a factor in politics.


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 01:15 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks, 'lance. Yes, there's a convergence over two threads. I think these two issues are extremely important.
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eau
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posted 11 March 2006 01:32 PM      Profile for eau        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are probably pouting because 8000 American military personnel have deserted from their nasty little war.

This man, Allan Abney, is 56 years old..its so petty its hard to imagine, just what the American taxpayers need, more money spent on their incarceration machine. He is now caught up in the even bigger Orwell/Bush machine and is probably described in the triplicate paperwork as a Canadian terrorist.

This is much like the Marc Emery case..when do we take a stand for Canadians..Arar, Emery and now add the name of Abney.

Its worth asking McKay if he will stand up.

[ 11 March 2006: Message edited by: eau ]


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jeff house
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posted 11 March 2006 03:59 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am told that Mr. Abney was a deserter, not a draft dodger. This distinction means nothing in reality, but in US legal practice means a lot.

Draft dodgers were amnestied by Presidents Ford and Carter. Deserters got a near-amnesty which required them to report back to their units for ritual debasement, followed by a requirement that they do some small amount of community work as a fig-leaf "penalty" to cover up the fact that they were right to desert.

For about twenty-five years, people have crossed the border without fear, even if they had never reported back to their units.

Now, the powers that be in the US have decided to make an example of old deserters as a way of discouraging new deserters. But I doubt that it will have much affect. So, it's just ritual cruelty by Inspector Javet/Bush, who himself avoided the war using his family connections.


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M. Spector
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posted 11 March 2006 04:18 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The story I heard on CBC radio yesterday said he was a deserter. It also said the US had offered amnesty to deserters, but you had to apply for it. This guy never did.

I find it hard to comprehend why in 2006 any Canadian resident would risk entering the USA, but for an unpardoned deserter to do so just seems totally foolish.


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 04:22 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by M. Spector:
I find it hard to comprehend why in 2006 any Canadian resident would risk entering the USA, but for an unpardoned deserter to do so just seems totally foolish.


Maybe he was desperately trying to get away from this guy:


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 05:06 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
U.S. arrests B.C. man who fled Marines in 1968


An East Kootenay man who deserted the U.S. Marine Corps almost 40 years ago is in a California military jail this weekend facing a possible court martial after he was arrested Thursday by U.S. border guards in Idaho on an outstanding warrant dating to 1968.

Allen Abney, 56, of Kingsgate, a small community about 25 minutes south of Creston, was travelling in the U.S. on holiday with his wife at the time of his arrest, his daughter Jessica said in a telephone interview Friday.

Abney, a Canadian citizen, had passed through the border countless times since he deserted the U.S. Marines in 1968, in opposition to the war in Vietnam, Jessica said.

On Thursday, however, he was detained by U.S. border guards after his name showed up on a federal database during a routine records check. He was held overnight by civilian authorities in Idaho before being transferred Friday to U.S. Marine Corps custody and sent to Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he now faces penalties under U.S. military law.

(it's a long story - click on link to read the rest)


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Boom Boom
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posted 11 March 2006 05:39 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"They [the government] are using Mr. Abney as a sort of example of what could happen to them, and what they should be afraid of," said Zaslofsky. "Mr Abney does not deserve to be made an example of. Apparently, he is a fine person and a good citizen of Canada and we think that it is just vindictive, really."
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goyanamasu
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posted 11 March 2006 05:43 PM      Profile for goyanamasu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I find it hard to comprehend why in 2006 any Canadian resident would risk entering the USA, but for an unpardoned deserter to do so just seems totally foolish.

But I think it makes sense. We could speculate and project into the minds of others and bounce around objections until the thread is blocked for length . . .

The first sign we'll see re: the direction this Allen Abney case is going will be when we know the conditions in the brig during his detainment. Is he going to be held incommunicado until a lawyer is found? Can his wife visit, bring letters and carry communications out to the rest of the world? These are the things to watch.

I'm not for throwing cold water on speculation as such. I wonder if Abney presented a Canadian passport when he crossed at the border. Officials make much of this gesture when a dual citizen crosses. Secundo, did he apply to 'not lose' his US citizenship in becoming a Canadian?

Of course he deserves as much support as we can muster. But also, if the defense of 'a Canadian citizen' can be built fast and tight, maybe by some precedent-setting miracle he can be released from the brig. The best-case scenario IMHO is not to put the Vietnam war on trial (we don't really know whether he was a deserter of conscience or no) but to pressure Canada to defend its citizens anywhere in the world against the politico-military machinations of their country of origin.

This will have a chilling effect on a number of men approaching 60 for sure. But the obvious was already stated: it's about any war the US has, will or wants to wage anywhere.


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goyanamasu
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posted 11 March 2006 06:53 PM      Profile for goyanamasu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bumped again. Last attempt to link with 'Out of Canada' thread.
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Boom Boom
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posted 12 March 2006 08:43 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anything new on this story at all? I'm going to try an email tomorrow to Foreign Affairs to see what they're doing about this.
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Boom Boom
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posted 12 March 2006 09:03 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
CBC Online has this: Canadian held for deserting U.S. marines in 1968

In 1968, Abney was a 19-year-old marine when he fled to Canada because he didn't want to fight in Vietnam.


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unionist
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posted 12 March 2006 09:23 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have the Liberals, Cons, NDP, or Bloc spoken out on this issue?

Or are there no votes to be earned, so who gives a shit?


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skeptikool
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posted 12 March 2006 11:09 PM      Profile for skeptikool        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
unionist,

quote:
Have the Liberals, Cons, NDP, or Bloc spoken out on this issue?
Or are there no votes to be earned, so who gives a shit?

If those with the power over the life of this CANUCK feel pushed, it may make his treatment all that more vindictive. Therefore the politicians are probably wise not to come on too strong until they have some clue as to the intent.

I'm more disgusted at those puffed-up turds of bureaucrats at the border seeking Brownie points, who could have averted their eyes but seem to have little concept of hounding.


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Boom Boom
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posted 12 March 2006 11:12 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm trying to get more information so I can write an intelligent email to the Foreign Affairs dept but the Amerikans aren't commenting yet so far as I can tell. I'll go with what I have and see what response I get, if any.
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Boom Boom
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posted 12 March 2006 11:18 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Arrest highlights urgency of Canadian sanctuary for U.S. war resisters

"The War Resisters Support Campaign is deeply concerned about what has happened to Allen Abney. Many of our supporters are, like him, Vietnam War
resisters. We will do what we can to support him and to help him regain his freedom as soon as possible," said Lee Zaslofsky, Coordinator of the Campaign.

ETA: there's a discussion ongoing at the end of this link (above).

[ 12 March 2006: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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Boom Boom
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posted 12 March 2006 11:41 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Related article: Decades later, Marines hunt Vietnam-era deserters

excerpts:

Thirty years after the war ended, hundreds of Vietnam-era deserters are still on the loose. Conti’s attorneys, Louis Font and Tod Ensign, say the Pentagon, and the Marine Corps in particular, are cracking down on long-term cases in an effort to warn current-day troops in Iraq against deserting.

“They just need to declare amnesty for everybody from a certain time back or from certain conflicts,” says Smith, Conti’s friend. “These guys ... just had issues, as we all did back in the ’60s.”

Military officials maintain that those who deserted the service are liable under law, no matter how unpopular a war was. “We actively investigate ‘all’ cases of desertion,” says Fred Hall, a spokesman for the Naval Personnel Command. “For each of the active deserters we have on our rolls — 1,190 as of 31 Jan. ’06 — there is a federal warrant out for their arrest.”

[ 12 March 2006: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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Boom Boom
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posted 13 March 2006 12:26 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jeff House was part of CBC's coverage of this story tonight. Good work, Jeff.
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Américain Égalitaire
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posted 13 March 2006 12:31 AM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When I was in basic training in 1987, our drill sergeants made it very plain to us that Uncle Sam had long, long arms and could reach out and grab our ass whenever they wanted to.

Am I surprised at this? No. I've heard of these cases before. The prosecution is simple vindictiveness and to set an example - to spread fear among those in the service now as has been written above.

I guess the lesson is - once you get to Canada STAY IN CANADA. Hell, I wouldn't even fly over US airspace to get to Europe if I was these guys.


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josh
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posted 13 March 2006 09:59 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, as Jeff House indicated, Carter in 1977 pardoned draft evaders, but not deserters. It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction from the Harper government. Who knows, maybe there the ones who snitched on the guy.

And, yes, registration is still required for 18 year olds.


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Boom Boom
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posted 13 March 2006 04:15 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No response from MacKay's office to my email. I'll try again tomorrow, and to every Foreign Affairs email address I can find.
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Boom Boom
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posted 13 March 2006 11:20 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heard from a friend tonight listening to the news that apparently he's going to be "administratively separated" from the Marine Corps, i.e., given a dishonourable discharge, after his time in military jail.
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Webgear
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posted 20 March 2006 10:00 PM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Deserter says he was treated well by U.S. army

"Knowing what I know now, I never would have done what I did 38 years ago."


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Cueball
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posted 20 March 2006 10:04 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is a vague sentiment.
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al-Qa'bong
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posted 20 March 2006 10:13 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I believe the original quote was "While calmly sipping his Victory Gin under the spreading chestnut tree, Abney said 'Knowing what I know now, I never would have done what I did 38 years ago.'"
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goyanamasu
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posted 20 March 2006 10:38 PM      Profile for goyanamasu     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps some consideration should be given to not putting place of birth on Canadian passports. To a US Border Guard, seeing the native place on a foreign passport always sends them into a double-take.

As someone in this thread hinted, Abney's defense may have been strengthened as this was the first time he entered the US with a Canadian passport. The other times he probably wasn't even asked for ID.


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