Saturday, July 30, 2011

US: There's No Point In Having Power If You Don't Abuse It

I find the details in this report quite staggering, but rather than have a big rant about America's vindictive, and in this case, the extraordinary pettiness displayed in the abuse of its power, I think I might just as well approach the story from a different angle.

Taken from my little collection of saved one-liners.

But then, no other government can hold a candle to the range and variety of enemies the U.S. has created from scratch as part of official policy.

But I think Jimmy Carr, although talking about Simon Cowell, puts it slightly more succinctly, just a case of swapping Cowell for the US.

Mexican Professor Not Allowed to Fly Over U.S. Territory
By Matthew Rothschild
July 28, 2010

A week ago, a distinguished leftwing professor in Mexico was trying to fly from Mexico City to Europe. But when she entered U.S. airspace very early on July 21, the U.S. government ordered the plane to return to Mexico because it considered her a security risk.

Raquel Gutierrez Aguilar is a professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla. She actively protested the privatization of water in Bolivia in 2000.

Gutierrez Aguilar objects strenuously to the actions of the U.S. government that ruined her travel plans.

Here’s her account of what happened.

“The flight was going normally until a little after midnight when the captain said that we would be returning to Monterrey because US airspace had been closed off,” she wrote. “To my major surprise, when we landed in the city a little past one in the morning on July 21, a flight attendant approached me and asked me to show identification. I showed it without any problems. . . . Once she saw my name she asked me to collect my things and accompany her to the door of the airplane. When I got to the door of the plane with all of my luggage there were a few Mexican federal police and two or three employees of Aeroméxico that asked me to identify myself again and to leave the plane. I told them I was not leaving until they explained to me what was going on. They said that ‘the United States government had refused the plane because I was on it.’ ”

Gutierrez Aguilar then said that Mexico’s “federal police, in a very intimidating way, asked me to hand over a copy of my passport to them.” After an hour and a half, they let her go.

“What I felt most deeply was a kind of shock, a deep vulnerability that basically pushed me to want to get to safety,” she wrote. “I also felt an endless anger: how could it be that they are taking me off of a plane? How can these ‘United States authorities’ behave with such despotism? Why are we tolerating it? How do we protect ourselves against these things that they can do to us with such impunity and insolence?”

Gutierrez Aguilar wants answers.

“We demand that US authorities explain the danger that would have been caused if the passenger in seat 17J had flown 30,000 feet above the United States,” she wrote. “We are asking our US friends and compañeros to help us. We want an explanation. How is this woman dangerous? How does she threaten the security of Mrs. Smith in Alabama or Miss Jones in Boston when the passenger would have been flying over their houses? We want these “authorities” to explain what they’re doing. We want them to explain to us how or why they decided what they decided, because their decisions are not only foolish, but also far too arbitrary.”

So I called the Department of Homeland Security. I tried Customs and Border Patrol first, and then was passed around to the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA issued the following statement: “The United States has the authority to deny access to U.S. airspace. For security reasons, we will not discuss the details surrounding when or why access is denied.” The Progressive

Off topic, but here's a little extra on the abuse of power. Two things that caught my attention in this six minute news round-up from Tom Hartman. Blatant voter disenfranchisement and the collecting of personal data under the guise of The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011


Anonymous said...

Privacy busting legislation a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power”.


Himself said...

If the fascistas want the library records of your dangerous and subversive reading, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to settle for nothing less than the full monty when it comes down to your internet use.

Then watch out!

Vivi said...

If you make threats, expect to be treated as an enemy. Surely there are other routes to Europe that doesn't take one through the USA.
Or has this "professor" alienated so many countries that she is unable to travel! LOL!